If you’re worried about the use of fossil fuels, one simple thing you can do is switch to a renewable energy supplier. It’s super-easy to do, and some people find they save money too. Some companies are even offering ‘green gas’ tariffs now too.
You might also want to think about who you bank with and, most importantly, who they invest in. If you have savings to invest, it’s also worth considering supporting community energy projects.
If you’re lucky enough to own your own roof, you could think about buying solar panels. The Energy Saving Trust even has advice if you fancy going hydro. But if, like a lot of us, you don’t have the sort of home where you can generate your own electricity, there are ways you can work with others to build your own renewable power - have a look at the notes on going social and thinking structural, below.
Once you’ve switched, double your impact by suggesting a friend or family member does too (some suppliers will even give you referral rewards). You could get your work switching too.
It is kind of amazing how few people switch. According to latest government data, nearly half of us have never switched energy supplier at all, let alone to a green tariff, even though we could save a lot of money.
If you want to take things further, you could see if there is a local community energy scheme you could get involved in. Community-run energy schemes now power the equivalent of 130,000 homes in the UK, and Community Energy England have loads of advice and links to get you started.
One of the biggest barriers to renewable energy at the moment is UK policy. The solar cuts in late 2015 were a big blow, as was the 2015 Conservative manifesto promise to halt the spread of subsidised onshore wind farms. You can sign up to our campaign to unblock onshore wind, and write to your local politicians to ask what they’re doing to support the building of renewables in your area, especially locally-owned, community renewables.
You might also want to join a local divestment group targeting larger pots of money - for example, the sorts of pots owned by a university, pensions or church - and get them moved away from investments in fossil fuels. There’s even a campaign to divest parliament (or at least its £612 million pension pot).
If you live in an area threatened by fracking, you could join an anti-fracking group too. Who knows, you might end up seeing off the frackers and building a solar farm off the back of the protests, like the people of Balcombe did.