As the festive season begins in earnest, it’s all too simple to get caught in the trap of making mindless, panicky purchases and then spending the holiday feeling hungover with consumerist guilt. Luckily, the Blue Mountains abounds with retailers, artists and innovator who make gift giving a pleasure, whilst embracing a sustainable, low carbon lifestyle.  

Gallery 188, Leura Fine Wood Gallery, The Food Co-op’s Big Little Shop, Leura Health Foods and Lyttleton Stores have all taken the LCL carbon audit and are aiming to further lower their carbon footprint in the new year. Each offers a range of local and Australian made, affordable gifts that support our local community and its place on this wonderful planet. 

Beyond Christmas, the most significant ways to reduce your carbon footprint are easy: leave your car at home when you can, make meat a treat, avoid single use anything and switch to ‘green electricity’. Give LCL’s new carbon calculator a go, you can measure and track your carbon usage and receive suggestions how to further reduce your footprint over time. If you’re looking for more ways to make a difference, check out the UN’s Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World

Adopting these suggestions are the types of incremental, behavioural shifts in how we live and consume, that individuals, entire communities must make if we have any hope of meeting the Paris Agreement’s target of holding global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. Be vocal about the changes you make, within your own circle and vote accordingly in the next election. 

Between a second year of rising carbon emissions, scientists calling for an urgent overhaul of global food production, our government in bed with the US coal lobby and failing to enforce vehicle efficiency standards, it’s easy to feel sceptical about Australia’s capacity to meet the Paris Climate Accord - especially when there’s no evidence to support the federal government’s claim that our nation is on track to meet its 2030 target “in a canter”.

Interestingly, the naturalist David Attenborough was chosen to represent the world’s people at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Poland earlier this month. His message on our behalf was simple and reiterated the findings of the IPCC’s report, stating that “The world’s people have spoken. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now. Leaders of the world, you must lead. The continuation of civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend is in your hands.”