It’s been a couple of weeks of doom and gloom, with Liz Bonnin’s fantastic but heart-wrenching Drowning in Plastic documentary, and the findings of a research report stating that we have only 12 years to limit climate catastrophe and keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5°. It’s hard to avoid feeling despair and powerless in the face of such cold, hard facts. But we have no choice but to continue. If we decide to give in and accept climate destruction then it becomes inevitable.
So what can we, as individuals and collectively, do about it?
1) Get political
You don’t necessarily have to join marches and protest in the streets, but do write to your MP, local council, and other representatives and let them know that this is something that is important to you and ask what they are doing about. it. And when voting time comes, vote for the planet (well whoever will do their best to look after it anyway). A common response to global warming and plastic pollution is that as individuals can’t do anything and Government needs to legislate, but what you can do is make sure that your MP knows that they need to be doing all they can to protect your planet and your vote will only go towards candidates with strong environmental policies and commitment to back them up with action.
2) Meat free every day
We’re a vegan business but we try to approach it in a welcoming, non-preachy way, however the evidence is clear that omitting or reducing your consumption of animal products is the single biggest thing you can do to protect the planet for the future. You don’t have to go vegan, but it’s time to think about making animal products an occasional indulgence instead of an everyday occurrence if you don’t want to give it up completely. All major supermarkets carry meat replacements, and they’re becoming increasingly convincing, or for ultimate health benefits check out the many plant-based recipes available online. My personal favourite is a Shepherd’s Pie made with red lentils instead of mince.
3) Get on your bike/feet/bus
Reducing the amount of car journeys you make is another key way to reduce your personal impact on the environment. Most journeys are under 3 miles and unnecessary so think about whether you really do need to make a journey, make the most of each journey, and walk, cycle, or public transport where possible. The planet and your health will thank you for it.
4) Shop your values
A small number of global companies are responsible for much of the corporate climate destruction and pollution, including generating mountains of plastic waste. Vote with your wallet and avoid buying from such dirty companies, and instead support businesses who put protecting the planet at the heart of all they do. Remember to look out for smaller brands of mega-businesses, sometimes they like to hide behind an eco-label.
5) Avoid unnecessary purchases
In the hierarchy of waste, reduce is featured highly but is over-looked in favour of recycle which is further down in terms of reducing impact. You don’t need to shun all purchases, but learning to live with less and asking whether or not you really need something will significantly shrink your footprint. The 5 whys is often used in business to ask get to the root of business decisions, and it can also be applied to purchasing decisions. If you want to buy something, ask yourself why, then ask why again in response to your answer until you’ve really dug down in to why you feel you need something. You may find that actually you just need a little emotional boost that can be achieved in a different way.