COP26 and The Climate Crisis
For nearly 30 years the UN has been bringing together countries around the globe for climate summits, to tackle global warming, and the urgency is increasing year by year. In 2015 history was made with the Paris Agreement - where every country involved agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees. The window for achieving this goal is getting troublingly close, so COP26 has been considered crucial for reducing emissions across the globe. But what can ordinary people do to battle climate change?
What can we do about climate change?
One of our favourite quotes comes from zero waste chef Anne-Marie Bonneau, ‘We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.’ So, what can we do?
- Stop fast fashion. There are serious environmental and ethical implications to fast fashion, from toxic waste and polluted rivers, to pesticides which kill. Take a look at our blog post, or watch The True Cost, a shocking documentary which will really change your life! Change how you shop by looking out for organic and fair trade labels. Make sure you wear outfits many times, repair clothes, swap them or buy second-hand. This can make a huge difference and be lots of fun too!
- Shop Fairtrade. Fair trade ensures high standards are met related to fair pay and workers’ rights, but also has a strong environmental focus. Organic food, sustainable techniques, reuse and recycling are all central to fair trade. At Harrogate Fairtrade Shop we make sure that all of our suppliers meet these standards so that we can sell products that support workers all over the globe and work hard for the planet too.
- Reduce meat and dairy consumption. Switching to a plant based diet is one of the biggest things you can do to reduce your impact. A plant based diet can reduce the carbon footprint of food by 73%, according to the University of Oxford. Try going vegan one day a week or switch to plant based alternatives - these can can make a big difference.
- Reduce flying and driving. Travel is now the biggest cause of carbon emissions in the UK. From our addiction to cars to our love of foreign travel we are burning a huge amount of fossil fuels to move around. A flight to Australia can double your annual carbon footprint in a single stroke, but all those little trips to the shops or to work really add up. Think about how far and how often you need to travel and how you get there. Walk, cycle or take the bus locally if you can. Go on holiday to Europe by train, and take holidays in Britain rather than a city break abroad.
- Switch your bank account or energy supplier. A couple of surprising changes that are so easy to do and have a big impact. Many banks invest in fossil fuels, fracking and heavily polluting industries while others support renewable energy. Find out what your bank is doing (The Ethical Consumer is a good place to start) and if they’re involved in fuelling climate change then move to a bank that’s doing the right thing. It’s also very easy to switch your electricity provider to green energy and you’ll be helping to grow sustainable energy in this country.
- Join a local climate action group. It is far too easy to hear all the worrying information about what’s happening to the planet and experience climate anxiety, but one of the most effective ways to fight this is by getting in contact with other people who care as much as you do and create real change within your community. Websites such as Friends of the Earth can help you find your local group of like-minded people who want to fight climate change.
- Get kids involved. The younger generations are the ones that will have to deal with the effects of climate change for decades to come, so it is great to teach children from a young age what climate change is and how we can fight against it. Teach them about the importance of recycling, make some plant based recipes together, or walk and cycle to school instead of driving. Print or download our sustainable clothing game and help your children find out more about the clothes we wear and the impact on our environment.
This is not an exhaustive list of everything that can be done to combat climate change, but it is a great place to start. There are also lots of great resources out there, such as the COP26 website, where you can learn more about climate change and the action that needs to be taken at the highest levels to combat it.