The amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is the highest it’s ever been. With ice caps melting, temperatures and sea levels rising, and natural disasters becoming more frequent, we can’t ignore the disastrous effects of climate change. The climate is changing, and to slow it down, we have to change too. Here are seven ways we can act against climate change in our day-to-day lives:
Energy saving in the home
A great way to help the planet is by being aware of how much energy you are using at home and what type of energy you’re using Although most people don’t get bogged down about natural disasters and the extreme weather events imposed by climate change, many feel increased anxiety, stress and depression as a result.
Burning fossil fuels for transport, industry, heating, and electricity for the home makes up around two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions globally!
Here are some things you can do:
- Swapping your gas oven for an electric oven
- Unplugging electrical items when not in use and not leaving them on “standby” mode
- Energy-efficient lightbulbs
- Changing to a “green energy” provider
- Washing your clothes less / only cleaning when you have a full load of washing on eco mode
- Hang wet clothes instead of using a dryer
- Put on extra layers when cold instead of keeping the thermostat up high
Change your diet
To keep up with the ever-growing demand for red meat and processed foods (the main staples of a western diet), it’s estimated that environmental pressures could increase by around 90% by 2050!
You don’t have to dramatically change your diet if you’re not ready; making a few minor…most significant contribution tweaks can make a huge difference. Here are some examples:
- Giving up/reducing red meat, becoming vegetarian or vegan. Alternatively, you could become a“flexitarian” (someone who tries to eat mostly vegetarian foods but occasionally allows themself a meat treat). This helps to lower carbon emissions from cattle which contribute around 65 percent of all domesticated emissions.
- Eating locally sourced ingredients: To lower the carbon footprint of transportation.
- Eating organic foods: To reduce pollution and preserve soil.
A link has also been forged between traffic-related air pollution and anxiety.
Whilst air pollution and other environmental hazards pose serious threats to our mental health and wellbeing, healthy environments can help us to feel better and even have a curative effect.
It was estimated that the production and disposal of plastic worldwide pumped more than 850 million tonnes of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere in 2019. This figure is expected to rise dramatically if we don’t do something quickly.
Here are some ways you can reduce your plastic consumption:
- Use reusable straws or ditch straws altogether
- Use reusable bags such as cotton or net
- Invest in a water purifier for your tap water instead of buying bottled. Or buying glass bottles of water or refillable containers
- Go to zero-waste supermarkets
- Use Tupperware for leftovers instead of plastic wrapping
- Use Tupperware when ordering takeaway food
Reuse and recycle
We know how bad plastic is for contributing to climate change, but did you know that 1.2billion tonnes of carbon emissions come from the textile industry? It’s not just plastic that can be reused or recycled.
Here are some ways you can reuse and recycle in your day-to-day life:
- Buying clothes from second-hand shops, fixing instead of throwing away, repurposing/upcycling old clothes
- If you have to buy plastic, make sure it’s recyclable or reusable (check the labels)
- Recycle batteries when they die
- Recycle glass, paper, metals, and plastics correctly
Leave the car at home
In the UK, transportation is the single largest contributor of greenhouse gasses, and the average worker commutes for a total of 41 minutes every day.
How can you help to reduce carbon emissions from transportation? Here are a few ways:
- Walk/jog/cycle more: it’s good for your health and the planet
- Carpool to work or school: sharing cars is a great way to cut down on carbon emissions from transportation
- Trains and buses: public transport is much easier on the environment than cars
- Switch to an electric car: they produce way fewer carbon emissions than petrol cars
Up until very recently, the role that a healthy environment plays in safeguarding human health had been hugely neglected. However, this is changing. Little by little, both citizens and Governments are becoming aware of the fact that by helping nature, we can also improve our mental wellbeing.
If we want to tackle our mental health crisis, the first place to start is restoring nature and making nature a priority. Although it is a simple answer, it is one that will be hugely effective on millions of people’s mental health.
Spread the word
Now you know how you can help to reduce your carbon footprint! But it doesn’t stop there; now it’s time not just to put all of these plans into action but also to help spread the word!
Here are some ideas on how to do that:
- Share what you’ve learned here on social media
- Have conversations with friends and family
- Put together presentations at work or school
- Contribute your time or money to organisations that are helping the planet and help them to raise awareness (check out our volunteer page here )
- Share this blog