We can all agree that the events of the pandemic over these last few years were less than ideal, although there was one thing that brought some positivity to my days: the beneficial effects it was having on nature. When I saw the pictures of the canals in Venice with clear water and flooded with fish and elephants getting drunk off corn wine and sleeping in the sun in China, I couldn’t help but smile. Unfortunately, since we have claimed back the freedoms of normal life, our environment has begun to suffer again. So, if we are the problem then what can we do?
Before lockdown, a young girl named Greta Thunberg took the day off school to protest climate change outside the Swedish parliament building. This sparked a social movement called #StrikeforClimate where youth activists across the globe skipped school and took to the streets to have their voices heard. My friends and I took part ourselves as at this time we were too young to vote and therefore felt like this was our opportunity to fight for a greener future. Commonly social changes are brought to the forefront of society through the activism of the younger generations. Research has shown that Generation Z and Millennials adopt more liberal ideologies powered by the desire for social justice which therefore makes climate change a matter of high importance. It makes sense for the younger generations in society to be upset and take a stand against climate change as it is us who must live with the consequences. But as we progress into the working world of adult life, we may not have the luxury of time and money to take a stand and strike for climate change. Especially in the current cost of living crisis, it is understandable that peoples focus is saving money.
So now that we are of age to vote and live in the adult world, we can elect those who support our vision for an environmentally friendly future to fight for us.
What can you do?
I am sure we are all aware about the benefits of recycling and reducing food waste (quick tip: check out To Good To Go!) however here are a few areas of life that you can make more sustainable choices. One of the ways we can contribute to the fight against climate change in our everyday lives is extremely simple. Ecosia is a search engine, working in partnership with Bing, that allows you to plant trees with your browsing! With the help of its users Ecosia has planted over 169,000,000 trees worldwide.
Taking an adventure? Especially after the events of the recent pandemic, I don’t know about you, but a holiday was at the top of my list. Although the aviation industry contributes more to air pollution than any other mode of transport, do not fear. There are other ways to enjoy other cultures whilst reducing your carbon footprint for a guilt-free adventure. From eating pizza on the side of the picturesque canals of Venice to relaxing with my newfound friends at the baths in Budapest, my travel partner and I explored 7 cities across Europe through a company called Interrail. The company has been going for around 50 years and by growing in popularity, alongside other alternate methods of travel, it will reduce the amount of pollution created by the tourist industry through flying.
Why not try shopping second hand? A great option for finding second hand goods is the wide variety of charity shops we have all around the UK. However, we live in a fast paced society where we don’t always have the luxury of time to go out and browse through the racks of the local charity shops therefore there are online alternatives. These online sustainable fashion platforms are widely popular meaning you can find a wide variety of products available. With Vinted and Depop not only can you treat yourself to a nice new wardrobe, but you can also sell your unwanted clothing on to make yourself a bit of extra money.
Need a new phone to do your online shopping? There are even ways to reduce your contributions to electronic waste by purchasing a refurbished phone instead of brand new. Websites such as Backmarket provide an array of refurbished electrical devices with each refurbished phone reducing 6.29 oz of e-waste. From my experience their gadgets have been in great condition and are another good way of saving yourself some cash.
Will this really make a difference?
Unfortunately, climate change is too big a problem to be solved by just you and me alone. All these suggestions are just small ways in which you can make an impact even though this doesn’t affect much on a global scale. So, you may be thinking what was the point of me reading this article if it’s going to make no difference? These changes to your lifestyle won’t provide the answer to all our problems but with the increase in popularity of these services we can begin to bring about social change with an increased awareness in making sustainable choices. By purchasing our clothes from second hand charity shops not only are you helping to provide funds for those directly affected by the negative consequences of climate change, but we are also reducing sales in fast fashion. If more people are encouraged to change the places they shop, then these brands that contribute to fast fashion will be forced to reevaluate their unethical practices.
Social change starts with us
To achieve a greener future, we must take a step away from the individualistic mindset of society and as a whole make sustainable changes in our habits that will have a positive impact on the environment. By fostering and growing the support against climate change on a mass scale, we can begin to hold those in power accountable for their unsustainable practices.