Wednesday, 18 August 2021

25 Ways to Take Climate Action After the IPCC Report

Climate news is incredibly overwhelming right now. All regions of the Earth are either burning or flooding right now, at rates we’ve never seen before. The IPCC report that came out last week only confirmed everything we already knew, but with all of that information in one place combined with the events of this year, it impresses the situation more urgently on us. We all need to be taking action in whatever capacity we can. Here are 25 things you could be doing to help tackle the climate crisis. These aren’t necessarily things that are accessible to everyone, but the point is to do whatever you can. Maybe pick 3-5 to know that you can do and commit to ensuring you do them. Many of the actions I have included on this list aren’t things that should be done once and forgotten about once you’ve given yourself a pat on the back. Make sure you’re continuously doing things and make that as easy for yourself to do (however that may be). The important thing is that we all do something.


 

1. Sign the Stop Cambo open letter (UK)

 

Oil giant Shell are currently trying to seek approval from the UK Government to build a new oil field off the coast of Shetland - as you might have guessed, the field would be called Cambo. These plans are currently going ahead, with apparent approval by the Government (despite claims of ignorance by the Prime Minister). It is expected to extract up to 170 million barrels of oil from 2025-2050. 2050 is the year the UK has pledged to be net carbon neutral. This proposal goes against all the environmental pledges the UK has made, including its signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015 and declaring a climate emergency in 2019. If Cambo went ahead, it would be catastrophic. 

 

Check out all the links in their linktree, which contains loads of information, resources, and ways to take action. These include the open letter, emailing representatives, and joining protests. 



2. Email your MPs

 

This one gets brought up all the time but honestly, if you have political representatives you need to be communicating with them. They are the ones with the potential for influence and to make larger impacts, let them know you want them to act and act now. Email them constantly, badger them, hold them to account and fill their inboxes. They should being doing more, they should be doing better – they need to be doing better.

 

If you’re not sure what to do or how to contact your MP, you can check out the websites Write to Them for their contact details (as well as those of your councilors), and They Work For You for their voting records and previous offices held.

 

3. Support the Stop Line 3 Campaign (USA)

 

Over the years there have been many, often and frustratingly successful, attempts to build new or expanded oil pipelines through indigenous lands in North America. You might have heard about the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines in this context? Well the new pipeline on the block is Line 3, which is proposed to run from the Alberta Tar Sands in Canada through to Wisconsin, USA. In the same vein as Cambo, we cannot be extracting any more fossil fuels. This needs to stop urgently – it needs to have stopped already. 

 

Head to their Instagram and campaign website for ways to get involved. 

 

4. Join Green New Deal Rising

 

Green New Deal Rising are a youth campaigning group aiming for the implementation of a Green New Deal in the UK. It’s aims are: to decarbonise, fast; jobs and a just transition; transform the economy; protect and restore; and to promote global justice. For more detail on all of these points and what they entail, they included detailed explanations on their website

 

Their strategies are to disrupt the political system, force politicians to choose a side (cough, Keir Starmer, cough) reach out into our communities, and to elect inspiring green new deal champions. They have already been doing this, with amazing work holding politicians like Nicola Sturgeon and Keir Starmer to account and challenging them directly in-person on issues such as Stop Cambo and the Green New Deal. 

 

It’s free to sign up and they have regular welcome calls to help get you involved. And you don’t have to be a young person to get involved with the campaign for a Green New Deal – have a look here for ways to get involved. 


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5. Donate to get Unite for Climate Action to COP26

 

Unite for Climate Action are a group of young people from Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, who have been either directly or indirectly affected climate change trying to get to COP26. These are the people we need at the decision-making table. They need to be at the heart of the discussions and to be leading the way in strategies to tackle this crisis. 

 

Unite for Climate Action are aiming to change whose voices are heard at COP26, as previously most young people at these international conferences have been from the Global North – not representative of the people who are most affected by the climate crisis. They are also starting a new educational series which I for one am looking forward to taking part in – knowledge is key to tackling the climate crisis! 

 

They need £70,000 to get to COP26. If you can please support them to get there.  

 

6. Turn up to protests in your local area

 

Direct action has been proven to work time and time again throughout the years with so many different causes. In fact I don’t think you can say any cause has achieved anything without the use of direct action, in whatever form. Protest and direction are crucial to tackling the climate crisis and ensuring governments listen. Countries like the UK claim to be democracies but fail to act when citizens call for change. We must make them listen and act. Join in wherever and however you can. 

