1.Have fewer children
It’s one of the most controversial issues there is, but the greatest impact individuals can make to climate change is having one fewer child.
According to a study by Lund University, one fewer child per family in the developing world can save an ‘average of 58.6 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year’.
As confronting as the subject is, it has some support from high-profile individuals such as David Attenborough, who is a patron of Population Matters, a UK-based charity which campaigns to achieve a ‘sustainable human population’ – essentially smaller families.
“All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people, and harder – and ultimately impossible – to solve with ever more people.”– Sir David Attenborough, Population Matters patron
A few support groups, such as VHEMT exist for people who feel like they want advice or support on the matter.
NB: CCAM is not endorsing a particular view on this subject. It is merely presenting the information for people to voluntarily decide what actions they feel they are able to take.
2. Green your commute
In the UK, transport now accounts for 26 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, with the main sources being petrol or diesel cars.
Not surprisingly then, that the next top action you can take to help the planet is to go car free. According to a study by Lund University, this would saves about 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.
Going car free could also make you healthier, happier and save you a few pounds. Whenever and wherever you can:
- Take public transport, such as train or bus
- Ride a bike
- Switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle
- Fly less. Did you know you could save 1.6 tonnes of C02 per roundtrip transatlantic flight. If you do need to fly, then look at offsetting your emissions instead.
3. Eat less meat for a climate-stable planet
Reducing our meat intake is crucial to avoiding a complete climate breakdown, since food production accounts for about a quarter of all human-related greenhouse gas emissions, and is estimated to rise.
In fact eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes of C02 equivalent a year.
But if cutting out red meat completely feels too hard, then scientists have come up with a more realistic planetary health diet that allows you some meat and dairy a week.
It might not sound like a lot, but under the diet you can guzzle one egg a week, a beef burger, two servings of fish, a glass of milk a day, some cheese and butter each week too according to the planetaryhealthdiet.
Most of your protein would come from pulses and nuts. Half of each plate of food would be vegetables and fruit and a third wholegrain cereals.
If you’re shocked about the limited red meat and dairy in this diet then just consider the fact it doesn’t sound small to the very large part of the world’s population that already consumes about that much or even less.
It is also very much in line with traditional diets.
To further your cause, you can also:
- Buy organic and local whenever possible
- Don’t waste food
- Compost food waste
- Grow your own.
PS. You can also help save the planet by eating more edible insects!
4. Bank ethically
Green banks are not only kinder to the planet they are good to your pocket too with most having rates on a par with most high-street rivals.
These banks do not invest or lend money to companies involved in fur, weapons, alcohol or tobacco and fur.
Instead, they often lend to firms which have a positive impact on the planet, such as renewable energy, and hand out mortgages to people building sustainable homes.
UK based banks which claim to be ethical include Triodos Bank, Charity Bank, Reliance Bank, Ecology Building Society and The Co-operative Bank.
According to financial comparison website This Is Money the rates on easy access savings accounts are mixed, but still a good way ahead of major banks such as NatWest and HSBC, which offer 0.2 per cent on their standard easy access accounts.
In comparison, green bank Triodos offers up to 1 per cent while Ecology Building Society offers 0.85 per cent compared to 1.5 per cent from mainstream rival Virgin Money.
This Is Money says that for fixed rate accounts, some ethical banks even top the tables. For a one-year fixed deal, for example, Gatehouse offers the highest rate at 2.15 per cent.
Despite being lesser-known, these banks are still covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which means that up to £85,000 of your savings is protected should they go bust.
Triodos Bank also believes banks should be transparent about who they fund and is currently offering customers with current accounts biodegradable debit cards made from compacted plant leaves and corn.
5. Switch to renewable energy
Renewable energy is not only better for the environment, it helps the economy and it can be affordable too.
According to Money Supermarket ‘green’ energy might’ve been a premium before, but prices are becoming competitive thanks to concerns over fossil fuels.
If you’re UK-based, some smaller providers will have deals that often compete with more mainstream providers, especially those of the Big Six: British Gas, E.ON, SSE, npower, EDF and Scottish Power.
According to expert technology website Which.co.uk they include Ecotricity and Good Energy, which both offer 100% renewable electricity, generated from wind turbines, solar panels and hydro, plus some green gas made from breaking down organic matter.
Green Star Energy sources 100% of its energy from renewable sources, mainly hydro, although it’s not a generator.
Others include Bulb, which has one tariff supplied by 100% renewable electricity and 10% renewable gas, made from pig waste; Fischer Energy, which buys renewable electricity from Danish wind farms and offers one tariff; Tonik Energy, which supplies only 100% renewable electricity tariffs and Octopus Energy’s parent company, which funds solar sites, wind generation and anaerobic digestion plants, and one of its tariffs – Super Green Octopus – is backed by 100% renewable electricity.
You can find more on the Which.co.uk comparison website.
6. Green your home and save money
These small changes will help you be more energy efficient, pollute less and save money, wherever you live.
- Put your heating on a timer
- Use less water and don’t waste it
- Install double glazing
- Make sure your roof is unsulated, if you live in a house
- Keep windows closed in winter
- Don’t forget to turn the lights off
- Change to energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when you’re not using them.
- Wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water.
- Dryers are energy hogs, so hang dry when you can and use dryer balls when you can’t.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Look for the Energy Star label when buying new appliances.
- Get an energy audit to identify where you can make the most energy-saving gains.
7. Consume less, waste less and enjoy life’s simple pleasures more
The more we consume, the more the environment suffers as soils is leached of its nutrients, forests are chopped down and minerals are taken from the earth.
To top things off we return the ills of our consumption back to earth in the form of chemical waste, land-fill and carbon emissions – the very issues that are putting our planet in such danger.
According to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) report 2018, “nine out of 10 people living in cities breathe polluted air” and “the number of undernourished people rose from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016, mainly due to conflicts and drought and disasters linked to climate change.”
And yet consumption is still hailed as the economic driver key to keeping our economies thriving — a model that’s hotly contested by some politicians and economists.
If we all consumed a little less and focussed on life’s simple pleasures — spending time in nature, being with loved ones and/or making a difference to others — perhaps our planet would be in a better condition than it currently is from our relentless buying and consuming.
Sharing, making, fixing, upcycling and repurposing are all good places to start.
9. Invest in renewables
Can’t afford to install solar panels or a wind turbine?
You can still be a part of the clean-energy community. Just Search online for local renewable energy co-ops to join. By becoming a co-op member you will own a slice of its renewable energy projects and can get a return on your investment.
You can also speak to your financial adviser about clean energy/technology investments.
All levels of government, from local to central government, can have a big impact on our ability to shift to a clean-energy, low-emissions economy.
The first step is registering to vote.
Next make sure you educate yourself about the green credentials of all the main parties.
11. Tell your story
It’s important to get everyone working toward climate solutions, because a healthy environment is not just a political issue, it’s an issue for individuals, communities and humanity as a whole.
That’s why Climate Crisis And Me want you to share your story.
People are more often influenced by friends than by experts, so talk about climate change with friends and family. Encourage friends and family to explore the Top 11 Ways To Make A Individual Difference To Climate Change.
You can also share your story with readers of Climate Crisis And Me; about how climate change has affected you, and the changes you’re making to lessen your impact and the changes you’ve seen in your community or sector.
By sharing your story you’re showing the world that climate crisis does exist, it is faced by people everyday and it is an urgent problem to discuss.
You may even inspire and motivate others to make changes along the way.
You can also join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share ideas and articles, write comments and help get the word out. Or, write your own letter to the editor about climate action in your local paper.