Climate change. What really is it and how can we help? Just like many people my age, I was blissfully unaware that this was a real issue that I was contributing to. What really opened my eyes was ‘Stacey Dooley Investigates: Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’, a documentary highlighting the devastating impacts that fast fashion has on the environment (well worth a watch over on BBC!) and the activism of organisations such as WWF and Greenpeace. To provide a bit of background on the issues we are facing, it’s necessary to include facts and statistics to prove the enormity of this situation.
- Nine out of ten of the hottest years on record have happened since 2005. The UK’s three-month heatwave of 2018 was the hottest ever on record and a record number of people visited A&E. The California wildfires of 2018 were worsened (if not caused) by prolonged droughts hitting the US.
- If things continue as they are, droughts in Africa could last for five years, sea levels could rise by a meter, 411 million people will suffer from water scarcity and agricultural industries around the world will suffer enormously
- We’re already experiencing unusual weather patterns and fairly extreme conditions, but this could intensify. We can expect superstorms, intense heat waves, flooding, snowstorms and hurricanes if we don’t make a change.
But how do we initiate change? As the general public, we can only contribute so much - to sort out the enormity of the issue, huge government action needs to be taken! However, if we all implement small changes into our routines, huge changes can happen to the environment.
When I decided I wanted to live more ethically, I did a lot of research and scrolling through blogs and articles trying to find ways to change my routine. I think I’ve found the ways in which we can all help, no matter how old we are.
Here are the 15 changes I implemented into my life and ways you can initiate change.
1) Limit your buying from high street store.
Fast fashion and mass consumption is one of the leading causes of climate change (again, I urge you to watch Stacey Dooley’s documentary!). Brands like Prettylittlething, Missguided, Boohoo, Topshop and H&M are vital contributors to the impact on the environment. Buy from charity shops, vintage shops, Depop, Ebay and ethical clothing brands (lists of these are just a google away!) Not only does buying from places like charity shops, depop and eBay limit the environmental impact, but clothes are often cheaper, and you are supporting local business!
2) Switch out your plastic bottles to a reusable water bottle (metal or bamboo is the best kind!)
3) Carry a reusable coffee cup with you instead of consuming disposable coffee cups.
4) Buy shampoo bars (LUSH have huge variety of these) instead of plastic bottles and bars of soap instead of shower gel!
Similarly, you can switch out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one. Wherever you can, cut down on that unnecessary plastic!
5) Ask for no straw, use a paper straw or buy your own reusable metal straws (I got mine from Harvey Nichols!), and bring metal cutlery instead of using plastic ones.
If you know you eat at fast food restaurants often, remember to bring your own metal/reusable cutlery/straws instead!
6) Meal prep your food to avoid unnecessary waste!
This is also a healthier option as you know exactly what is going in your lunch, it’s also cheaper, as you’re not wasting food! I binge watch some lunch ideas on YouTube to find inspiration for this one.
7) Use your recycle bins!
8) Decrease your meat and dairy intake.
Now, I’m not forcing you to go vegan, or even vegetarian. I limit my meat intake and try to use Quorn substitutes where I can (trust me, the Quorn chicken nuggets are AMAZING). I also use soy milk or almond milk.
9) Buy food from local farm shops!
Not only will the food be fresh, but it hasn’t been transported far to be on your plate, it supports your local community and helps growth of smaller businesses. The animals are likely to be treated a lot better as well, so everyone wins!
10) Have a garden? Make it more bee friendly!
As we head into spring, try planting some bee-friendly plants. Friends of the Earth recommend planting Lavender, Pussy Willow, Apple, Hawthorne, Lungwort, Crocus, Marjoram and strawberries!
11) Try to buy from eco-friendly makeup brands.
Try to find brands that are cruelty free, vegan and organic! Some popular ones are NYX Cosmetics, Tarte, Aveda, ECCO, LUSH and The Body Shop.
12) Try to cycle and walk more! Or if you’re travelling far, use public transport instead of a car
It’s also a lot cheaper for you!
13) Watch your water waste.
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, don’t spend hours in the shower, don’t fill the bath up unnecessarily high. Every little helps!
14) Not using a plug? Turn it off!
15) possibly one of the most important: Use your voice!
Nowadays, everyone has some kind of following on social media, use your platform and your voice for change! Share a post about climate change on your story, post a picture with some facts, share this post with your friends and family! Communication can be a huge way to spark change within your own community. If you’re looking for further inspiration, Voice has an area dedicated to the stories of people wanting to make a difference!
There are so many more changes you can implement into your life to be more eco-friendly and battle climate change, but I hope these few inspired you to make a difference. Go forth and change the planet!