Climate change is a naturally occurring phenomenon but we humans are causing a sharp and dangerous increase in greenhouse gases and carbon emissions that has potentially catastrophic consequences for us all.
Many believe we are past the so-called ‘tipping point’ and there isn’t much we can to reverse the increase in global temperatures, but we can start to make radical shifts in our attitudes in order to get some balance, so that Mother Earth has the space to start recovering. It will take both large and small contributions to this beautiful planet in order for things to start shifting, but we can do it.
In response to the ever-present warnings from all kinds of scientific organisations about the dangers we and our environment will soon be facing, besides burying our heads in the sand, a feeling of helplessness mostly pervades. Although we may all feel somewhat helpless, it is important to know that we all matter, we all have a role to play in helping to heal the Earth and we DO have the power to make changes – in big and small ways; internally and externally. We may not see the contributions we make have any effect today, or even in our lifetime, but it will benefit those that come after us.
Here we gather some helpful tips and ideas on what we can all do individually and collectively. Check this article in the New Yorker for a download on what is currently happening globally, and the BBC just put out an interesting report. It requires a radical shift in consciousness for us all to heal – from an “it’s not my place” attitude, to “we all have to do this”.
Some helpful hints below, please read and see how you can make a contribution, it doesn’t matter how small – it all helps! If you have any to add, please join the discussion in the comments section!
“The outside world directly reflects what is happening inside. We cannot make changes in the world from a place that is not full of love. We must first love ourselves – every single part – and forgive ourselves and others before we can really make a change. When we come from love things happen almost on their own.” – Kim Booth
Say no to palm oil:
Palm oil is an ingredient in almost half the products on our supermarket shelves and to keep up with this demand the forests are being destroyed for it… If you’ve read any articles in relation to palm oil, you’ve no doubt seen some horror stories. Due to the amount of oil that each palm can produce and the low costs involved in growing it, there has been an increase in cultivation of these palms. However they aren’t being grown in open spaces.
Forests within Indonesia and Malaysia are the main places where palm oil is produced (around 86%). These forests are being destroyed at an alarming rate so that oil palms can be grown in their place. So, by destroying the rainforest to grow these plantations, they are in turn destroying the natural habitat in which a diversity of wildlife and plants thrive and grow.
If you google images of palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia, you’ll see the extent to which the palm trees cover the land. From 1990 to 2010, 8.7 million acres of rainforest in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea were cleared for palm plantations (Ethical Consumer, 2016)
Read more here
Less meat and fish:
“Cutting out meat from your diet and relying on plant-based food is reportedly the best thing you can do for the planet for many reasons. If that is too much to do all at once, how about cutting out, or limiting, fish and seafood (sustainable or not): A major cause of sea pollution is fishing nets, as well as fishing hooks and lines – I’ve seen first-hand how discarded fishing net can become enmeshed into the reef and its coral and wildlife, affecting the natural habitats of the sea life around it. Nets, lines and hooks can become wrapped around marine wildlife such as turtles and seals, causing horrible injuries and great suffering. Approximately 308,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises drown every year from being entangled in fishing gear (International Whaling Commision). By not eating fish or by cutting down your consumption of it you are supporting the ocean wildlife.” - Lydia Laws
According to The Guardian – ‘Avoiding meat and dairy is the ‘single biggest way´to reduce your impact on Earth.
Read, research, digest and utilise:
“There is a ton of information out there on how to make small changes to your lifestyle. Lots to sift through but focus on what you are willing to do – then explore that and work out what you can realistically manage or cope with and start there. Small incremental changes will help you to contribute to this seemingly overwhelming battle to stem the long-term damage caused by accelerated climate change. Be aware that we all need to make changes in order to move forward with this, so you have to show a willingness to do something, anything… no matter how small it feels.” – Marcus Barnes
Solar panels, wind energy:
“We have all we need for free. It’s kind of crazy that we use all of these fossil fuels to give us energy when we have all from nature. Switch to an energy supplier that utilises renewable energy. There are loads out there now, check what your local options are.” – KB
Message your local MPs.
