As the climate crisis intensifies, rapid systemic change is vital. Governments and global decision makers must divest from fossil fuels and make policy changes to reduce emissions and halt biodiversity loss.
But as individuals, we too have an important role to play.
As Niklas Hagelberg, UNEP’s Climate Change Coordinator explained:
“As individuals, [we] must change our consumption habits and pressure those who represent us…to move rapidly to a low-carbon world…The climate emergency demands action from all of us.”
Nonetheless, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by climate change. Taking your first steps in the green movement and altering your behaviour can be difficult.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 5 actionable things you and your family can do to help tackle climate change.
Whether it’s writing to your local MP or starting a community greening project, there’s plenty of activities you can do to help – whilst informing your little ones about the issues too.
Start a community greening project
Planting trees, shrubs, vegetable gardens and flower beds in your local area can combat pollution, create habitats for local wildlife, and lift morale.
You don’t need a garden to get planting – talk to your neighbours and local council about starting a project, or build some plant containers for your balcony or front yard and encourage others to do the same!
Greening projects are a brilliant way to involve kids in sustainability efforts, and get them outdoors!
Buy local, seasonal, plant-based food
Powering hothouses and transporting fresh produce around the world uses vast amounts of energy. For example, a pack of asparagus weighing 250g, transported from Peru by aeroplane uses 3.5kg of carbon, while the same amount grown in the UK is responsible for just 125g of carbon. So buying local produce will massively help reduce your family’s carbon footprint.
Eating more plant-based, is a great way to help the planet too. According to the UN, meat and dairy accounts for 14.5% of all man made greenhouse gas emissions – there’s a big environmental cost of industrialised animal farming. Avoiding red meat, or limiting your family’s meat meals to 2 days a week is a great place to start!
Just make sure you explain to children why you’re making these changes:
“If together we all choose to eat less meat and more local fruit and vegetables, we can reduce the carbon emissions that cause climate change.”
We’re consuming resources at an unsustainable rate.
From cosmetics to children’s toys, everything we buy creates emissions – in extraction, production, transport and trade.
Moreover, the recycling industry is complex: much of what we put in recycling bins finds its way to landfills.
So, the best way to reduce the carbon footprint of your shopping and the harmful impact of your waste is to simply buy less!
Get started today by making a list of everything you buy and underlining the things you can live without. Try your best to avoid these products. Next time you venture into clothes shops, supermarkets and household stores – ask yourself: “do we really need it?’. “Can I buy this second hand (online or from a charity shop) instead?”
The green movement requires all of us to live more simply, with less stuff.
Use your voice
Individual action matters. But it’s important to remember the bigger picture and keep in mind the systemic changes required to tackle the environmental crisis too. Reducing our own ecological impact must go hand in hand with helping to engender nationwide and global change.
Whether you’re supporting MPs already pushing environmental agendas, or questioning those who could do more, public demands can make a tangible difference.
Here’s a letter template which you and your family can use to urge your local MP to take climate change more seriously.
Articles, social posts and posters addressing climate issues, with a clear set of demands, can be powerful ways to engender change too, and are a great way to engage children.
Put your money where your mouth is!
As well as donating to large environmental organisations and charities such as Friday’s for Future, The Climate Coalition, Carbon180, and Greenpeace, supporting local conservation groups is a good way to support the climate.
We understand not everyone has the funds to donate right now. But organising a sponsored hike or community bakesale could be a fun way to raise money!
There’s hundreds of things families can do to help the planet, but we believe these are some of the most important.
Why not pick one action to focus on with your family this month?
The Buttercup Team
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