FAMILIES, YOUNG PEOPLE & EVERYONE
The climate crisis, social injustice, inequality and biodiversity loss are big issues that require change on a big scale. It is easy to feel small as an individual in the face of such challenges, but there are things you can do, right now, to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, and benefit yourself and your community at the same time.
The power of individual actions and choices should not be underestimated. One person can influence another, trends develop, and what’s viewed as acceptable and normal can shift. Personal actions can raise issues and highlight important values among business leaders and policy makers, which can invoke change on a much larger scale.
WHAT CAN I DO?
1. REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF FOSSIL FUELS YOU USE
Opt for greener travel options (take a look at our top tips on our Green and Healthy Travel page), use energy efficient household appliances and take responsibility over energy usage at home. Switch your energy provider to a company that provides renewable electricity and who support sustainable practices, such as Ecotricity or Good Energy.
2. MOVE TOWARDS A PLANT-BASED DIET
The greenhouse gas emissions attributed to farming meat and dairy are much higher than other foods. Eating plant-based, locally-sourced and seasonal produce is much better for the environment, reduces food inequalities, and supports small, local, sustainable businesses.
3. MOVE AWAY FROM CONSUMERISM
We have been spoilt in a want-it-now society, where material possessions hold an importance in our lifestyles and personal identity. Re-evaluate what you have and ask yourself what you really need in life. Re-purpose and re-use as much as you can, and put thought into new purchases, going for small, local or Fairtrade, or second-hand. You will reduce waste and save money. Check out our ‘Low Waste and Plastic Free’ page for more ideas.
4. SPEND RESPONSIBLY
When you do buy something, think about where you are buying it from and support businesses that are ethical and sustainable, such as social enterprises, charity shops, local craft markets, or organic shops.
5. INVEST WISELY
When saving or investing money, make an ethical decision about who you are trusting to look after your money. Most of us have private pensions with our employers now. Contact them and ask about their ethical and environmental policies, and say if these don’t seem strong enough.
6. PROTECT GREEN SPACES
Plant trees and support natural habitats to help remove carbon from our atmosphere, encourage biodiversity and improve wellness for everyone. Find out more on our ‘Connect with Nature’ page.
7. SHARE WHAT YOU ARE DOING WITH OTHERS
The impact of individual actions is strengthened through connecting with others. By sharing ideas, values, information and experiences with friends, family, community groups and larger organisations, they will gather momentum. Read more on our ‘Connect with People’ page and sign up to our Grassroots bulletin to hear more about what others are doing. Social media has accelerated our ability to interact with others, so use these tools to your advantage. Be wary of the strength of media persuasion though and always look for the truth. Be aware of climate-deniers but do not give up on them.
8. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD
Use your right to vote and right to protest responsibly, supporting parties and organisations campaigning for and promising environmental action, social justice, and sustainable change. Sign petitions and engage in demonstrations that align with your beliefs. Write to your MP/MSP/MS and councillors to let them know what is important to you.
9. EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN
The youngest generations will be impacted the most by climate change and growing inequality, but they also have power to influence create change. They are our future leaders. If they know what we are facing and feel empowered to address it, they will be in the best position to restabilise our planet and create a positive, inclusive future for all.
10. DO NOT LOSE HOPE
Hope will fuel all the above actions and is essential to creating change. Please visit our ‘Health, Wellbeing and Fun’ page for ideas on how to manage your physical and mental wellbeing whilst caring for our world around us.
FURTHER RESOURCES AND LINKS
Carbon footprint calculator to review your impact as a family or individual : https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/
Which? report that looks at detail behind green energy tariffs and compares supliers: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/09/how-green-is-your-energy-tariff/
Good Energy Blog with energy saving tips and advice: https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/
Make My Money Matter campaign supporting responsible pension investments with template letters and a handy tool for contacting pension providers: https://makemymoneymatter.co.uk/
Find your MP – Search by postcode to find out who your current MP is and how to contact them: https://members.parliament.uk/members/Commons