Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress in 2024

Tessa Clarke
4 min readJan 11, 2024


Source: DALL-E via Canva

As much of the country reels from the 300 flood warnings that were in place across the UK last week, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the climate crisis.

It can also be hard to know where to start. After all, do the actions of one person even make a difference? And if they do, aren’t you just being a hypocrite if you’re not yet vegan, or haven’t stopped flying?

Whenever I hear that inner saboteur I remind myself:

  • It was billions of small actions that caused the climate crisis in the first place, and so by the same logic, billions of small actions can help get us out of it. Which means that individual action absolutely does count!
  • A desire for perfection leads to paralysis. And paralysed is exactly how the fossil fuel industry wants us to feel. So we mustn’t let accusations of ‘hypocrisy’ stop us from taking action.

To stave off perfection-induced paralysis, and encourage you to take whatever actions you can, here’s a starter for 10 on how to play your part in 2024…


Perfection — Go vegan

Progress — For most people, eating more sustainably and plant based is a journey, so don’t put pressure on yourself to achieve it overnight. Instead, start with Meat Free Monday, or my favourite hack: start batch cooking more vegetarian meals.

Perfection — Zero food waste

Progress — The latest research shows a typical UK household of four throws away £1,000 of food every year. So there’s plenty of opportunity to have an impact and make progress, without achieving perfection! Here are some top tricks to avoid wasting food at home. And of course when you do find yourself with more food than you need, why not share with a neighbour on Olio?


Perfection — Stop shopping and re-fashion what you have

Progress — Did you know that there are enough clothes already on the planet to clothe the next 6 generations? Yikes! If you still want your shopping hit, try committing to shopping second hand only. Charity stores, Vinted, Depop, Vestiare Collective and Thrift Plus are all great. Or for kids check out Lots A Love, Hoola or Second Snuggle. And of course Olio’s Free and Buy sections also feature lots of pre-loved clothes that you can pick up right away.


Perfection — Green all your money: current account, savings account, ISA, pension etc

Progress — If you have them, start by moving your pension or savings accounts to a green provider. And if you’re worried about transitioning your current account with all its outgoings, leave it until a bit later! Make My Money Matter and Mother Tree are great websites to help you on the journey to green your money — which for many households is one of the most impactful things you can do.


Perfection — Stop flying

Progress — If travel’s your thing, or you have family overseas, then a moratorium on flying is really hard. Instead why not see if you can set yourself a rule of no more flights for weekends or short haul? Can you travel by train instead? And if you do fly, can you offset or even double offset, which whilst being far from perfect, is definitely better than not doing anything at all. Byways is a great tool for flight free travel, as is Interrail.

Perfection — Ditch your car

Progress — If you do need a car, then why not switch to electric or hybrid when your car is due an upgrade? Even better, see if you can switch to public transport such as train or bus, or for shorter distances, try to cycle or walk whenever you can. And don’t forget to check if your employer has a cycle to work scheme.


Perfection — Power your home with 100% renewables

Progress — Can you switch to a green electricity tariff? Or perhaps you could install solar panels, even if they’re only for part of your energy consumption? The Government is now offering grants for heat pumps too, which can be a great way to make your home more sustainable and also save money.

Perfection — Minimise your energy consumption

Progress — A really simple one is turning your thermostat down by one degree. It can have a huge energy saving impact, reducing your carbon pollution by 340kg and even cut your heating bills by 10% — it’s a real win-win! Putting your heating on for an hour less each day, or turning all of your lights and sockets off when not in use are also other great ways to help save energy in your home.

So here’s to progress rather than paralysis, and action rather than apathy in 2024 and beyond.

You got this 💪



Tessa Clarke

Co-Founder & CEO of Olio, the local sharing app. Getting my head around the climate crisis. Passionate about sustainability, startups & diversity.