Burning forests, floods, strange weather patterns – the list goes on. Climate change is here and we’re the cause. Our lifestyles are depleting the planet of its natural self-healing properties. At the same time, the scale of the challenge is so large that as an individual it can paralyse us into inaction. But every little helps, here are 7 things I do that could make some small difference to the planet. They have the added benefit of saving you money, making you healthier or improving your social connections.
1 Buy an electric car. I used to have a diesel car and we all know how polluting they are. But a few years ago, I bought an electric car . It was a second-hand B-Class Mercedes and much much cheaper than a flashy Tesla. I haven’t looked back since.
It’s great not to have go to a petrol station – I simply charge the car like my phone. There is the issue of range – the car can only do 90 miles on a full-charge (remember I bought it a few years, today the ranges are much larger). But I only really use it for local driving. For longer distances, I switch to public transport – all the better for the environment.
2 Switch your energy supplier to renewables. For my electricity in the house, I used to use a big national name. I didn’t know that one can switch to a green supplier with a phone call. I’m in the UK and I picked Bulb which only uses renewable energy sources or carbon-neutral gas. I’m sure this option would be available in other countries too. And a nice surprise: my energy bill is actually lower than before.
3 Reduce your meat intake. The amount of forests that need to be wiped out to raise cows is mind-boggling. So, cutting back one’s red meat intake can literally save trees. Remember trees are nature’s carbon capture system. But it’s not just the environment you’ll be preserving, you will also live longer too. Red meat actually accelerates the ageing process, so if you want to live longer, then eat less meat.
4 Stick to classic clothes, not fashionable ones. Clothes need to source materials from all over the world and when made they need to be flown long distances to reach you. None of this is good for the planet. Yet, many of us get caught up in the fashion game. Some new style or colour is in right now, so we have to buy it. But six months it’s out, so you need to change your wardrobe. Oscar Wilde put it another way: “what is a fashion? From the artistic point of view, it is usually a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”
So why wear clothes that will embarrass you when people scroll down to you older Instagram pictures? Better them to stick the classics. Buy clothes that fit you well, have neutral colours and are timeless in style. Think how Steve McQueen dressed in the 1960s- it still looks great. I doubt current male acting icon Timothée Chalamet dress sense will be remembered fondly (see picture at the top)
5 Walk, walk, walk. Rather than using an elevator, take the stairs. Rather than taking a taxi for a few miles, walk. It will have a small positive impact on environment and will have massive positive impact on your health.
6 Holiday in your home country. Air travel injects carbon into the air at an incredible rate. Then holiday resorts often reshape their local environments and harms the local ecosystem. Yet, whichever country you live, I can guarantee it has some stunning holiday destinations. In the UK, the coast is gorgeous, the countryside is legendary and the cities range from vibrant to historic. Plus, why go through the hassle of the return flight and airport hassles that unwinds all the goodwill from your international holiday. Stay local.
7 Buy locally produced stuff. From food to furnishings, you can source them all locally. This will cut out the transport pollution, unnecessary packaging and questionable production methods. It may cost a bit more, but you’ll get that personal touch and get to know the vendor – who could well be a neighbour.
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