Worried about the climate? Small local actions with neighbours, local businesses and politicians can make a difference. Here are 10 examples to get you started
From sharing leftover food to swapping clothes, taking part in citizen science projects to reducing traffic pollution, there’s plenty to do to help your local environment. And there are lots of national campaigns that can give you more ideas and link you up with other people and groups across the UK. For example, Great Big Green Week in September or Plastic Free July. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
1. Count the birds and the bees
Photo by Yasin Hoşgör
There are lots of citizen science projects to take part in. It’s a fun group activity, and your data can help scientists better understand the impact of human behaviour on natural habitats.
2. Go litter picking
Photo by OCG Saving The Ocean
Essential to life on earth, soil and water are some of the most important resources on our planet. By organising regular litter picks in your area, you can prevent plastics and other non-biodegradable materials from polluting the land, from hedgerows to parks, beaches to waterways.
3. Share leftovers in a community fridge
Photo by Hannah Busing
The average UK family wastes eight meals weekly, and supermarkets frequently send surplus produce to landfill sites. Community fridges are a good, local solution to avoiding food waste by redistributing leftovers for free.
4. Host a climate and nature discussion
Photo by Antenna
Media headlines can be alarming when it comes to the climate and nature crisis or ignore the issues completely. Hosting a local discussion can allow space for reflection, debate, ideas and collaboration to take action on global issues at a local level.
If you’d like some inspiration, Greenpeace has a roster of speakers who can start the conversation.
5. Grow local to eat local
Planting more fruit and nut trees, edible plants and vegetables can create a local food supply and support insects. Eating locally can reduce carbon emitted by importing food from abroad.
6. Get involved in your local plan
Local plans set out how a borough will be developed. By engaging with your local authority, you can help influence the plan to include climate change mitigation, from improving public transport around the borough, asking for more green spaces to reduce urban heat, or improving waterways to reduce the risk of flooding.
Check out your local authority’s website for more information.
7. Set up a library of things
Internet shopping has made it too easy to buy new stuff at the click of a button. But where is it all going to end up? First it’ll clutter your house, then it’ll clutter the planet.
Setting up a library of things can encourage local people to share everything from tools to instruments, cooking gadgets to toys.
8. Swish for treasure
Every second, the equivalent of a rubbish truck load of clothes is burnt or buried in landfill, according to the Ellen McArthur Foundation.
Instead of buying new clothes, try swishing—an event where clothes are swapped. Better for the purse and earth. And try not to buy any polyester or man-made fabrics. Even recycled ones are made from fossil fuels.
9. Reclaim the streets
Reducing car pollution is one of the ways we can reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality. Contact your MP to ask for a permanent parklet on your street. Or apply to close your street for kids to play on the road safely for three hours a week.
Getting more people cycling is also a great way to reduce pollution. Start a community cycle club in your area to help people gain confidence. And talk to your council about making cycling safer in your area too. Cycling UK has existing data and campaigns.
10. Start a climate emergency centre
The climate and nature crisis isn’t going away. That’s why more and more climate emergency centres are popping up in derelict shops on high streets and in shopping centres.
A climate emergency centre can be a space for events such as an exhibition on plastic waste or a workshop to learn how to make eco-cleaning products. It can also be a way to mobilise more people to influence the council and local businesses to take action.
Read more: 9 Surprising things affected by climate change
Read more: Why climate activism needs to decolonise
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