As you might have guessed from our latest website design, at Walkgrove lots of us are pretty wild about the natural world! Through our commitment to the United Nations Global Compact, Walkgrove aims to promote international human rights and environmental protection through all our activities, including “undertaking initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility” (Principle 8).
I create promotional content and learning solutions for Walkgrove as part of the marketing and instructional design teams, but outside of my learning “life” I am also a passionate environmentalist and charity worker. It is deeply fulfilling to work for a business who puts ethics so high on the corporate agenda, and recognises the role of corporate action in addressing global issues. In this blog, I’m pleased to share with you our practical tips for solving today’s most critical environmental issue…
Nature is in trouble. Millions of people are suffering the effects of extreme weather-related events exacerbated by climate breakdown. Leading climate scientists have warned that there are less than 12 years to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty will worsen. Human activity is also threatening one million animal and plant species with extinction.
To avoid catastrophe, we need “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Climate crisis is the biggest threat humanity has faced. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However… there is hope!
What can we do?
On Friday 20th September, millions of people will be taking to the streets to demand urgent climate action, as part of a Global Climate Strike led by thousands of young people who have been inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg. Walkgrove is proud to support this global day of awareness-raising.
The IPCC and climate experts are calling for action by governments, political leaders and businesses, but there is still a role for us all to play as individuals. Here we offer five practical steps you can take to help avoid climate breakdown.
1. Avoid food waste, meat and dairy
Food choices are very personal, but the evidence is now unequivocal – we need to change the way we eat if we are to have a sustainable future. A huge amount of greenhouse gas is produced from the food we throw away, so avoiding food waste is important. And according to the most comprehensive analysis to date of the impacts of agriculture on the environment, avoiding meat, eggs and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet.
The findings showed that meat and other animal products are responsible for more than half of food-related greenhouse gas emissions, despite providing only a fifth of the calories we eat and drink. This is due primarily to gas emissions from the animals themselves as well as mass deforestation for grazing and animal feed production.
Want to move towards a plant-based diet? Viva! offers a handy guide.
2. Stay grounded and reclaim the streets
Choosing to walk, cycle or use public transport instead of driving a car is one of the best ways we can reduce our individual environmental footprint through day-to-day actions.
While 80% of the world’s population will never get on a plane, flying is something Westerners need to do much less, or give up entirely. In terms of individual impact, taking a flight, because of the amount of fuel used, can cause more harm to the planet than anything else you are likely to do.
But can a single individual really make a difference? Apparently, yes. Social scientists have found that one when person chooses a sustainability-oriented decision, others do too. So one person’s transport choices can have social knock-on effects.
Want to enjoy climate-friendly journeys? Learn about the slow travel movement.
3. Go green and get cosy
Phasing out the use of fossil fuels such as oil, carbon and natural gas and replacing them with renewable and cleaner sources of energy is at the heart of fighting global warming. By choosing a renewable energy supply and installing solar panels, you can support the transition to sustainable energy and reduce your fossil fuel use. Studies show that insulating your loft, and draft-proofing doors and windows would also create a big drop in energy consumption.
Find out how to save energy at home with the Energy Saving Trust.
4. Consume less, reuse more
The evidence is in: consumerism is killing the planet. From food to clothes, accessories and gadgets, research shows that household consumption and our love of buying ‘stuff’ in the West is a huge driver of climate breakdown. We can counter this in our day to day lives and contribute to lower energy use in production, transport and waste disposal simply by buying fewer things and consuming less. Remember to reuse the things you own and recycle the things you want to get rid of wherever possible.
Find out how to buy in to the no-buy movement.
5. Raise your voice
Individual actions and choices are important, but in order for a massive systemic shift towards sustainable energy and transport, we need political will.
Experts in social change say that people need to speak out and unite if the challenge of climate emergency is going to be met. This will create the political demand and opportunity for big businesses and politicians to make the changes needed.
What does using your voice look like? It means talking to friends, family and colleagues about the climate crisis, voting for representatives who are committed to environmental action, writing to your elected officials in favour of urgent environmental action, and joining existing movements and groups that push for wide-scale changes like public transport projects or fossil fuel divestment.
Get inspired to raise your voice for the planet with these tips from climate campaigners.