What can I do about climate change? 14 ways to take positive action

Amid warnings of document temperatures and raging wildfires in Europe, many individuals are asking – what can I do about local weather change? Greater than you assume, maybe

With wildfires raging throughout Europe, a heatwave gripping China, and a ‘nationwide emergency’ declared within the UK amid document temperatures, it appears to be like set to be every week of unwelcome climate milestones. It’s additional proof, say scientists, that the local weather disaster is not a distant menace. 

And that is inside the supposedly ‘secure restrict’ of warming: lower than 1.5C above pre-industrial ranges. With out instant emissions cuts, common international temperatures are on the right track to rise by greater than double that, unleashing chaos. 

There was truthful warning. In February, the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC) issued its starkest report up to now in regards to the state of the local weather. It concluded that local weather breakdown is accelerating and that most of the impacts of worldwide heating at the moment are already irreversible.

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The excellent news – for those who can name it that – is there’s nonetheless a small window through which we are able to act to maintain warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial ranges. Nonetheless, that window is closing. Such an increase in temperature would nonetheless not cease excessive climate occasions from changing into extra extreme and extra widespread. However it could make sure that Earth is usually liveable.

There isn’t a time to lose, say scientists. Radical motion – the sort we’ve seen from governments through the pandemic – is urgently required. Politicians, lots of who’re nonetheless approving fossil gasoline initiatives, are being urged to vary course and introduce radical laws to slash emissions.

Extraordinary individuals may also do their bit to mitigate warming. Listed beneath are 14 issues you are able to do to shrink your carbon footprint, maintain polluters to account and save your self from local weather despair.


1. Swap to a inexperienced financial institution 

You don’t even should get off the couch for this one. But doing one thing so simple as switching to a inexperienced financial institution can have a big effect.

“A big quantity of finance for the fossil gasoline business really comes from the banking sector, with many UK family banking names among the many worst perpetrators,” explains Adam Scott, company partnership supervisor at Mates of the Earth. “As of September 2019, almost £150bn had been invested in fossil fuels by UK banks because the Paris settlement.”

Thankfully, upstart monetary corporations like Triodos and Ecology Constructing Society are serving to put the banking sector on a extra sustainable footing. Reasonably than utilizing depositors’ cash to fund fossil gasoline initiatives, they bankroll inexperienced initiatives. 

“We’re not going to make important inroads on points akin to local weather change until we rethink the position of banks in society,” says Bevis Watts, CEO of Triodos UK. 

How can I reduce my carbon footprint

Transferring your cash to sustainable monetary corporations can have a big effect. Picture: Andre Taissin

2. Change your food plan

Analysis means that chopping again on meat and dairy is the one greatest factor individuals can do to cut back their affect on Earth.

And there seems to be rising urge for food for plant-based diets. No Meat Could, a charity that encourages individuals to give up meat in Could, mentioned that a record number of people made the pledge in 2021.

Ditto these behind Veganuary, the marketing campaign to to go vegan in January. They reported a record uptake this year and claimed the surge in curiosity was pushed partly by supermarkets, which helped enlist new recruits with vegan merchandise and recipes on their web sites.

“The way in which British supermarkets have embraced Veganuary this yr is actually gamechanging,” says Veganuary’s Toni Vernelli.

What can I do about climate change

Consuming a plant-based food plan has an enormous affect on emissions, analysis suggests. Picture: Ella Olsson

3. Be part of an environmental group

Because the saying goes, there’s energy in numbers. So take into account becoming a member of a marketing campaign group so as to add weight to ongoing efforts to foyer coverage makers to slash emissions.

Teams like Share Action are at all times on the lookout for new members. The accountable funding charity buys shares in corporations so its volunteers can attend board conferences, and stress corporations from inside to undertake inexperienced enterprise fashions.

Energy for Folks is one other impactful marketing campaign group. It lobbies politicians to speed up the swap to renewable vitality, and has some good advice on getting your MP to take local weather motion severely.

Alternatively, why not begin your personal group bringing collectively neighbours and mates to take a look at how inexperienced initiatives might be higher supported the place you reside?


4. Go together with a inexperienced vitality supplier 

Switching to a inexperienced vitality supplier is one other easy however efficient approach of decreasing your carbon footprint. One such firm is Good Energy, which buys 100 renewable electrical energy from unbiased turbines and sells it on to clients.

One other is Ecotricity, which invests income in constructing new sources of fresh vitality, with an growing variety of different vitality corporations additionally claiming to supply 100 per cent inexperienced electrical energy.

Properties are an enormous supply of emissions – be certain yours is powered by renewable vitality. Picture: Jimmy Dean

5. Use vitality correctly 

Utilizing vitality correctly is one other strategy to reduce your carbon footprint. “Being a wiser client could make an terrible lot of distinction,” says Matthew Clayton, managing director of Thrive Renewables. “It’s not simply how a lot vitality you employ, it’s once you use it.”

