More people than ever are ready to take action on climate change. The only problem is finding simple and clear ways to do it. Well, not to worry because we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. From choosing trains over planes for your holiday travel, to (literally) putting your money where your mouth is, here are 10 ways to live more environmentally.
Learning about all the damage we’re doing to the environment (including ourselves) can be super overwhelming. It can lead to feeling anxious and confused, making many of us feel helpless. But here at 10:10 Climate Action we know the best remedy for this is taking action, whether that’s personally, politically or in your community. So here are some simple ways you can take action on climate change and live more environmentally.
Item number 1
Switch to a renewable energy provider
Ending the UK’s reliance on dirty fuels is crucial to tackling climate breakdown. An easy way you can help us all transition to a cleaner future is to switch to a renewable energy provider. You can do this in your home or at your place of work, which could also encourage others to do the same. The Big Clean Switch is a great website which can help you every step of the way on your journey to supporting green, clean energy. It’s cheaper than you might think and even creates green jobs in the process. Freezing your ice cream will have never felt so good.
Item number 2
Save heat in your home
Heating is behind about a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions, and we also have some of the leakiest homes in Europe. Insulating our homes properly is key to saving some of that heat; from basic draught-busting to sticking a sheet of tin foil down the back of your radiators (really) there are loads of easy-wins to help save heat at home. Going one step further, you could also install a heat pump. A heat pump gathers the heat stored in the air, ground or water and uses it to warm up your home. And it’s not just good for the environment. You could save money and even earn a small income through the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
Item number 3
Write to your MP
Whether it’s writing to ask them to support a specific change in environmental policy or simply telling them you care about these issues, all MPs have a responsibility to act on your concerns. Just recently a letter coordinated by 10:10 and Power for People was sent to the Prime Minister asking him to release the blocks on onshore wind. The letter was supported by over 150 MPs, which was only possible because of people writing to their MPs and asking them to support it.
Item number 4
Live car free
Living car free is one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint and tackle air pollution at the same time. This isn't an option for everyone. But if you're able-bodied and live in the city, it's worth exploring ways to get around without getting behind the wheel. Challenge yourself to leave the car at home for a month, see what you discover. It also gives you the opportunity to save money on insurance and fuel costs as well as exercising more if you choose to walk or cycle.
Item number 5
Embrace plant power
Cutting down on meat and dairy is one of the best things you can do for the planet. The animal farming industry has one of the biggest carbon footprints globally as well as being a huge polluter of landscapes and waterways. According to a big UK study from 2016, the carbon footprint of a vegan diet is about 60% lighter than those with a load of meat in them. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You might find words like “reducetarian” (committed to reducing how much meat you eat), “flexitarian” (mainly vegetarian or vegan, but sometimes eating meat and fish) or even “vague-an” (kinda vegan, at least on weekdays, if it’s not your birthday, or your brother’s cooking...) helpful. Or you could just do your own thing without the need for a label.
Item number 6
Flying is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions globally. So choosing to stay grounded when you travel abroad is a great way to live your values. Europe is blessed with some of the best transport networks in the world, with several world-class high speed rail networks and a host of organisations dedicated to helping plan and book your journeys. And with the introduction of new schemes like Climate Perks, which enable businesses to give their staff extra paid ‘journey days’, it’s easier than ever to get the time you need to embrace slow travel.
Item number 7
From thrifting at car boot sales to borrowing and sharing items with friends and family, choosing to go second-hand instead of buying new is one of the funner ways to live environmentally. Items are often cheaper when they’ve been used and you can surround yourselves with unique finds that you may not spot otherwise. You can often find hidden gems in your high street charity shops, or local groups like FreeCycle where you can get larger things for free from people in your neighbourhood.
Item number 8
Put your money where your mouth is
Another of the less well known ways to live environmentally is to (literally) put your money where your mouth is. There’re loads of investment opportunities that give you the chance to support projects that help the environment and pocket some of the profits yourself. You could invest in a community energy fund or use a platform like Abundance to pick from a plethora of fantastic green schemes to support. Switching to an ethical bank is another great way of doing this and websites like Move Your Money can help you find the right bank for you.
Item number 9
Green your fingers
Planting trees is pretty much a win-win-win when it comes to the environment. They suck up harmful CO2 at the same time as protecting villages at risk from flooding. To do something truly practical for the environment you can volunteer to give your local green space some TLC or if you’re feeling more adventurous you can sign up to a tree planting holiday with places like the National Trust.
Item number 10
Tell your friends
Finally, if you choose to make any changes like this the best thing you can do is to talk about it. Tell your family and friends all about how important this is to you and chat about how it’s benefited your life. After all, there’s no such thing as an individual when it comes to the environment. The more you talk about these changes, the more you affect those around you and the closer we get to the low carbon future we all want.
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