Today is Earth Day and this years theme is Protect Our Species.
Climate change is one of the largest contributing factors to the Sixth Mass Extinction and if we do not act now, we risk losing the valuable biodiversity which plays a pivotal role in the complex web of life on Earth.
But we can slow both climate and ecological breakdown by diverting away from the “business-as-usual” approach that we have become so accustomed to in the modern world.
In the midst of the #ExtinctionRebellion peaceful protests taking place across the globe, particularly in London right now, you may be wondering what you can do to fulfil your role in saving our dying planet.
Maybe you’ve already cut back on your meat and fish consumption, you’ve shrunk your carbon footprint and you’ve gone pretty much plastic-free, but what else can you do to join the fight to save our world? (If you haven’t done any of these things, they’re a great place to start).
As George Monbiot recently said when asked about climate breakdown, “we have to overthrow this system that is eating our planet with perpetual growth … We’ve got to go straight to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it.”.
But how exactly does the average person make enough noise that the people who have the power to make change listen?
Here’s 5 ways you can make even more difference for our planet.
Eco-labels identify products that have been produced with energy efficiency, waste minimisation and product stewardship in mind – typically, they are a more ethical option than their counterparts.
Eco-labels are an easy way to identify products made with sustainability in-mind and that are often also more socially just; however, some eco-labels have faced criticism due to misleading claims in a bid to sell more products, which is worth bearing in-mind when doing your research.
There’s a plethora of eco-labels registered in the UK, but the ones you’re probably more used to seeing include Fairtrade, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Rainforest Alliance, to name but a few.
Use Your Voting Power
Governmental indifferences is one of the largest obstacles in the path to making real difference against climate change. When voting in elections do your research into which candidates incorporate the most sustainability-focused rhetoric into their manifestos
Governments are easily one of the most influential groups of people who have the power to implement policies and regulations that will mitigate against the worst impacts of climate change. The more politicians we have in power that are in support of climate control and ecological restoration, the better.
Make Change with Your Wallet
Money talks. Everyday there are new brands launching - from small start-ups to transnational corporations - that are fighting for the money in your wallet. As a consumer you have the purchasing power to decide where your money goes, and where you spend that purchasing power is integral to businesses in an increasingly saturated market. Brands track your spending habits, so by shopping for more sustainable options you are fuelling the demand for more eco-conscious products.
Switch Your Energy Provider
Switching to a green energy supplier has never been easier – especially as many of the energy giants are diversifying their portfolios to incorporate more sustainable energy sources like wind. Choice of green energy provider is growing, with more than 10 green energy suppliers now available in the UK with other providers offering renewable tariffs.
Interested in learning which provider is right for you? Take a look at this article from Which? that discriminates the differences between the providers.
Take Part in Activism
Inspired by the recent #ExtinctionRebellion protests sweeping across the globe? You too can become a part of the movement to demand change, whether that’s by joining the existing #ExtinctionRebellion or starting up your own protest in aid of an environmental cause dear to your heart.
If you’re unable to join protests due to other life commitments, there are also lots of ways to get your voice heard that don’t involve physically protesting too.
Signing petitions and lobbying big businesses on social media (the recent #pointlessplastic Twitter campaign is a great example of this) are incredibly effective ways of demanding environmental change. Raising awareness and improving educational outreach is integral too, and the random conversations you have on the bus or whilst waiting in a line are often the most impactful.