Considering the huge challenges that we have to face to make a sustainable economy possible one can easily get the impression that one individual does not matter. Its true that law changes are necessary. But each one of us can make a change and in the sum it will make a huge difference.
First of all knowledge about the relevant topics have to be gained. Nobody must and can be an expert in every field. But a certain general education is vital for a good functioning democracy. Google (or other search engines) and Wikipedia can be quite helpful here. This website, too, tries to help by compiling as compact as possible the relevant problems and ideas. The ideas can be discussed with friends and family and thus spread.
You can get politically involved in order to change the economic and political parameters. Besides participating in signature collection campaigns and demonstration you can join a political party are just vote for the political party or representative who most strongly and convincingly fight for a sustainable and social economy.
You can buy organic and fair trade food. The higher the demand, the more food is produced in an organic and fair way. The same is true for other consumer products like clothing. But as there is generally less variety it might be more difficult compared to organic and fair food.
A vegan diet or one with a much reduced meat (and fish) consumption can also make a huge difference.
Many banks make their money by damaging speculation and investments in the arms industry, nuclear and coal power plants. Having your money at those banks (in a giro or saving account or in another form) indirectly supports this harmful behavior.
There are however alternatives. Banks, which instead of only looking at the financial profitability also look at sustainability and ethics when investing. In Germany examples for these kind of banks include the GLS Bank and the Umwelt Bank. A quick online research will show if such banks exist in your country, too.
When choosing fonds, shares or other financial investments you can make sustainability and ethics a priority, too.
Most people drive their car alone. It is then vastly inferior ecologically compared to bike, bus and train. You can however use carpooling or car-sharing to use the car more efficiently. When buying, leasing or renting a car you can pay attention to low consumption or an electric propulsion.
You can increasingly use bus and train or your bike. For mid-range or hilly routes a pedelec might be the ecological and economic best option.
You want to promote intellectual freedom. You are fed up with high costs of propietary software, software backdoors for NSA&Co, computer viruses and computer worms. Then open source software might be for you. Here is list of some free and good open source software:
|Operating system (statt MS Windows)||Linux: e.g. Ubuntu or Lubuntu|
|Office (instead of MS Office)||LibreOffice|
|Internet (instead of Internet Explorer)||Firefox|
|Media player (instead of MS Media Player)||VLC|
|Email (instead of MS Outlook)||Thunderbird|
|Messenger (instead of Skype)||Pidgin|
|Photo/Picture (instead of Adobe Photoshop)||Gimp|
|Vector graphics (instead of Adobe Illustrator)||Inkscape|
|3d graphics (instead of 3ds Max)||Blender|
When building, renovating, buying or renting a house or apartment you can make sure it has a high energy standard. This is not only better for the environment but will in most cases save you money in the long run because of reduced energy costs.
The same applies for energy efficient appliances like LED lights.
If you don't want to support construction and operation of coal and nuclear power plants you can change your power supplier fast and easily. You should however choose a supplier who soley operates and invests in renewable power plants. Otherwise you might still support the dirty energies. Good power suppliers in Germany include Naturstrom, Elektrizitätswerke Schönau and Greenpeace Energy. Like for sustainable banks a quick online search will give you options for your country.
If you are a homeowner you might consider installing a photovoltaics system on your roof for own electricity production (or sun collectors for warm water generation). Alternatively you can lease your roof area and let somebody else produce electricity with a PV system.