What Can I do About the Climate Emergency?

By EssentialsMAG environment contributor Rob Renouf

In recent months we’ve had plenty of news about climate change, plastic pollution and loss of biodiversity. In May the UK Parliament followed Wales in declaring a climate emergency

If you’re concerned, you’re not alone - in a recent poll, 87% of people said climate change was an important issue. However, whilst wanting to do something, many were unsure about how they could help. Finding out what’s going on locally or what we can do as individuals isn’t always easy, so I’m going to see if I can assist. In future editions I’ll focus on specific issues, but I’m going to start with a couple of general points.

Every little helps - in the face of such massive problems it can feel like anything we do is just a gesture that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface. I’d argue against this - picture a set of balance scales with the problem on one side and the solution on the other - every positive action adds a little weight to the solution side. The scales might not move yet, but if we keep adding to the solution side, then eventually they’ll tip. If individual actions had no impact, we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in.

Here’s an example - if each of the 13,600 homes that get EssentialsMAG eliminated just one item of plastic waste per week, then in a year that would total over 700,000 items. I don’t think I’m sticking my neck out too far in suggesting we could do that pretty easily, and if we managed five items a week per household that would be 3.5 million between us! Whilst this alone won’t solve the climate crisis, it illustrates how small actions quickly add up.

It’s not a competition - it would probably come as no surprise to learn that Mo Farah can run faster than me. The flipside is that I’ve probably got more chance of knocking ten seconds off my personal best for a mile than he does. Not being very green at present may offer greater opportunity to make positive changes. We’re all starting from different positions and factors like our age, health and occupation combine with lifestyle choices to produce our environmental impact.

Some people will find particular changes easier to make than others, but there are many different ways in which we can all make a positive contribution.

EssentialsMAG environment contributor is Rob Renouf, robsrenouf@gmail.com

Victoria Lee