Last month, over 9 million people across the world came together to show their care for our planet’s future. By switching off their lights for an hour at 8.30 p.m., they demonstrated that small actions can make a big difference. During the darkened hour, people sat by candlelight and had the opportunity to reflect on how they could reduce their impact further.
The new year is a great time to reflect on how you can help yourself, others and the world around us. As time goes on, we are becoming more and more aware of the effect we are having on the planet and what we can do to reduce our impact. If you would like to make some meaningful New Year’s resolutions, here are some ideas:
Spend more time in nature
This year, the UK is hosting the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). It is taking place from 31 October to 12 November in Glasgow. The conference will bring together world leaders, climate experts, activists and campaigners through talks on climate change. Agreements will be made between different parties as to how to tackle the escalating crises. Hopefully positive ones!
The goals of COP26 are to:
Reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050
Countries must aim to significantly reduce their carbon emissions by 2030 and then reduce them further to net zero by 2050. This can be done by:
Phasing out coal
Switching to electric vehicles
Every week, we carefully take time to sort out our household waste and put it in the recycling bins. We believe we’re doing our bit for the environment and we don’t give it another thought after it is taken away. We trust that it is going to be recycled.
After a recent investigation performed by Greenpeace, it was discovered that over half of our plastic waste is being shipped to countries like Turkey to be disposed of. Rather than being recycled, it is often dumped or burned on the roadside. Some of it even ends up in waterways and floats into the ocean. This has a very harmful effect on wildlife, sea life and people. Locals have reported serious health issues and haven’t been able to breathe properly due to intoxicating fumes.
It sounds like a difficult task, doesn’t it? Questions might pop into your head like “How would I keep it clean?” or “What will people think of me?” However, Marina Testino put her reservations aside and did exactly that. Her intention was to dispel the belief that we need to continually wear new clothes to keep up with fashion, and she simply wore the same red suit for one month. Whilst finding it liberating not having to choose something different to wear each day, she made an important statement about consumerism. There is a lot to be said for keeping things simple. You can find Marina on Instagram @ #onedresstoimpress.
We are all hopeful that the lockdown restrictions will be a thing of the past soon and we will be able to return to our normal way of living. This includes going on holiday and flying to our favourite destinations. However, many of us have heard about climate change and how the aviation industry plays a major part in contributing to damaging CO2 emissions. This puts us in a bit of a dilemma, as whilst we would love to jet off to sunnier climates, we also don’t want to harm the planet.
Christmas is a period of great indulgence, from the food that we consume to the products we buy as presents for our loved ones. During this special time of the year, we have an opportunity to reduce our impact on the planet by choosing eco-friendly options.
Every year, the Global Footprint Network (GFN) calculates Earth Overshoot Day. This is the day when our consumption exceeds the regeneration of nature on our planet. Last year this happened in July – however, due to the coronavirus, it was recorded on 22 August this year. As human activity has been limited, the earth has had a little bit of a chance to recover.
Interestingly, Earth Overshoot Day happens on different days for other countries. Some of the biggest consumers of the world’s resources are Qatar, whose Earth Overshoot Day is in February, and United Arab Emirates and America, where it is recorded in March. Countries such as Cuba, Iraq and Indonesia seem to consume the least, with the day being set in December.
It has recently been reported that the River Thames has a higher level of microplastics than any other river in Europe. Larger items such as wet wipes are even accumulating on the shore and creating wet wipe reefs! Scientists are baffled as to why the problem is particularly bad in London and they are calling for stricter regulations on the labelling and disposal of products that contain plastic.
Microplastics can come in the form of glitter and microbeads in cosmetics. These enter the water when we wash them off in the sink or shower after use. However, the majority of microplastics come from the breakdown of larger items, such as food packaging and single-use water bottles.
Have you ever thought about how you can save energy at home? Not only will it save you some money, but it will also help the environment. We can go through our everyday lives not thinking properly about the amount of energy we waste however, with the ongoing lockdown, we have a good opportunity to take time to reflect on our habits. It’s amazing how a few small changes can benefit us and the planet!
We have compiled a list of ways in which you can cut down on your energy use at home – and reduce your bills in the process.