Setting timers for home equipment to run by way of the night time, when demand is low, or through the brightest a part of the day, to utilise photo voltaic, can assist. Different methods to preserve vitality embrace switching televisions off in a single day and turning the heating off when out of the home. Having a wise meter put in can assist you retain tabs on vitality consumption. 


6. Embrace lively journey 

Figures recommend that 60 per cent of journeys between one and two miles long in England are made by motor vehicle. With transport accounting for a third of the UK’s emissions, considerably decreasing automotive use – particularly for brief journeys – would have a dramatic affect. 

Embracing strolling and biking is sweet on your well being, in addition to the planet. For longer journeys, take into account taking the practice. Perversely, within the UK, this will likely show dearer than driving, which is one thing the federal government urgently wants to deal with. Take into account investing in a rail card, which unlocks lowered fares. 

What can I do about climate change

Lively journey is sweet for you in addition to the planet. Picture: Nick Web page

7. Shun the skies 

Aviation is without doubt one of the best obstacles within the race to web zero. Though it accounts for simply three per cent of worldwide emissions (pre-pandemic figures), it’s one of many world’s quickest rising sources of emissions. What’s extra, the sector is without doubt one of the hardest to decarbonise. 

Till battery and hydrogen planes carry us the potential of guilt-free air journey, take into account flying much less – or under no circumstances. Serving to make that call simpler are new no-fly journey corporations, that are making overland journey extra interesting. Europe’s night trains, meanwhile, are being rebooted amid rising demand for low-carbon travel. 

8. Discover out what’s going proper

Amid all of the gloom, there are causes to be sanguine. Renewable vitality information are being damaged in all places you look, emissions are showing signs of shrinking in some regions, and sustainable improvements are bringing myriad different advantages to society, together with cleaner air, leafier cities and a decrease dwelling prices.

Preserving abreast of the nice issues which can be taking place builds resilience, and permits individuals to remain constructive and proactive. Subscribe to Positive News magazine for a quarterly dose of uplifting tales, and sign up to our newsletter for a weekly roundup of progressive developments.

Discover monetary corporations that spend money on inexperienced vitality, not fossil fuels. Picture: Karsten Wurth

9. Purchase native, seasonal and ideally natural  

You don’t want a local weather scientist to let you know that seasonal produce, grown domestically, and to a excessive environmental customary is best for the planet than objects shipped midway all over the world from corporations with murky provide chains.

In the event you can afford to go natural, it’s a worthwhile funding – natural farms help rather more wildlife than these counting on fertilisers and pesticides. 


10. Develop your personal 

Whether or not you’ve got a windowsill or a smallholding, rising your personal herbs, flowers or greens could be helpful. Not simply to pollinators, which may feed off the vegetation, however to your psychological well being. Positive, cultivating a backyard isn’t going to soak up a lot carbon. However it would show you how to reconnect with nature, which analysis suggests is sweet for our psychological well being – significantly amid dire information in regards to the local weather.

What can I do about climate change

Connecting with nature is sweet for our psychological well being. Picture: Filip City

11. Purchase secondhand 

Manufacturing merchandise is usually a carbon intensive course of, and makes use of up treasured pure assets. Fortunately, choices abound relating to shopping for ‘pre-loved’ items. The Depop app is an particularly in style market for secondhand vogue. There’s additionally a burgeoning motion to borrow slightly than purchase home equipment, by way of initiatives just like the Library of Things. 

Individuals are additionally cottoning on to the advantages of repairing and refurbishing defective merchandise, slightly than shopping for new. Blazing the path on this space is the Restart Project, which empowers individuals to restore digital objects. Then there’s Sojo, dubbed the ‘Deliveroo of clothing repairs’, which permits individuals to get their garments altered or fastened in only a few clicks. 


12. Select a sustainable pension fund

“Investing in your pension extra sustainably might be 27 occasions extra highly effective than going vegan and stopping flying mixed,” says Henna Shah from Make My Money Matter, a marketing campaign group that highlights what individuals’s pensions are funding.

The Decision Basis calculates that non-public pensions are the most important part of family wealth within the UK, totalling over £6.1tr. And whereas a examine suggests 68 per cent of the inhabitants wish to spend money on corporations that put the planet alongside revenue, by way of their pension funds they may unwittingly be backing fossil fuels and even weaponry.

“Converse to your employer and your pension supplier and say, ‘really, I need an choice the place I’m not investing in this stuff,’” advises Shah.


13. Swap insurers

Insurers are the second greatest traders after pension funds, so selecting an moral insurance coverage firm will guarantee your cash isn’t propping up the fossil gasoline sector. Naturesave, for instance, donates income to environmental initiatives and is campaigning for the business to divest from fossil fuels.


14. Vote for events with sturdy environmental insurance policies

Elections don’t come round typically. However after they do, spend a while going by way of the manifestos of the events which can be standing. Take a look at what environmental insurance policies they help and their environmental document. Vote for the celebration or candidate that you simply assume has probably the most credible roadmap to web zero.

Most important picture: Sandro Gonzalez

That is an replace of an article initially revealed on 11 August 2021.

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