A Changing World - What can I do?

What is climate change, anyway? 

Polar Bears International is the only organization dedicated solely to wild polar bears.  They know all about polar bears--their habits, their ecology, their threats - and they have a lot of helpful information on climate change. Their definition runs as follows:

A warming world acts like a performance-enhancing drug on the global climate system, making extreme events more likely and more damaging.

Wildfires are getting angrier and more ferocious - you just have to look at Australia, the Amazon, Indonesia, Greece, Siberia - the list goes on and on.  High winds and flooding are extreme, destroying the lives and livelihoods of all living beings. 

Find out about climate change from Polar Bears International
Find out about Climate Change from Polar Bears International
©Dan Bolton

Wildfires aren’t new, nor is flooding.  If you look at the Amazon, there always are wildfires.  But last year, there 85% more wildfires than usual.  Those fighting the fires in Australia (who have been doing it for a very long time) say they have never known fires like it - they are on another scale altogether.  

Our climate has always changed, of course it has – and it’s changing faster now than ever before.  And human activities are disturbing and destroying nature.  The creation of the HS2 railway in the UK will destroy ancient woodland.  It cannot be replaced - it has take centuries to grow.   This is all devastating our natural world.  So what can each of us do to help?

Climate Change – what can I do?

There are plenty of possible actions we can all take. 

The problem is that they aren’t always practical or possible for each of us to carry out.  Some people can easily reduce the car journeys they do and walk or take public transport or cycle instead.  But for others, it’s impossible, perhaps because of where they live and where they need to get to or because of their own personal situation. 

And the choice of things you can do can be utterly overwhelming – you ask yourself, where do I start?  

So here’s a quick plan to help you decide

what you could do and what action you will take,

something that will work for you and your life,

and not because it’s "on a list".

1. What impact do you have on the planet at the moment?

Work out what you are doing that takes impacts on the planet and you'll be better placed to work out how you can lessen that impact.

So start investigating your own lifestyle and your own daily habits.  What are you doing NOW that impacts on the planet?  Look at a footprint calculator and find out what your footprint is.  Calculators may cover things such as your lifestyle, your home and garden, your travel around every year etc. 

2. What actions COULD you take to reduce that impact?

Many carbon calculators will give you suggestions of how you can lessen your impact.  At this point you could:

  • Pick things from their list and identify what you’re going to do from it
  • Think about other ways you can change the situation which will work for you
  • Research other ways to reduce your impact and then come up with your own list of possibilities e.g. walk, take the bus or offer a car share service with other people from my village to the station. 

Ideas such as car sharing may not work every day – but if it works once or twice a week, that’s got to be better than nothing.

Live Green from the National Trust for Scotland
Live Green
52 Steps for a more Sustainable Life
from the National Trust for Scotland

3. What actions WILL you take?

  • Identify which actions are you going to commit to.  What are you most likely to stick to?  What other benefits could there be to you personally to committing to a change?  Who else will benefit? 
  • Get started and take action straight away
  • And if you fall of doing it (i.e. forget to do it), don’t berate yourself.  It takes 21 days to change a habit, and there are bound to be lapses.  Forgive yourself and just try again. 

Last year, I gave up chocolate.  It wasn't difficult - I actually started becuase I HAD to get into this dress for a special occasion and giving up chocolate made all the difference.   But one of the things which really drove me on was the impact our demand for  chocolate has on the planet - our demand for palm oil which is found in most chocolate.  I got into the dress I needed to - but most importantly the change of habit gave me a new mindset.  Now when I see a bar, I see orangutans up a tree which is about to be cut down.  All for a bar of chocolate.  And I don't eat much meat anymore - I can see rainforest being bulldozed to make way for the cattle ranching industry which leaves animals in rainforests without a home.

Getting others on board…

You don’t have to bang the climate change drum and annoy people who don’t believe in it and/or don’t care.  Be the change you want to see in the world, as Gandhi said. 

Do something for a cause you believe in, and it can give you a purpose in life that gives you an extra spring in your step during the day, or when you get up in the morning.  And that will produce a change in you and your self-belief that you are empowering yourself to take action.  It’s that change in you may well inspire others to take action. 

Give yourself the power of action.   Drive change.

Give your garden wildlife attracting flowers and plants

Give your garden wildlife attracting flowers and plants
You don't need a big garden to make a difference.