Climate change is happening, now. Our everyday choices play a big part in why it is happening, but also how we can help make a difference and change the course we are on.
Although you’re just one person, the size of your carbon footprint (the amount of greenhouse gas emissions attributable to you) may surprise you. Nearly everyone produces several tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. The average UK carbon footprint was calculated as 8.34 tonnes, per person in 2017 – the last year when such data for the UK was available. That’s the equivalent of 8 football pitch sized balloons.
Research has shown that a British citizen emits more CO2 in two weeks than some people in Africa do in a year. It’s time to be responsible for our actions.
These beautiful hand drawn illustrations showcase the simple actions we can take to make a difference. By not only reducing your own footprint, taking steps like these influence the people around you, whilst showing industries there is an appetite for change. From eating more plant based and wrapping up warm, to reconsidering our energy suppliers and voting for change, these everyday actions make being a climate activist a walk in the park - as well as serving as a reminder when you wear it!
It’s not all bad news - the things we are changing are having an impact. The UK’s CO2 emissions fell by 2.9% in 2019, according to Carbon Brief analysis. This brings the total reduction to 29% over the past decade since 2010, even as the economy grew by a fifth. However, to meet the UK’s carbon budgets, CO2 emissions would need to fall by another 31% by 2030, but projections expect just a 10% cut, based on current policies. So let’s get our action on…
ACTIONS WE CAN TAKE
Eat more plant based, organic, in season produce and start to grow your own if you can (it is immensely satisfying). Take a look at those labels and make sure it’s grown in the UK to cut down on those airmiles.
When shopping, try to buy plastic free where you can and bring your own containers to refill and bags to pack with. The same goes for our everyday throw away items like coffee cups, water bottles and cutlery. Have them with you at all times, it’s a good habit!
Walk and cycle where you can, or use public transport - only fly when it is really necessary. There are so many places to holiday in the country you are in, get exploring! Car sharing schemes are great for when you need it and there are even electric ones popping up now too! At the end of March 2020, there were 38.3 million licensed vehicles in Great Britain, do we all need them? Imagine not paying insurance, road tax or parking - the dream!
Only buy things you need and will value. Have a relationship with the items you invest in and support sustainable and independent companies making a difference. Make do with what you have, and mend anything that can be repaired. Charity and vintage shops upcycle what is already out there.
When washing, hand wash when you can and hang dry as it cuts down the footprint of that piece of clothing immensely. For example, a load washed at 30°C, dried on the line emits 0.6kg of CO2 vs a load washed at 60°C in a combined washer-dryer emitting 3.3kg of CO2.
Don’t just switch the heating on, wrap up warm and get cosy. Enough of people wearing pjs in the house in the depths of winter, let's wise up. The energy we do use, let’s make the switch to renewables - it’s all possible now and clean energy is a brilliant thing! Take a look on our movement blog for our recommendations.
VOTE. Use your voice to get a party in power that will take these issues seriously before it’s too late. Write to your MPs and councils to let them know this is important - the more demand they hear, the more they will push! It’s noted that for every person who bothers to complain, 96% remain silent - so they know it isn’t just on your mind!
Recycle! It’s a golden oldie and should be second nature by now, but look and make sure any packaging you get can be - each council has different restrictions on what they can take.
Vote with your wallet - when you do buy something, support what you want to see more of. That said, take a look at what your back is investing in. It might be important to switch to a bank that only invests in our future too. Your bank should be transparent about where it invests your money so feel free to ask.
Without meaning to your money could be investing in fossil fuels (a lot of the major players are) and supplying loans to the arms trade.
Let’s put our hard earned money where our beliefs lie.
Get your activist on and rally your friends to demonstrations to physically show your support and that you aren’t happy with how things are. Getting media attention and the topic headlining helps a lot of people to take Climate Change more seriously. Sadly, but truthfully, the more social time the issue gets, the more people feel the need to get involved. In 2019, the average amount of time spent on social media was 2 hours and 22 minutes per day. Utilising the power of social media can be huge.
Talk about it. Word of mouth is powerful, so the next time someone compliments you on what you are wearing tell them all about the cause - get rid of that awkward small talk.
Gung Ho run events such as supper clubs, bake offs and exhibitions to get people engaged with the cause we are campaigning about, so check out what we are up to on our website and bring a pal who might not know as much about it as you. We promise no lectures!
With this purchase you’ve donated back to Friends of the Earth, an environmental campaigning community dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of the natural world and everyone in it.
Wear your heart on your sleeve,
Gung Ho x