Be a Part of the Solution, not the Problem
Flicking through the news channels is enough to strike fear into the hearts of the best of us, at the best of times, which is why, as a general rule these days, I try my best to avoid them. What with Brexit, Coronavirus and usually at least one country at war with another country or even its own people, it’s enough to depress us all, or worse still, we become indifferent and immune to the suffering all around us.
Another reason I’m a news-avoider these days though is that I just don’t think that they concentrate on the things that truly will affect us all one day. Things like climate change for instance.
Whenever there are floods like there are in parts of the UK right now with it having been the wettest February since records began, yes the media reports on it. Same with the horrific bush fires in Australia these last few months or with the glaciers in the Arctic melting more and more each year. But these events are reported on as if they were isolated incidents with no connection to one another. Madness.
Towards the back end of 2019, activist group, Extinction Rebellion, made headlines with some fairly extreme levels of protesting. That too made the news. Just in this last week, following the Court of Appeal’s decision to block proposals for a third runway at Heathrow, this too made the news – briefly.
I don’t mean to downplay the importance on a day-to-day level that issues such as Brexit, Coronavirus or the like have on individuals and businesses that of course should be reported on. But I can’t help thinking that, in the grand scheme of things, compared with the issue of climate change that is already affecting some of us and that eventually will affect us all, the media is either being exceptionally short-sighted at best and downright deceptive at worst.
Climate change is not something that happened overnight. Nor is it something that we will fix overnight. I don’t say that to scare people unnecessarily. I’m a realist and I believe that eventually we will all be affected by this issue; it’s just a matter of time.
What I would like to see and hear more about in the news more often is about what is happening to reverse climate change, what is working, what isn’t and what the ordinary person like you and me can do to help the cause to avoid these extremes of weather or certainly the frequency of these extremes, because otherwise, not to scaremonger, but how is it going to improve?
Some will say that it is already too late and they may well be right. Personally, I am encouraged every day by what I do see others doing and they inspire me to also try to “do my bit”. What I’m finding on my journey to zero-waste living is that it is as much about lifestyle choices and awareness as it is about the big fundraising activities and protests.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start – here’s what I did/do:
- Buying bamboo straws and making sure I take them with me when I’m out and about just in case;
- Investing in a good quality water bottle (or coffee cup for those that like a brew on the go!) and taking it everywhere I go;
- Taking a tote bag everywhere I go to put in all my recyclable stuff, straws, water bottles, coffee cups!
- Switching off lights and unplugging chargers not being used;
- Cutting down on car journeys and working from home as much as possible;
- Thinking before buying goods – do I really need that or could I upcycle something;
- Thinking about where my goods came from, were they ethically sourced and if not do I want to support that business or organisation just to save a few pennies;
- Meat-free days each week that the whole family have taken up, even my husband who I never thought would be up for it!
- Bugging your MP (so easy to do – sign up to emails from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, etc and they email you a link periodically that takes about 2 minutes if that to send an email/letter to your local Member of Parliament);
- Share details of climate change and ways you can help with others on social media;
- Educating yourself by signing up to climate change groups like Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF, etc;
- See if you could switch to an energy provider that provides renewable energy – we recently did this with EON and saved money!
- Up your recycling skills – most of us are probably pretty good at separating our general waste into paper and cardboard, food waste and tins/glass but what about the less well known but still fairly frequent rubbish items such as batteries – would you know how to dispose of these in an eco-friendly manner? Could you start a collection pile for things like this that you could drop off at your local recycling centre next time you’re passing?
- Reduce chemical cleaning products in your home and challenge yourself to find the most eco-friendly yet still affordable and effective household cleaning products on the market. The choice out there is impressive and, as consumers, we hold a lot of power!
- Learn to cook in an eco-friendly (and cost-effective) way. Turn the oven off shortly before the food is cooked as the oven is still warm and finishes off the cooking as a result; use pan lids to conserve heat and make use of your microwave;
- Make your own health and beauty products – so many of these on the market contain bits of plastic like microbeads that are not biodegradable so hang around the planet for years and years. Learning how to use essential oils safely and effectively is my current go-to hobby and really makes you realise the absolute selfishness of some of the items we think we need to be beautiful;
- Get a pet/get out into nature – this has been a huge one for me. Taking our dog out every day, in all weather, has been a real eye-opener for me. I’ve been able to notice the changing of the seasons more than I normally would and you can’t help but gain an appreciation for the sheer beauty of the planet when you’re out in it every day (okay, maybe not during the trio of storms we just had admittedly!).
- Turn the thermostat down and before you switch the heating on check if you’re wearing at least a couple of layers (t-shirt, jumper or hoodie), pants and socks and even throw a blanket over you first. You’ll definitely save a few quid!
- Take part in Earth Hour on 28 March 2020: https://www.wwf.org.uk/earthhour
I’m always keen to learn new ways I can do more to help in the fight against climate change, so if you’ve got any ideas definitely add them in the comments so that I can start finding ways to build these too into my lifestyle, and for other readers too.
It would be great to know too which of the above ideas you think you could start adding into your life. Maybe sharing this article on your social media would be a fantastic place to start! 🙂