Guest blog: 5 simple ways to do your bit for our planet
A platform to hear from some of our amazing E.C.O. network to get their takes on the issues affecting our planet right now.
As Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in the same week that heat records were being broken across Europe, I felt more concerned and uncomfortable about the climate crisis than ever before.
I listened to a podcast recently where comedian Simon Amstell said, “We‘re not friends of the Earth, we are Earth! The idea that we think we’re separate from it and can use it is crazy.” I couldn’t have resonated with a comment more.
We should be grateful to be here, and we must contribute where we can to protecting our home.
A lot of people think that being eco-friendly is a costly endeavour. This article aims to debunk the myth by providing simple and easy ways to do your bit.
- Shop with reusable bags
One study claims that the amount of plastic produced in a year on Earth is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. Gross.
You can use your own bags from home or buy reusable ‘bags for life’ in supermarkets for around £1. Keep them by your front door so you don’t forget to take them with you.
- Avoid driving where possible
The transport sector was responsible for around 31% of UK greenhouse gas end user emissions in 2017, almost entirely through carbon dioxide emissions.
If you can get somewhere without driving, then leave that little bit earlier and leave the car behind! If you can take public transport, then do that. An easy one if it’s possible for you.
- Buy less single use plastic
It continues to confuse me when I see bananas, oranges and other hard-skinned fruit (or anything for that matter) in unnecessary plastic packaging.
– Start buying loose fruit and veg where possible.
– Try to buy large economy-sized products instead of individually wrapped items (better value for money too!)
– Say no to the plastic straw (is it even necessary?), plastic cutlery, and napkins (yup, there’s plastic in them too).
– You can make cleaning products from ingredients usually sitting in the cupboard at home. Not only does this avoid plastic containers, you’re also no longer at risk of inhaling any toxic chemicals. And neither is our ocean! You can find some recipes here.
– Invest in a reusable bottle to take out with you to avoid buying bottled water (it saves pennies too). Remember tap water is free in most bars and restaurants in the UK!
Unfortunately recycling isn’t a solution to the plastic problem, because not everything actually gets recycled. It’s claimed that only 9% of the world’s plastic is recycled. Recycling bin bags from the UK have been found in Malaysian landfills. Oftentimes plastics referred to as ‘biodegradable’ or ‘compostable’ require industrial facilities to decompose as they can’t break down naturally.
4. Reduce and Reuse
The UK generated 222.9 million tonnes of total waste in 2016, with England responsible for 85% of that.
– Sell stuff you don’t use on eBay, Gumtree or other selling sites, or donate to charities or shelters.
– Use your old plastic toothbrushes for cleaning and donate cleaning products you don’t need anymore to your neighbours or local businesses that may need them.
– Turn off lights and other electrical appliances when you’re not using them.
Only use what you need!
5. Consume less animal products
This is the one that will make the most difference. 51%+ of greenhouse gases and 91% of Amazon deforestation is caused by animal agriculture. Eating plant-based produces 50% less CO2, 1/11th less oil, 1/13th less water and 1/18th less land than a meat-based diet.
It can be difficult when, throughout our lives, we’ve been exposed to the propaganda that we must consume meat and dairy for nutritional reasons. It’s also hard to detach ourselves from the reality of where our food has come from when it’s just put on a plate in front of us.
There has been study after study proving that plants provide us with everything we need nutritionally, whether that’s calcium from kale or plant milks, or protein from legumes. Meat consumption is constantly being attributed to certain cancers and disease, not to mention the pain and torture animals have to go through just for us – when we don’t even need to eat them.
But not everyone can change overnight! Consuming animal products a few times a week is better than consuming them every day.
People mistake a plant-based diet to be expensive; perhaps it is if you’re buying branded vegan junk food. Fruit, veg, pasta, pulses, rice and other grains are cheap (and natural), and can be used to make a plethora of meals and snacks. The benefits are three-fold; better for our environment, better for the animals, and better for your health.
I assume you‘re reading this because you want to contribute to tackling the climate crisis in some way. Go you! Making changes can sometimes be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that your small acts are better than no acts at all. Trying is part of the change.
Ease yourself into it. Take your time, do your research, and don’t beat yourself up along the way!
Originally from London, Emily lives near Cambridge where she works in digital marketing. Her interest in digital marketing and tackling climate change is what sparked the idea for her eco-focused Instagram account.
Her favourite eco products are her Bristle toothbrush and floss.