7 things YOU can do to save the planet this year
- MOVE YOUR MONEY — Your pension might not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to fixing the climate crisis, but it really should be! Brits have a whopping £2.6 trillion locked up in our pensions, and filmmaker Richard Curtis’s ‘Make my money matter’ campaign argues that moving our pensions into green funds could be just the superpower we need in fighting the climate crisis. They’re inviting us all to take the 21X challenge — to cut our carbon 21x more than going veggie, giving up flying and switching energy provider, simply by making our pensions green. Time to act and make the switch.
- BORROW DON’T BUY — Did you know everything we consumed after 29th July last year was net net depletive to the planet? Or that we’re consuming resources as if we have 1.75 planets — and are on track to be consuming as if we have 3 planets by 2030, and 5 planets by 2050? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out this is completely unsustainable. Whilst re-engineering the global economy might be out of any one individual’s reach, borrowing instead of buying, isn’t! So next time you want a drill / cat carrier / board game / ice-cream maker, why not see if you can borrow it from a neighbour instead? The OLIO app has ‘Borrow’ and ‘Wanted’ sections for exactly this.
- STAY GROUNDED — The average carbon footprint in the UK is over 10 tonnes per person per year, and we need to get this down to 2.5 tonnes by 2030 for global heating to remain within 1.5 degrees. Unfortunately, one of the most carbon intensive things we can do is hop on a plane. A return flight to Rome is 1/4 tonne, to New York is 1 tonne and to Perth is 3 tonnes. This is in contrast to going vegan for a year which saves 0.8 tonnes. So that flight you’re thinking of taking… why not check out a train or ferry instead?
- WASTE LESS FOOD — Project Drawdown recently stack ranked the top 100 solutions to the climate crisis — and coming in at #1 was reducing food waste. This came above electric cars, solar power and a plant based diet. With one third of all the food we produce each year being thrown away, and half of that waste taking place in the home, a super simple way to slash your carbon footprint is to give away, rather than throw away your spare food. Once again, the OLIO app is your friend.
- EAT LESS MEAT AND FISH— Global emissions from animal farming are 14.5%, which is roughly equivalent to the emissions from the entire global transport sector. Meanwhile over in the oceans, global fish stocks are in a ‘dire state’ with nearly 1 in 10 close to collapse. So if you want to save the planet, reducing your meat, dairy and fish intake is going to be a must. If going cold turkey (forgive the pun) feels too much, then why not start with Meat Free Monday or by getting a vegan subscription box? We’ve reduced our family’s meat & fish intake by 90% through my favourite hack which is to batch cook vegan & vegetarian meals on the weekend so at the end of a busy day you just pop something pre-made into the oven. It’s a world saving, wallet saving, time saving wonder!
- BREAK UP WITH FAST FASHION — We buy more clothes per person in the UK than any other country in Europe; and with only 1% of all materials used to create clothing being recycled into new clothing, that means that 99% of all textiles and fashion are eventually going to waste. And fast fashion is the worst culprit of all because it’s designed to be disposable. So this year why not vow to buy second hand instead? In addition to charity stores there are whole host of apps covering all price points from Vestiaire Collective and Ida, to Depop, Vinted and Thrift+. Or if swapping & renting is more your thing, check out Nuw and Little Loop.
- SWITCH YOUR ENERGY — If it’s been on your to-do list for a while, let’s make 2022 the year you *finally* quit dirty energy and switch to a green energy provider instead! It surprisingly quick to do, and sites such as The Big Clean Switch or Green Energy Switch can be a great place to start.
It can be easy to be dispirited about the state of the world at the moment, but I like to remember that it was billions of small actions that caused the climate crisis in the first place, and so surely by the same logic, billions of small actions can help get us out of it. The words of Dr Jane Goodall — who reminds us we’re not alone on our journey — and Anne Marie Bonneau who reassures us that perfection isn’t the name of the game — are also enormously inspiring.
Good luck and enjoy!