With the Extinction Rebellion protests happening across the world, you would think that more people were starting to pay attention. Granted some have, but still we read comments on social media posts about how climate change isn’t real, or a real threat.
The longer the peaceful protests in London go on, the more frustrated commuters are, the longer the people of London have to wait for the protest to end for life to go back to ‘normal’.
The thing I ask though, why should we wait for things to go back to normal? Is there any point? Yes, we would like to keep our jobs, we would like to meet with family and friends uninterrupted and would like to go about our daily lives, but I fully support the protesters and this is why.
Three years ago on 22nd April, Earth Day 2016, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), representatives from various countries (originally signed and agreed to The Paris Agreement, dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance.
Since the agreement was signed, country leaders such as Trump have stated they will back out of the agreement, and other countries have signed up.
The Paris Agreement was signed in agreement that we (collective UNFCC countries) would aim to limit the increase in global average temperatures to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” – the level beyond which scientists say we will see the worst extremes of global warming, with 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures being the ideal (obviously not ideal) top limit of increase in global temperatures. We aren’t getting any closer to achieving this, instead investments in fossil fuels continue in developed countries and the wealth gap is getting larger, leaving global economic equality.
Without reducing this and doing all we can to reduce our carbon emissions and mitigating climate change from human involvement (aka anthropogenic influence) – sorry to sound doom and gloom, but there seems to be no point in worrying about life going back to normal unless you’re only here for yourself. Yes we can enjoy our lives to the fullest, but it seems somewhat selfish that future generations can’t enjoy what we have had.
Why am I talking about this? Well, the more that world leaders continue to go on as normal and ignore this massive issue that has been talked about for decades, the quicker we are running out of time. As environmental activists like Greta Thunberg say, we should be scared and we shouldn’t be acting like someone else is going to sort this problem out.
I could go on to speak about economics, policies, political parties, political agendas, corruption, sociological divides, classism, racism, ignorance, amongst many other things, but I’d like to get to what we can do as ‘mere human beings’ and members of society. So, what can you do?
Speak to your local representatives
As a social enterprise, we’re not allowed to speak in affiliation or promote political parties and I wouldn’t want to. Instead, I would encourage you to use your votes, find your voice, act with your community and speak to the representatives of your local area about what they will be doing to support the environment. Challenge them on their voting records and remind them, that you gave them the job. They work for you after all.
Reduce your flying as much as you can. If it’s more expensive to travel via public transport, write/email/phone public transport companies in the masses and get support from your local representatives.
Imagine if we had cheaper and reliable buses and trains? It would be a dream come true! Make the point when writing/emailing/phoning these companies, that the more reliable and cost effective that they are, while also highlighting their environmental stance, the more people will use them and support them!
There are also some bike to work schemes too where you can take a loan from your work before tax, to pay for a bike, or even better, pick one up second hand from the likes of Gumtree or Freecycle. You can get fitter as well as being more environmentally conscious.
Lower your consumption and waste
The less you buy, the less resources being used to produce these. Buy second-hand wherever possible if you truly need something. If it needs to be new, buy the highest quality possible so that you don’t need to replace as often. If something breaks, repair it as much as possible, there is a plethora of YouTube how to’s of how to repair thousands of things as well as upcycling items.
If you need help repairing something, you can also contact your local repair cafe, with more and more popping up everywhere you’ll no doubt have one close by and if not, ask some friends and family to help out.
The more we repair, the less we need to replace and waste. With more recycling centres also being closed (what we used to call the Tip), we really need to make sure what we have lasts as long as possible so that there isn’t problems with fly-tipping too.
Reducing food waste is also paramount, read our blogs on food waste here.
Switch to a green energy supplier
Green energy is getting cheaper and cheaper nowadays, meaning it’s easier than ever to switch to a cleaner energy supplier. The green energy suppliers we’ve found in the UK are:
- Green Energy
- Green Star Energy
- Good Energy
- Tonik Energy
- Octopus Energy
Reduce your meat and dairy consumption and eat as locally as possible
Food miles and agriculture have a massive impact on your carbon footprint. You don’t need to go fully vegan but even reducing your animal products consumption and switching beef to chicken can have a big impact. Eating several meat-free meals throughout the week can have a huge positive effect on reducing your carbon footprint, as well as your bank balance.
Importing foods like quinoa from Peru though can have a big effect on your carbon footprint while also affecting locals indigenous diets, because the more we in the UK and other countries demand these foods, the higher the prices go for those who once relied on these foods as a budget staple of their diet.
It’s also important to note that almonds and almond milk also massively drive drought through intense farming, so when reducing your meat and dairy intake, have a think about what is locally grown and available to you first, such as swapping chickpeas for locally grown fava beans.
Tackling climate change in Glasgow
Glasgow city council are looking for responses to their survey on how they can tackle climate change.
Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, said, “The clock is ticking and we now have no choice but to treat climate change as the emergency it is.” – quoted from Glasgow Live. Have your say here – https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ClimateChange2019/
You have the power to change
There are some things we can all do and some things we can’t do, but I hope we can play our part in reducing climate change, make sure our representatives listen and take action. With reducing your own carbon footprint too, you will no doubt inspire others to do the same.