Climate Change is an urgent and very real thing that is happening to the planet that we live on. It can seem daunting to think of the consequences of climate change, and you can similarly feel helpless in the contribution to taking action against climate change. But really, if we all thought that we wouldn’t make a difference, no one would ever try to help. There are really simple lifestyle changes that you can make in order to help be a part of the solution, not part of the pollution!
According to the United Nations, Climate Change is referred to as
“long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.
Burning fossil fuels generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.
Examples of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change include carbon dioxide and methane. These come from using gasoline for driving a car or coal for heating a building, for example. Clearing land and forests can also release carbon dioxide. Landfills for garbage are a major source of methane emissions. Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use are among the main emitters.”
1. First of all, spread the word!
Honestly, it may sound a bit silly as we’ve all heard of climate change, but I’m sure we would be surprised at how much people actually know. The facts and figures are quite startling - with emissions continuing to rise, the earth is now 1.1 °C warmer than it was in the late 1800s and the last decade being the hottest on record. This trend is only set to continue as time goes on if we continue at the same rate.
By encouraging your friends, family and other people you know to take part in reducing their carbon pollution, you can all actively be a part of the saving our planet. There are global movements you can join with your loved ones to help with climate action. ‘Count Us In’ is
“the world’s largest community of people and organisations taking practical action on climate change”.
They work with powerful communities to help create initiatives that can spark the all-important changes we need to make. Visit their website and press ‘take a step’ to get started!
2. Change your travel!
Understandably, we can’t all walk to work, it’s not realistic to ask everyone to stop using cars and other forms of transport. But for some of us, we can swap out unnecessary journeys and decide to walk or cycle. Public transport is, of course, a better alternative than driving your own car, but of course, walking or cycling is an even better alternative than using public transport.
“The transport sector contributes approximately one quarter of all energy related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.” UN Environment Programme
Another option if you have to drive to places like work is to share a ride with others, like your colleagues, whose houses you may pass by on your journey.
"If you are only going on a 15 minute drive, try walking instead. It also comes with fitness benefits along with reducing carbon dioxide." Callum Belshaw
3. Shop sustainable!
This is one of the main ways where you may actually feel like you’re making a difference, so it’s a good one to jump on. Sustainable shopping has been on the rise among the younger generation in recent years, the likes of Depop and Vinted are the main applications that Gen Z use to resell and buy second-hand clothing. Thrifting and charity shopping have also been a popular trend, with some unimaginable bargains and rare finds being found in the racks of Oxfam, Barnardo’s, Mind and many more.
However, shopping sustainable doesn’t just have to be with your clothes; you can implement this way of life in other areas, such as with your food shop. Buying local and seasonal foods is a great way of reducing your carbon footprint. Not only does this help the small businesses local to your area, you will also be contributing to the reduction of fossil fuel emissions associated with transport and cold chain storage.
There are so many more ways that you can help and make a real difference in the fight against climate change, but these are a good and manageable starting point. Hopefully, you will feel the rewards of these new lifestyle choices and feel like an active member of the climate solution, and not the pollution!