I don't know about you but I was watching the news last night feeling overwhelmed, scared and powerless. I was seeing all these facts, figures and messages of doom accepting the fate that in 2030 the Earth's temperature will rise at least by 1.5 degrees. The thought that kept going round my head was 'I wish I could do something'. It's really difficult to know how any of us who aren't world leaders can make any difference, prevent any disaster. But that shouldn't be the case.
I have decided that even though I am one tiny person on this 7.442 billion person planet, and ignoring the voice inside my head which says anything I do won't matter because the damage is from the multi-million profit corporations, and I am going to do something. I believe that if I do one thing, then maybe someone will read this, and they will do something. Maybe if enough people act, change the way they previously operated and make conscious choices then we will be a force large enough that our actions will rival a large corporation.
Ultimately corporations act in consumer interest. We are all consumers. If we change our interests, they will change their products.
So, if you are asking yourself - what can I do? Then read on.
I have put together 5 small acts we can do that will make a big difference. We only have 10 years. That really isn't very long. And hey, if it doesn't work then at least you tried. And if it does work then, you were responsible for the Earth's future. That is a pretty cool thing to tell your grandchildren.
1. Single Use Plastic
We all know it. We don't all do it. I don't always do it. I rarely buy water bottles, I rarely buy plastic bags. I reuse and recycle a lot. But rarely isn't never.
I am making a pledge to stop my single-use plastic.
Today I am going to buy a permanent water bottle.
Right now at my desk I am drinking from a temporary water bottle I bought from Costa. I have been using it for almost 2 weeks now, and I felt good about that. But it's not good enough. I shouldn't be buying these water bottles at all.
I always try to bring a canvas bag with me to the supermarket. Trying clearly isn't making a difference, We need to be doing. You can roll tote bags up really really small in your pocket or bag. So don't be caught out, and make sure you have one on you like you would your phone or wallet. It is a necessity.
2. Eating Meat
I think this is the hardest and most problematic for people, including me. I think we all have viewed vegetarianism as an option for people who fancied it. I never saw this as a requirement. I have lots of very close family members who are veggie or vegan. I tried it for a month last year and I just always saw it as one of those things I might do one day and liked the sound of, but never felt a preference either way.
I never saw myself as part of the meat problem. I have eaten at Macdonalds maybe 4 or 5 times in my life. I have eaten KFC twice, hated it both times. I do not own a Deliveroo or UberEats account. I never order takeaway. I just don't have the money, plus I love cooking so I don't think I would order even if I was rich. I also only buy free range and organic meat, mostly from farmers markets. I have eaten this way since I was born, and as such never really had a taste for fast food, never wanted it.
But watching the news last night, listening to the radio this morning, reading the newspaper on the way to work, I have been made aware of the incredibly large footprint that eating animals creates.
I always thought not eating meat was a choice for people who didn't like harming animals, I never knew that it contributed to climate change and I would view myself as a fairly informed person, so I was pretty shocked.
I am making a pledge to become vegetarian starting today.
As I mentioned before companies make money from consumer interests, if our interests change, they change. If my purchases can support for example, more of those vegan and veggie Pret a Mangers, then that can only be a good thing.
3. Travel Choices
Vehicle & Transport Choices
Let's face it, for those of us who live in London or other large towns and cities, the night bus sucks. The night tube sucks a little less. With the arrival of Uber, my carbon footprint has probably quadrupled.
I would love to cycle but I am scared of cycling in London. I really really want there to be more cycle lanes, or to have large areas of London pedestrianised.
I am personally not in a position to buy a car, but if you are - buy electric.
They are cheaper. Why would you not?
This is easy for me because I hate flying. But the amount of pollution you could reduce by opting for a train or bus instead of a plane is huge. I'll give you an example: I am an actress and I love the Edinburgh Festival. From London to Edinburgh: The train takes 4 hours and 17 minutes. The plane takes one hour. In terms of your life span that is really not very long. Opt for a slightly longer train journey which is way more environmentally-friendly. And if you're complaining thinking 'but it's quicker and probably cheaper': tough. We shouldn't have screwed up this planet.
There are tons of examples similar to this, mostly national local flights that individuals take cross-counties. In the vast majority of cases, these are not necessary.
Moreover, think ahead. This ties into the single use plastic. You are allowed to bring a Tupperware box with rice and vegetables for example on the plane. Rather than buy a sandwich from Boots or Pret in the airport, think ahead and bring food. Don't add to the enormous waste airports already create.
4. Fast Fashion
Go to your local charity shop, your local cycle, your local clothes swap. Fast fashion is ruining our planet, and your wallet. You do not need the latest items from some large corporation, and if you I guarantee you will find it in your local charity shop 6 months later when someone ditched it in favour of the next fad. This is happened to me on a number of occasions: I have really liked a top in Zara which was too expensive so I didn't (couldn't) buy it. Six months later I walk past my local Fara and there it is on a rail for £1.99. Bargain.
5. Search Engines
There is a search engine called Ecosia. It is exactly the same the Google but for every search you do a trees are planted across the world How incredibly cool is that - why would you not? Make it your default browser search engine. It takes zero effort on your part.
I really hope this has helped even one person to feel they are doing something to change our futures. I found this article incredibly informative in case you want some more tips and tricks to save our planet: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45775309.
Climate Change does not affect a select few. It affects every single person on this planet, you included. You have a duty to prevent it. This should not be something that divides us but something that unites us. We are all in this together and together we can all make a huge difference. Please try these steps and save our planet. I cannot bear to think of a world that will cause my children, grandchildren, great great grandchildren suffering, because they will from our mistakes.They will suffer.
You could have this
I know which one I want.