Are you feeling the February climate blues? Here are some simple things YOU can do to make a change!

It is February, the days are short, the weather is cold and wet, and all we hear is news of Brexit. But never far from the forefronts of the mind of those of us with an environmental ethic is the growing fear of climate change. It is for this reason that we now have youngsters demonstrating in the streets of many major cities, its why we have increasingly desperate action from the Extinction Rebellion. With each coming week, we hear ever more alarming stories of rapidly disintegrating glaciers, temperature records being set and levels of CO2 going through the roof.

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Feb 08, 2019
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We live in anxious times but it is easy to forget that solutions do still exist and that hope is still present on the horizon. But what can we all do as individuals instantly to make a difference? What small measures can we take today to make a change? Here are my thoughts:

1. Change your search engine to one that makes a difference:

Did you know that there is an internet search engine (ecosia.org) set up to donate 80% of its profits from your web searches to plant trees? Their servers also run on 100% renewable energy. Change your default search engine on your PC, laptop and phone. Why not persuade your employer to do the same?

2. Alter what you eat:

What we eat matters. The more meat you eat and the bigger the food miles in your food the more greenhouse gases are produced. Not everyone wants to become a vegan, but we can all cut down on the quantity of meat and fish we eat, it’s also possible to buy more local food that creates less ‘food miles’. If you’re going to grab a sandwich at lunch today make sure it’s the Vege option you choose. Vegetarian food in restaurants has also got so much better, why not eat Vege every time you go out for food? If you really want to eat meat, makes sure its local and organic.

3. Buy someone a gift that makes a difference:

Consumerism is killing our world and drowning it in plastic, make your purchases count for the environment not against it. Why not say goodbye to the same old birthday or seasonal gifts (remember its valentines day next week). Why not pay for a tree to be planted on someone’s behalf by the likes of the Woodland Trust? Or donate some funds to a charity such as us here at Project Seagrass that are taking action to conserve habitats vital for storing carbon dioxide. Project Seagrass and will soon be launching a new initiative called 'adopt a plot' (watch this space)?

4. How you spend your money can make a small but direct impact:

Some big companies offer schemes that allow the donation to a charity of your choice, in this case, an environmental charity concerned with factors associated with climate change. Whilst many people have highlighted the contradictions and concerns associated to huge companies creating charitablehttps://rebellion.earth/donation schemes, if you are going to use companies such as Amazon to buy your goods, at least make sure they donate some money to an environmental charity on your behalf as you do so. Take a look at ‘GiveAsYouLive’ and register to send these corporate donations related to your purchases to a charity making a difference for conservation such as Project Seagrass.

5. Change your electricity to renewable:

Changing your electricity and gas companies to renewable is increasingly easy and there’s a whole range of suppliers competitively after your business. Many Green tariffs are highly competitive with non-renewable energy. Use the price comparisons websites to get a good renewable deal. You might even save yourself some money.

6. Check your tyres on the way home:

We all need to work on greening our commute but when you are using your car there’s a few simple things that you can do to make a big difference to the fuel you consume. Under-inflated tyres could be costing drivers 10% more in additional fuel. You can also choose Eco-Tyres on your next service that also increases efficiency. Read more here.

7. Green your run or your beach walk:

We’re increasingly seeing rubbish collection initiatives aligned to some of our favourite outdoor activities. The Marine Conservation Society (another great organisation to donate funds to) has set up an excellent ‘2-minute beach clean’ that gets people visiting the seaside to take home more rubbish than they brought with them. Plogging is the latest running craze, essentially collecting rubbish while out running. Its easy to run with a plastic bag or backpack and pick up rubbish along the road as you go. To make its simple I favour targeting specific types of rubbish (e.g. plastic bottles or cans) on each run so that it goes straight into the recycling bin at home afterwards.

8. Consume less and waste less:

I could not create a list like this without stating the obvious and saying Reuse, Upcycle, Recycle and consume less. It is a simple fact that we use too much. Why not think about sharing things with others, making and fixing things, or start upcycling and repurposing. There is so much that can be done without buying something new from the next supermarket.

9. Join a local wildlife charity and get involved:

Many local environmental charities need your help daily, to help plant trees (or even seagrass), to control invasive species, to help with data collection, to repair river banks, to collect rubbish and to manage woodlands. The list goes on. Why not get involved and spend a day month helping actively to conserve our natural environment. For those ready to get involved with protest why not take a look at the Extinction Rebellion.

10. Follow these 9 things to reduce your plastic: 

Our world is increasingly full of plastic. If there is one thing as an individual, you can do to help project our world then its to take a serious look at the advice for how you can reduce your plastic use.  Take a read here.

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Richard Unsworth

Lecturer in Marine Biology, Swansea University

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