“Right now the state of politics is not focused on Earth and healing. Some are waking up and I can’t wait to be inspired by words of those in power. I would love to see a new age of politicians, like Bolan Slatt and his amazing Ocean Clean Up project, take over with new radical ideas and massive shifts in perspective and an essence to help heal the planet we live on. But yes, message your MPs with visions for your local community and what you would like to see happen.” – KB
Pick a cause (or two) to focus on:
“It can be so easy to feel overwhelmed by all the different reports about what we should do, or what is right or wrong, or what we should be focussing on – what about picking a couple of things that you feel passionate about or that you feel you can control within your own circle. Whether it’s boycotting products containing non-sustainable palm oil… ditching single use plastics… concentrating on energy conservation or prioritising locally-produced food and goods.” – LL
“As Lydia said, focus on one or two smalls things to begin with. Something as simple as turning off your power switches at night can save so much energy, especially if we all do it. Humans seem to think the energy sources we use are infinite, but they’re not. We’re running out of fossil fuels, that’s why the Government are now sanctioning fracking companies to carry out their dangerous, environmentally homicidal activity. It sounds feeble, “turn off your power switches at night”, but again, it has to start somewhere right? There aren’t many people out there willing to set a curfew on themselves and stop using electricity after 9pm, for example, but perhaps switching everything off for a few hours every night while you’re asleep is a tiny, but important way to start. Things similar to this include; using Uber Pool instead of solo journeys, walking or running to work, using a bike, taking the train for long distance journeys instead of a plane… Friends Of The Earth made this useful list: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/50_climate_top_tips.pdf” - MB
Switch from single use coffee cups to a reusable one made without plastic:
“We go through 2.5 billion single use coffee cups a year in the UK! You can get great biodegradable coffee cups made from rice husks now too (check out Husk Up) to take to your favourite coffee shop, where you will usually get a discount on price as well.” – LL
Buy ethical and/ or second hand clothing:
”’We now consume 60% more garments than we did in 2000. By 2050 we will need three times the amount of resources.’ – Lucy Siegle. This is a stunning statistic. We can be governed by celebrities and photos of them wearing something to make us feel we need / want, which tap into unconscious desires (a great podcasts to listen/watch is The century of the Self – it explains how PR was invented and one of the most fascinating aspects was how Edward Bernays (Freud’s nephew) got more women to smoke). Buy ethical and handmade; materials that support individuals and communities. Buy second hand – not only is this a unique and fun way of buying clothes, but you are also somehow helping this statistic come down. And maybe you don’t really need that fourth black top. ” - KB
“Not only are you supporting your local economy and receiving nourishing foods from the land you live on in the time of season they are meant to be eaten, but you are also reducing emissions from transport of foods. And a local farmers market is a great meet up place with friends. I recently watched the Economics of Happiness and there are some great reasons on why to shop locally.” – KB
Avoid Monsanto and GMO products
“It is becoming more known how bad Monsanto and their chemical sprayed genetically modified crops are not only for the environment but also our health. Recently Monsanto was successfully sued by a terminally ill man for $289 million dollars.”
Don’t take krill oil supplements:
“There is no need for us to be taking krill oil as an Omega 3 supplement. We can get sufficient omega 3 from linseed/flaxseed oil (you can also buy this in vegan-friendly capsule form from supermarkets or health food shops if you still prefer supplements). Krill are part of the base of the ocean food chain with everything from penguins, tuna, whales etc relying on them for food.” - LL
Awareness – question everything:
“It all begins with awareness of what needs to change. Actions create change. Firstly question within – What do I desire? What do I need? What makes me happy? And then start outside – What is in my food? Where does it come from? What is in my cleaning products? Where do my clothes come from? I always use the ‘two for one’ analogy. Growing up with scarcity mentality, my brain was trained to go for what’s on offer 2-4-1 in the supermarket. But actually, I can change this – what’s in it? Do I need it? What other choices can I make?” – KB
Raising awareness with others:
“Simply talking to people and asking them what they’re doing (in a non-confrontational way) is a good start. It may not feel like you’re doing anything, but all action starts with an idea, and a conversation. You may get inspiration from someone, or find out about a group that’s doing something in line with things you’re thinking about yourself. In order to manifest our ideas, we need to discuss them – and in order for everyone to start taking affirmative action then we need to make everyone aware of the dire circumstances that are upon us. Yes, it’s pretty gloomy news but ignoring it or burying our heads in the sand is not going to help. Speak to friends, relatives, colleagues at work, your neighbours, even randoms in clubs or yoga class, wherever… this movement starts with communication and awareness.” - MB
