Yes We Can Do Something – 10 Everyday Actions on Climate

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This follows on from my last post, and from my recent Tweets and Facebook posts asking people for their suggestions of the best way that individuals can take action to limit Climate Breakdown. Thanks to everyone that contributed, I’ve put together 10 Everyday Actions on Climate.

Individual actions can and do make a difference, when enough of us take them. Individual actions become social movements, creating real change. Climate Breakdown is here now and will get worse, so we can’t stop it, but we can’t sit back and give up either, or at least I can’t, so here they are.

  1. Talk About It – I often feel like an alien on a planet where people haven’t yet heard of Climate Change, and the less other people mention it or see/hear news about it, the easier it is to carry on as normal and pretend its not happening. But that’s not an option. Talk about your hopes and fears with friends, family and work colleagues. Make it normal to talk about the state of our planet and what we can do about it. Inspire and support each other. It’s a simple sounding one but it’s crucial.
  2. Contact your MP – The government are there to serve us and our best interests, if they aren’t showing enough leadership on Climate Action then we need to hold them to account (Green New Deal, Carbon Tax, Ending Subsidies for Fossil Fuels, No New Oil/Gas Exploration, No Fracking, etc). Similarly has your local council declared a Climate Emergency yet? If not contact them to ask why, and if they have, ask them how they are going to do it and then keep them to it.
  3. Don’t Fly – This one is pretty self explanatory, and yet one that I’m sure many people resent. We value our freedom, we tell ourselves that we need to fly, that it helps us to learn and to develop an awareness of different cultures. If you don’t feel able to stop yet then #FlyLess. Holiday in your own country and contribute to conferences etc remotely. the technology is there.
  4. Cut Pollution From Cars – Get a less polluting car, get an electric car (second hand ones are available now), car share, use public transport more, and cycle. If Public transport and cycle routes aren’t supported enough in your area, try and find out why and contact the people responsible.
  5. Change Your Energy Supplier – Switch to a company that provides and invests in energy from renewable sources e.g. Ecotricity in the UK. Insulate your home. Get a smart meter. (See here for the Energy Saving Trust)
  6. Eat Less Meat/Support Local Food Producers – If you don’t want to stop eating meat all together then eating a little organic meat is better. Source vegetables locally, and try to avoid air-freighted fruit/vegetables. Grow some of your own food. Waste as little as possible.
  7. Support and Donate to Campaigning Organisations – I heard from the Wildlife Trusts today that they are going to be focusing more time and attention on countering the loss of insects, whilst Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Extinction Rebellion, Amnesty International and others all need donations and help to spread the word about Climate and Ecological Breakdown.
  8. Support The School Strikes – The occasional day off school isn’t going to significantly harm a child’s education, and as several placards have read, what’s the point in an education if there’s no world left to live in. But it’s obviously a personal choice. My son isn’t able to join the school strikes so I went along and supported one nearby group, and did what I could to share widely on social media. You can also support the drive to include education on the climate crisis in the National Curriculum (petition here).
  9. Contact Media Outlets – Ask why the Climate Crisis isn’t being covered, or the School Strikes or the actions by Extinction Rebellion and others. This should be front page news, we have a very short time (i.e 10 to 12 years) to take action. Huge change is needed, and for that people need to be informed and inspired. See here on Twitter for a record of the BBC coverage for instance.
  10. Cut Back on Consumption – We need to use and to waste far less resources. Avoid fast fashion, refuse plastics, reuse and recycle (but preferably don’t buy it in the first place).

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The list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, or to tell people what they have to do, but to draw together everyone’s suggestions, and provide ideas. It’s easy to feel disempowered and demoralised while our leaders bicker over Brexit, but we don’t have to wait for leadership from them, we can follow the example of our children and take action ourselves to build the world that we want to live in.

It also isn’t a list of things that I’ve done and am feeling all smug about. I’m a work in progress as much as anyone, and living in a very rural area whilst being self employed, am finding number 4 (Cut Pollution From Cars) particularly difficult. Also, strangely a small Wiltshire village doesn’t seem to be the ideal place to source local organic vegetables, and I don’t find it easy to keep a picky 7 year-old fed and healthy on seasonal produce.

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In a time of great change and uncertain futures, self-care is important (this is written as much for myself as anyone else) a constant diet of depressing Climate reports hasn’t done me much good recently, but being informed AND taking what action I can in my work and personal life will hopefully help me to feel more positive in the long run. If you’re also an artist like me, or a member of a cultural organisation, you can consider declaring a climate emergency – see here for a toolkit from #CultureDeclaresEmergency.

There’s obviously lots of other things we can do, the world needs a lot more trees for a start, so we can plant them ourselves and support charities and other organisations to do it for us, or help local schools and community groups to do the same. We can change our bank to an ethical one (e.g. Triodos Bank) to ensure that our money is invested in making the world better rather than making things worse. We can explore whether bringing children into the world is the right thing to do as things stand (see Birth Strike), and I’m sure there will be a lot of other ideas you have.

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Climate Breakdown doesn’t stand alone, linked as it is with of biodiversity loss, and a range of other issues, but I’ve focused on it here in order to simplify the post, and break things down into actions that people feel are achievable right now.

Please feel free to share if you think that’s useful, and also see here for infographics from the Climate Museum (thank you Bridget McKenzie) on Climate ChangeWhat You Can Do About It.

 

 

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