There’s been international outcry over Trump’s announcement that the US would pull out of the Paris agreement. It’s unquestionably bad news in the global fight against climate change, but it’s a long way from game over.
Trump can shout at the waves if he wants, but the President of the US (whoever’s in that role) alone could never save us from climate change, and neither can they drag us all down with them.
Global agreements like the one in Paris are part of our arsenal in tackling climate change. But they are only one part. We need action on international, national, regional, community and individual levels. We need social and cultural change, as well as technological developments and new infrastructure.
There’s loads to do, but the good news is that a lot of this is already happening.
Some people will tell you that nothing individuals do will make a difference. Others complain that politicians are worthless, or that there’s no point doing anything unless businesses take a lead. But the truth is we need everyone, acting on every level. All over the world individuals, communities, businesses (big and small), and politicians (local and national) are all already taking action. We just need more of them, and that’s always going to include you.
There are plenty of ways you can take action yourself. This is especially important if you live in parts of the world with high carbon footprints (e.g. did you know households in the south-west of England are some of the most carbon intensive in Europe?). The old line that small actions add up is true - you can take one small action and use it to build and inspire more.
So here are five places you can make a difference on climate change.
DIY: If you haven’t switched to LED lightbulbs already, do it. We’ve got a handy guide to LEDs, and you could reduce your lighting bill by up to 90%. Then see if you can change at work too.
Level up and go social: You can increase this impact even more by just talking about it, seeing if your friends and family know how great LEDs are too. When you were a kid, did your Dad always tell you off for leaving the lights off when you left a room? Buy him an LED lightbulb as an extra Father’s Day pressie.
Level up and think structural: Check to see if your local council and/ or local businesses have plans to go LED too, and if not, lobby them to do so.
DIY: Meat-eater? Cut down a bit. Already vegan? Make an effort to eat locally.
Level up and go social: Share recipes for low carbon food with your friends (here are five of our faves). If you’ve got a staff canteen, see if you can start some meat free days, or ask local cafes and restaurants if they’ve thought about trying meat free days and/or lower carbon menus too.
Level up and think structural: Write to your favourite brands about what they’re doing to tackle climate change, or join campaigns against issues like palm oil. Ask your local politicians about what they’re doing to ensure our agriculture and food policies are as climate-friendly as possible.
DIY: Change to a renewable energy supplier.
Level up and go social: Recommend switching to a friend too (some suppliers will even give you referral rewards) and get work switching too. If you want to take things further, invest your time and/ or money in community energy too.
Level up and think structural: Write to your local politicians about what they’re doing to support the building of renewables in your area and/ or join a local divestment group.
DIY: We’ve got five no-cost tricks to make the most of your home heating. When the cold weather comes around, try them out.
Level up and go social: Apply the same basic heat-saving tricks you tried at home in your office and/ or community centre. Then talk smugly about how warm you are to all your friends and offer to help them out too.
Level up and think structural: Write to your local politicians and ask what they’re doing to help people insulate their homes.
DIY: If you have transport options, use the lower carbon ones. If your commute is fuelled with petrol, see if you can shift to something electric, a pedal bike, or your plain old feet. If you’re thinking about flying on holiday this year, at least consider another choice.
Level up and go social: If you learn to fix your bike, then offer to run a bike-fixing workshop at lunchtime at work - you’ll help cement your learning, and share some know-how too. Or, if your colleagues fly for work a lot get your office to invest in video conferencing systems so everyone can cut down on how much they travel.
Level up and think structural: Lobby your politicians for better investment in cycling and electric public transport, and/ or a frequent flyer levy.