We're hurtling towards climate disaster, as the IPCC's report made clear today. But what can an individual do about climate change? We give you three actions you can take today to make a positive difference.
What can you do to help fight climate change?
We're causing irreversible harm to life on our planet. But can individuals make a difference to climate change?
“You must take action. You must do the impossible. Because giving up is never an option.” - Greta Thunberg
Each of us can make choices that create positive change. After spending time on the beaches of Costa Rica, Lucy was motivated to make changes in her life, and to found Good Things. Watch her TEDx above and find some ideas for small changes you can make that will make a difference for people and planet.
Here are our top three actions to take steps to reduce our impact on the planet:
1. Demand action from our politicians and leaders
Let's be clear: we need a huge shift in order to tackle the climate crisis. But that change will come from the people we vote for, and who represent what's important to us.
If you're fortunate enough to live in a country with a democratically elected government, they represent you. So tell them that climate change matters. In the UK you can email, phone or write to tell your MP that you're watching and you expect them to respond to this emergency. You can send the same message to your local councillors.
Reponses vary, but persevere. You should hear back and many UK politicians take their constituents' concerns seriously (as they should!).
2. Vote for a better world when you buy something
In the face of completely understandable climate anxiety, control what you can control and make positive changes. Consider the choices you make, from the food you eat, to where you shop and what you buy. Little changes add up.
"Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want." - Anna Lappé
Buy second-hand, support businesses that are putting the planet before profit, and try to reduce the amount of meat and dairy you consume. Check out our guide to shopping sustainably for more ideas.
3. Think about how you travel
The UK's transport sector is the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the UK.
Avoid flying. If you fly this is likely to be the biggest contributor to your carbon footprint. Travelling by train within Europe can reduce your carbon footprint by around 90%. Check out Flight Free UK for inspiration and consider pledging to go flight-free for a year, or a lifetime.
Try to walk or cycle when you can. Active travel is better for your health because you'll be getting some exercise, and it's also better for you and your neighbours as you'll reduce air pollution. If you have to use a car, try to use an electric vehicle and consider car sharing with friends and colleagues, or via a car club like Co Wheels or Zipcar.
If you've already made some progress on the ideas above, here are some more ideas:
- Money - look at where your money's invested. Your bank, savings or pension provider may be investing your money in fossil fuels. Ask questions and switch to an ethical bank if you can.
- Energy - make changes so you use less, and switch to a green provider.
- Protect nature and green spaces - green spaces absorb carbon dioxide and reduce temperatures in urban areas. In the face of a biodiversity crisis they also provide vital habitats for wildlife. Encourage nature in your garden if you have one, and check out our tips for helping trees and bees.
- Reduce food waste - a recent study has found half of global food system emissions come from rotted and wasted food. Buy and make only what you need, get creative so you use up leftovers, and save food that might go to waste using apps like Too Good To Go or Olio.
While most individuals won't have the power or funds to reverse the climate crisis (we're looking at you Elon Musk), everybody's actions and views make a difference. Start with a couple of small changes because you're more likely to be able to stick to them.
Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” - The Dalai Lama
Let people know what you're doing and why. Talking openly and without judgement might help someone else begin to think about changes they could make.
How are you adapting your lifestyle and behaviours to reduce your impact on the planet? Comment below and let us know!
You might also like:
- 5 wins for a more eco friendly summer
- How to help trees: 7 things you can do
- How to shop sustainably
At Good Things you’ll find inspiring ethical and sustainable gifts that support charities, empower people and protect our planet. Discover gifts for all ages and inspiring ideas like cards that plant trees, handmade cushions empowering people in Tanzania and eco toys made from recycled milk bottles. Have a look at our collections.