This page contains information and links about things we can each of us do to reduce our carbon footprint and promote sustainability.
“Where there is action, there is hope” Greta Thunberg
There is no time to waste; 2020 will be a key turning point for our planet.
We need urgent and ambitious action at every level: international, national, community and individual.
There is so much to do! It can be overwhelming, but here are 7 steps you can take to help fight the climate crisis…
1. Get informed – and share information
Knowledge is power! Try to learn more about what is causing climate change and environmental breakdown.
Climate Action Lewisham is compiling a growing list of resources and links to articles, videos, podcasts, statistics etc.
Feel free to let us know of any good resources or events you know of and we’ll try to add them to our list. Our email address is climateactionlewisham[AT]gmail.com
2. Get Politically Involved
Add your voice! – sign petitions, join demonstrations, write to businesses, use your purchasing power to support companies that are making good environmental choices.
We need huge shifts in government policy. Contact your local and national representatives to let them know your concerns and support the efforts they are making. Join or donate to an organization that is dedicated to clean energy, better transportation, conservation, sustainability, and fighting climate change.
Climate Action Lewisham is a group of local residents that want to collectively support and generate initiatives to support carbon reduction, sustainability and healthy neighbourhoods.
3. Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
You can reduce your carbon footprint by improving your insulation, replacing an inefficient boiler or fitting energy efficient windows.
A home energy assessment can help to identify what you can do; here in Lewisham check out programs available through Southeast London Cooperative Energy (SELCE)
- Switch to Renewables (see our comparison chart)
- Improve insulation in your ceiling, walls, windows and floors
- Upgrade to efficient appliances, starting with your boiler (see if you qualify for grants) and fridge/freezer. Fridge/freezers use up to 15% of all electricity in the average home; the current A++ rating often uses just 20% of the electricity of A rated fridges from 10 years ago.
- Switch to LED lightbulbs which use only 10% of the electricity of an equivalent wattage filament light bulb.
- Install solar panels or support community energy projects.
4. Eat Sustainably
Greenhouse gas emissions are produced by growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, cooking and disposing of the food we eat.
Globally, agriculture is believed to be responsible for 25% of CO2, 65% of methane and 90% of nitrous oxide emitted.
Ways to reduce your “carbon foodprint”:
- Plant-Based Diet: 51% or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. One of the biggest ways we can help combat climate change is to stop eating meat (especially beef), eggs, and dairy products.
- Reduce food waste: If global food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S.
- Reduce food miles: Buy food that is sourced as locally as possible. Grow your own food or source produce from organic farms that look after wildlife.
And remember: every journey starts with the first step. You can start by just cutting down on meat and dairy products, e.g. ‘Meat Free Monday’.
5. Travel Smarter
- Keep Flying to an absolute minimum. Because it is so energy-intensive, there is no other human activity that emits as much over such a short period of time as flying. Just one return flight from London to New York produces a greater carbon footprint than a whole year’s personal allowance needed to keep the climate safe. Hold virtual meetings, holiday in local destinations and use trains instead of planes.
- Use public transport whenever possible, especially for local journeys
- Walk or cycle whenever possible–it’s emission-free! Locally, check out ‘Lewisham Cyclists’, part of the London Cycling Campaign.
- Join a car-sharing scheme such as Zipcar, Ubeeqo etc. These can save hundreds of pounds a year if you don’t use your car very often. Also consider informal arrangements with friends.
6. Buy Less, Shop Smarter, Dispose Sensibly
- Support companies driven by sustainability and committed to transparency.
- Shop smarter with thoughtful purchasing to minimize waste
- Consider reused and pre-loved items – charity shops, Ebay etc
- Avoid online shopping for multiple unwanted items
- Minimise packaging, especially plastic
- Repair or Reuse (upcycle!) broken items rather than replace straight away
- Join groups such as Freecycle and Freegle to get rid of unwanted stuff
- Donate unwanted stuff to charity shops. Join with friends/neighbours to coordinate a journey to donate
- Check what can actually be recycled at your kerbside, and find out where other materials can be recycled. Batteries, paint, clothes, shoes etc
7. Divest from Fossil Fuels & Invest Ethically
Remove your money from banks that invest in the fossil fuel industry.
If you have investments or a pension, see if you can move these to clean energy companies instead. The fossil fuel industry is on its way out so doesn’t represent a good investment in any case!
Here in the UK, Triodos Bank offers a full current account as well as other green/ethical investment opportunities, such as ISAs and pensions.
And don’t forget to encourage your university, your workplace or organization to move their funds out of fossil fuel industries.