Stay positive and encourage discussions about affirmative action:
“Be proud about any changes you make, or environment-friendly actions you take. Recent reports have been hard to read – but it’s easy to let this get into our heads and to feel disheartened and helpless. We have so much power as individuals to make changes from the bottom up!” - LL
Get out there and join some groups:
“The sheer amount of groups out there trying to raise awareness and lobby for change in policy is actually pretty astounding. So many communities and associations that you’ve probably never heard of are working together to save our planet. Here’s a couple to get you started: https://citizensclimatelobby.uk and https://www.facebook.com/ExtinctionRebellion are doing some amazing work – they recently blocked five of London’s main bridges in a peaceful, but very disruptive protest.” - MB
Make a pledge and commit to making a change:
“Nobody wants this planet to end up in the mess it’s predicted to, so we all really need to take a look at our lifestyles and pledge to implement change. Gather a few loved ones together for an intimate evening, discuss the issues we’re facing and make a heartfelt commitment to work with one another to start taking affirmative action. Make yourselves accountable to one another, support and encourage each other, instil hope and optimism in one another – remember that every tiny little commitment, every seemingly fruitless change will make a difference.” - MB
“I was first introduced to these in Nicaragua, working in an eco community called Inanitah. We would very simply cut up all our plastic and put it inside bottles, ready to be used to make building structures. This formula is easy to translate into the outside world.” – KB
Check: Eco Bricks
“‘Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Be still. Don’t rush. Relax. Come from a balanced and centred self. Take care of yourself. Patience is not one of my top qualities. We live in a very fast paced society where we can get what we want when we want. Why grow vegetables when I can buy them? Why cook my own food when I can get it pre-packaged or delivered? Why get a train or a bus when I can get a taxi? It’s about the journey, not the destination. Slowing down and patience can really allow us to see where we are in this process.” – KB
“Go inside yourself and know yourself. How do you breathe? How you breathe is how you live. Short and fast, deep and slow? When we honour ourselves we honour the Earth, when we honour the Earth we honour ourselves.” – KB
Give back more than you take:
“Plant a tree. Think generations ahead and what can you give now that will maybe not even grow until you have passed from this dimension into another.” – KB
Use a bamboo toothbrush:
“Like this – https://brushwithbamboo.com - organic and eco friendly.” – KB
“Alchemise your food waste to make your own fertiliser for the earth! Give back your vegetable and fruit peels, egg shells (the only animal product can use), leaves, coffee grounds back to the earth… Check the video below and get nerdy people:
Reuse / recycle / upcycle – work towards zero waste:
“Re-use jars for your packaging. Do your shopping in shops that use less plastic (50% of items in recycling bins are not recycled)– maybe even take your own jars to fill up by weight. A beginners guide to working towards zero waste is below. Check the below video and watch this video on ZERO waste.
“Beach clean. Park clean. Woodland clean. Clean the mess in nature that you didn’t leave and feel happy about it. I have a three fag but rule on beaches now (you wouldn’t believe how many there are) and take away at least three. If you’re going for a walk in nature, pick up those cans and wrappers. When I was little, I used to enjoy picking shells of the beach. Recently I saw a mother and her little daughter picking plastic off the beach – it was both beautiful and sad at the same time.” – KB
“First by awareness of our own actions and accountability for our own actions and also for clearing up the mess that has been created before us. We are the ones that have come here to clean things up.” – KB
End note from Marcus Barnes…
I have to say that I do believe that drastic lifestyle changes will soon be thrust upon us from on high if the Governments of the world really take heed of the reports that have been publicised recently. So we’d better start making changes ourselves and getting comfortable with the idea that our creature comforts will soon be no more. It’s better to suffer now through personal choice and hopefully get used to a change in lifestyle that we’ve chosen, than to be confronted with the disastrous outcome that is being predicted at the moment. We have passed the tipping point, anything we do now is damage limitation… What are you going to start doing today to make a difference?….
Thank you to Marcus Barner, Lydia Laws, Ulrike Schoenfeld and Clovis for their input and inspiration!