New Beginnings, Fresh Starts & Positive Changes
January is always a good time to think about new beginnings and fresh starts. We emerge from the indulgence and excess of the festive period, ready to leave behind our over-consumption, feel more energised and clearer-headed, and use that energy and clarity to make positive changes in our lives.
This is even more true after the past couple of years. The reality of a global pandemic, coupled with the ever more present effects of climate change, is a lot to process.
The sixth IPCC Report[i] published in August 2021 and November's COP26[ii] told us we need to act now to limit climate change. But often, we don’t know how to do that.
Well first, we have to remember this great piece of advice from Mary Heglar[iii]:
“The thing about climate is that you can either be overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem, or fall in love with the creativity of the solutions”
Secondly, we need to channel our inner-Greta:
“I’ve learnt that no one is too small to make a difference.”
And that’s what we’ve got to use our New Year inspired energy and clarity for this year – not just making a positive change in our immediate lives, but in the wider world too.
12 ways you can make a difference
I’m a firm believer in only making one change at a time - don’t become overwhelmed. Focus on one change, and do it until it becomes habit.
Only then, move on.
1) Offset some of your Carbon Footprint
- Head to Trees for Cities[iv], One Tree Planted[v] or The Woodland Trust[vi] and plant a tree (or several) today.
- Sign up to Ecologi[vii] to become climate positive from £1.25 per week.
- Use Klima[viii] to calculate your carbon footprint and then offset it.
2) Switch your electricity to 100% renewable
Ovo Energy[ix], British Gas[x], Eon Energy[xi], Scottish Power[xii] and Octopus[xiii] all do 100% renewable energy options or have renewables as standard.
3) Install Ecosia search engine[xiv] on your phone (& laptop)
- Make it your default search engine.
- Trees are planted with every search.
4) Eat less (especially red) meat.
Meat consumption in the UK has fallen by 17% in the last decade[xv]. But we need to cut it by another 30%. However don’t worry if you eat meat every day, any reduction helps, even by abstaining 2-3 times a week.
5) Avoid one transatlantic flight
Each transatlantic roundtrip flight avoided saves 1.6 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year[xvi].
6) Switch to milk in reusable glass bottles.
Milk & More[xvii] deliver both dairy and oat milk in glass. And our local independent Milk Man has just started delivering oat milk in glass bottles too.
7) Migrate to plastic free toiletries
Shampoos, conditioners, facial cleansers, deodorants, and shower gels all have plastic free alternatives.
8) Take your own containers
when buying food from cheese, meat or fish counters.
I take old takeaway boxes – and haven’t been turned down yet!
9) Protect your green spaces
If you have a garden, take part in No Mow May[xviii].
10) Check out zero waste shopping solution Loop (https://loopstore.com)
Once you’ve used the contents (from yoghurt to shower gel to laundry liquid), they take the packaging back.
And for packaging that can’t be easily recycled, consider getting one of these boxes (https://zerowasteboxes.terracycle.co.uk)
Take Action – and create hope
11) Environmental groups
such as Greenpeace, often have a ‘take action’ section on their website for online petitions and templated emails www.greenpeace.org.uk/take-action
12) Write to your MP.
Find letter-templates to use, but also check out ‘Write to Your MP’ on Instagram for inspiration and resources: www.instagram.com/writetoyourmp
So, there you have 12 steps to use your new year energy to make a difference and have a positive impact on the planet.
Happy New Year!
With love, eco action and eco hope,
References & Further Reading
[i] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change - https://www.ipcc.ch/2021/08/09/ar6-wg1-20210809-pr/
[ii] The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), Glasgow 31 October – 12 November 2021, brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - https://ukcop26.org/
[iii] https://twitter.com/MaryHeglar & https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTqEu1wZDBju2tHkNP1dwzQ