10 things you can do NOW about the climate emergency
Everyone seems to be talking about climate change – from Greta Thunberg’s emotive speech to the United Nations in New York, to the Scottish Government voting for ‘net-zero’ emissions by 2045. It is clear that we are facing a climate emergency – but now what?
The scale of the challenge might feel daunting, but we can all be part of the solution. Here are our 10 ideas for things we could do now to help in the fight against climate change. What will you do?
1. Stay informed
Learn about climate change and its impacts from experts like the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Met Office, and Keep Scotland Beautiful. At Greener Kirkcaldy, we also follow policy organisations, networks and campaigning groups including the Committee on Climate Change, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and Friends of the Earth Scotland.
2. Get involved!
Join a local community group taking action on climate change – if you live in the Kirkcaldy area, you could join Greener Kirkcaldy. If you are further afield, you can search for your local group on the Scottish Communities Climate Action Network or the Transition Network websites. Groups like these will bring you together with like-minded people and they can be great fun. They run events and there are usually opportunities to volunteer.
Greener Kirkcaldy is about to start a monthly Climate Café – a free, welcoming event to bring people together and inspire sustainable living. We’ll have guest speakers, films and discussions. All are welcome.
3. Be political
Speak to your MP, MSPs and Councillors, and tell them how you feel about the climate emergency. It is their job to represent us – but they need to know what our priorities are. You can find out who your elected representatives are, and how to contact them, on www.parliament.uk, www.parliament.scot and www.fifedirect.org.uk.
4. Find out what your personal carbon footprint is
We like this simple footprinting tool from WWF. It helps you see what your footprint is (in tonnes of carbon dioxide), compares it to the UK and world averages, and helps you find ways to reduce your impact. Our next few actions focus on the main components of most of our carbon footprints.
5. Take action: home energy
Is your home well insulated, cosy and inexpensive to run? If so, great! And for everyone else – there is still time to get your home energy use under control before winter. There is the excellent Home Energy Scotland website and telephone advice service, or if you prefer face-to-face advice, you could book a home visit from our own Cosy Kingdom team. Both are free and give impartial advice.
6. Take action: food
The sustainability of food is complicated. As ethical consumers, we try to support local producers, avoid plastic packaging and reduce food waste, all the while trying to keep our families healthy and happy. The evidence is clear though – if we want to help tackle climate change, one of the most effective actions we can take is to reduce meat and dairy.
7. Take action: transport
Travel is often one of the biggest parts of our carbon footprints. We encourage you to walk or cycle for short journeys, if you can – it’s great for your health and well-being too. And think twice when you are planning your next holiday – a ‘staycation’ or a holiday nearer home can make a big saving on your carbon footprint. Our volunteer blogger Bryan wrote a great post on staycations last year.
8. Buy less stuff
Everything we buy has an impact on the environment – from the production of the raw materials through to its eventual disposal. Do we really need all that stuff? Could you repair, or reuse, something instead? When you do shop, try to find eco-friendly products or ‘pre-loved’ items. We also like Martin Lewis’s money-saving mantras for some motivation to spend less.
9. Support climate action
Join, or donate to, a campaigning organisation or charity that makes climate change a priority. Groups like Friends of the Earth, WWF and others urge governments to take action. Local charities like Greener Kirkcaldy work in their communities to tackle climate change, social justice and regeneration. They all do essential work.
10. Spread the word
Talk to your friends, family and colleagues about climate change, and encourage them to take action too. Don’t be afraid to speak up – we are facing a climate emergency!
Now tell us your ideas