Climate change is a crisis affecting everyone.
Some will be more impacted than others. While climate change can occur through natural circumstances, human activities are responsible for unprecedented and catastrophic changes in our climate over the past century.
The consequences of climate change are vast, including droughts, fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting ice, and severe storms – all these changes subsequently impact biodiversity.
Every single choice we make has an impact on our planet.
The good news is that there are smaller, everyday changes that you can make which will positively impact your carbon footprint.
Here are some small changes you can make to live a more sustainable life, creating a more positive future for our people and planet:
1 – REUSE & RECYCLE.
A lot of the goods we buy are wasted. Excess food and old, or unused, clothes are often put straight into trash. But the next time you go to throw away leftovers or damaged clothing, stop!
8.4 million people in the UK are struggling to eat. And in the UK alone we waste almost 10 million tonnes of food each year. WRAP estimated that 1 in every 5 shopping bags is completely wasted. So, what can we do to reduce food waste?
- First things first – don’t over buy food. Establish what you need and don’t need. (We’re all guilty of buying a loaf of bread when there’s a half used one already in the cupboard at home.) Planning ahead on your meals can help with this too; consider what your meals will be and how to make the most of leftovers.
- Make the most of your freezer! By batch cooking and freezing meals, you won’t waste fresh food if you miss a meal or forget about the veggies in the draw. You can also par-cook veg and freeze for later use or freeze unused fruits for smoothies or baking.
- Compost can be your friend. Any fresh food scraps or garden trimmings can be added to a compost pile. This saves a lot of waste going to land fill. Once the compost is ready, it can be used on flower and vegetable beds to enrich your soil.
Now, what about clothing? With the current accessibility, and price, of fast fashion people are consuming more clothes than ever. Unfortunately, this is having serious impacts on our planet – The apparel industry is second only to the oil industry in terms of pollution (contributing around 10% of all global emissions). As well as the pollution caused in the process of making garments, it is a water intensive process. The World Wildlife Dun estimated that it takes 20,000 litres of freshwater to make one kg of cotton – the equivalent of one t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
The solution is to reduce our reliance on fast fashion. A great way to do this is upcycling and repurposing clothes we already own. Instead of throwing away those jeans with a hole in the knee, stitch them up and keep using them. If you do need to buy some new clothes, you can also look for brands that sell upcycled clothes. A lot of companies are supporting the change to recycling clothes and offer ranges that are vintage, recycled, upcycled, or carbon neutral.
2 – SHOP SUSTAINABLY.
Shopping sustainably goes hand in hand with reducing waste. In the UK alone, over 300,000 tonnes of clothes are thrown away every year.
As well as this material waste going straight into landfill, the clothing industry has been named the world’s second largest water polluter. So, if you can, think twice about where you’re getting your clothes from and what you are buying. It’s worth investing in better quality clothes that will last a long time, as opposed to frequently going through cheaper garments. Even better, lots of clothes companies are now sharing their carbon status, and consciously designing their fabrics in a more sustainable way.
It’s not just your clothes that weigh on the environment. Fortunately, many brands are now embracing the move to more sustainable options which makes it easier than ever to make mindful moves in your shopping. Watch out for green brands. Either look for low carbon companies, recycled products, or brands with an affinity for positive change.
3 – THINK FOOD.
We’ve mentioned above the impact of food waste, but the food you choose to consume is also important. Small changes can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
- Think about where your food comes from. Growing your own fruit and veg is a great way forward and cuts back serious travel miles of your food. If growing your own food isn’t possible, then be mindful about the time of year and where your food is travelling from. By opting for locally produced, seasonal products, you will significantly reduce the environmental impact.
- Try eating less meat and dairy. Livestock is one of the most significant sources of water pollution and ammonia emissions, accounting for around 51% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. The meat industry is also responsible for serious deforestation and forest fires. Industrial meat is in fact the single biggest cause of deforestation in the world. In some parts of the world, farmers are intentionally setting forest fires to clear space for ranching and growing animal feed for farms globally. A side effect of global warming and deforestation is the damage to wildlife and biodiversity. Studies show that in the UK alone we need to reduce our meat and dairy consumption by 70% before 2030 in order to prevent the climate breakdown.
4 – GO GREEN.
Last but not least, see if you can switch over to a green energy supplier.
A lot of energy suppliers are now offering green packages and the prices don’t differ too greatly. Your carbon footprint will be reduced and it’s easy enough to make the change.
While the change to a green tariff is better for the environment, it’s important to note that the energy powering your home or business won’t actually change. The nationwide network where the power originates is fed from a variety of sources. The green tariff just means your supplier will fund renewable energy equivalent to what you use to fund future production. Or, they will offset the carbon emissions from the power you’re using to reduce the impact of your electricity.