Whilst it can be demoralising to think that anything we do in the face of climate change will have a minimal impact on the global crisis, there are loads of lifestyle changes to be made – big and small – which will have a real influence on your personal impact on the planet, and may improve your wellbeing too!
- Try a flexitarian, vegetarian or plant-based diet
Reducing intake of animal products has multiple benefits on the planet. The production of meat and dairy accounts for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions – a huge amount – so not engaging with this is your way of refusing to contribute to the wider problem. Eating less meat also generally leads to a lower-calorie diet, reducing the risk of ailments such as heart disease.
- Use a reusable cup
In the UK, we use approximately 7 million takeaway coffee cups every day – that’s 2.5 billion a year – of which only 0.25% are recycled. By investing in a reusable cup for your daily coffee, you’re significantly reducing your daily waste.
- Wash your clothes with eco laundry bags
Every time we wash our clothes, microfibres from our garments are released into the water system. In fact, microfibres from our clothes comprise an estimated 35% of all microplastics in the ocean. To avoid contributing to this, invest in some reusable mesh washing bags, which block 99% of microfibres leaving your washing machine while still allowing detergent in.
- Use energy-saving lightbulbs
Energy-saving lightbulbs last up to 12 times longer than ordinary lightbulbs, yet emit the same amount of light. They use significantly less electricity than standard bulbs, thus reducing your household carbon footprint. Additionally, remember to turn off any unnecessary lights to save energy and money.
- Walk and cycle more
This is a pretty obvious one, but by making more journeys on foot or by bike rather than driving unnecessarily will reduce the amount of toxic carbon dioxide your travel adds to the atmosphere.
- Plant shrubs which bees like
Bees – the most important insects on our planet – are under serious threat. We need them to pollinate our plants and maintain life on Earth. We can help them out by including plants in our gardens or window-boxes which they particularly like, such as lavender, rosemary, bluebells and crocuses.
- Buy products from Britain
Buying local will significantly reduce your carbon footprint as what you consume won’t need to be shipped halfway across the world – most products you could want can be produced in the UK, and buying them from here can also support small businesses.
- Order surplus food
Every year, restaurants throw away around £682 million worth of food – about 199,100 tonnes. However, there are various companies through which you can purchase this perfectly good food before it’s wasted.
- Use green cleaning products
Typical cleaning products often contain chemicals which are harmful for the environment. Eco-friendly alternatives have fewer chemicals which do not cause water or air pollution, and are often sold in reused or recyclable packaging. Because of the lack of hazardous chemicals, they also pose fewer health risks to users.
- Turn your heating down
Central heating is one of the biggest origins of household emissions, and it is often overused. If your house is cold, put on more layers, use blankets, or fill up hot water bottles before turning on your radiators.