 

Before Covid you would regularly see protests in city centres on all sorts of issues, particularly the climate crisis. These included the regular Friday school strikes started by Greta Thunberg. Now, they’re a bit rarer but still happening. Covid has still changed things – I would frequently turn up to protests before Covid but haven’t attended one since the pandemic as it’s a prospect that’s still pretty terrifying to me – even though I am hoping to be able to attend protests in a few months depending on case levels. If your mental health and capacity to other actions will be compromised through being around a large group of people, skip this and focus on other ways to make change. But still support protestors, stand up for the right to protest whenever it is under threat (as it is in many countries all over the world, including the UK), and attend whenever it is accessible for you to do so. 


 

7. Demand fashion brands sign the Bangladesh Accord

 

On 24th April 2013, the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed, killing +1,330 people and injuring over 2,500. It was the worst industrial disaster the fashion industry had ever experienced. In its aftermath, over 200 brands, along with several workers’ organisations and trade unions, signed the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The Accord is legally binding and ensures basic health and safety measures in garment factories in Bangladesh. It is huge and makes real impact on the welfare of garment workers. It is the bare minimum and it is also under threat. 

 

The Accord is due to expire on 31st August, and the progress we have seen since Rana Plaza could go down the drain. Workers’ rights and the environment are intrinsically linked, and garment workers deserve to know they are safe in their workplaces. So far, only 12 brands have committed to renewing the Accord. That’s an unacceptable number. Brands who still refuse to renew the Accord include H&M, Zara, Primark, American Eagle, M&S, Aldi, Matalan and a whole load more. 

 

To take action, tag them in social media posts, comment on their social media posts about it, and send them emails directly asking why they haven’t renewed the Accord. For more information and ways to take action, head to Remake and Clean Clothes Campaign

 

8. Donate to Choose Earth

 

Choose Earth is an offshoot campaign from Earthrise and Choose Love – an organisation you’ve probably heard about who do loads of amazing work with displaced people. Choose Earth however raises funds specifically for indigenous Environmental Human Rights Defenders in Brazil. It’s a great way to directly support those on the front lines of climate change, and those who know how best to take care of the Earth and to live in harmony with it. Head to the Choose Earth website to donate as well as to find more educational resources on the climate and indignenous rights. 


 

9. Talk to the people around you about the issue

 

While everyone is somewhat aware of the climate crisis, I don’t think everyone truly gets how far it has gone and how much needs to be done to lessen its damage. Talk about it to literally everyone – friends, family, flatmates, grandparents, a random person in a coffee shop, on a first date, teachers, students, anyone and everyone you can. Talk about it, spread awareness of the facts and encourage everyone you can to take action. 

 

This can also count with sharing articles, magazines, books etc. with people in your life. Even if that is sharing an online article with those people on Facebook, or casually suggesting someone can borrow a magazine on climate issues (like Shado Mag, Atmos, and It’s Freezing in LA) that you’ve finished reading. 

 

10. Challenge mainstream media depictions of the climate crisis

 

Lots of mainstream media are getting their climate coverage incredibly wrong. Specific cases come to mind of BBC Newsbeat interviewing Boohoo CEO John Lyttle about the fashion industry’s polluting nature only for him to defend his horrifically toxic company, and on coverage of the recent heatwave in the UK, asking how we get used to this heat with little mention of its causes. 

 

Reporting like this is not okay. We need to be shouting at every moment that this is down to the climate crisis and to hold our governments and billionaire CEOs accountable for their actions. Call media outlets out for their portrayals. Write to them demanding better. We deserve better. We deserve for the climate crisis to be covered like the emergency it is. It should be on the front cover of every newspaper every week if not every day and should be highlighted in every news reel.  

 

11. Support legal campaigns like Paid to Pollute

 

Legal challenges tackle our governments head on, and the Paid to Pollute case gives me so much hope and motivation. It is currently going to the High Court, and the UK Government has made many attempts to quash it, but has so far failed. This case, brought forward by claimants Mikaela Loach, Jeremy Cox, and Kairin van Sweeden, says that the UK Government is not living up to the promises it made by signing the Paris Agreement in 2015. They are using the evidence of public payments to big polluters such as Shell and BP, and the proposals of new oil fields such as Cambo (which I mentioned in number 1). 

 

To show your support, follow them on social media, donate to the case, spread awareness of the case, sign the petition, and write to your MP telling them they have your support. The Paid to Pollute is something to celebrate and has the potential for huge impact.  


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12. Read, learn, take in information on the climate

 

In order to tackle an issue effectively, you need to understand the issue properly. I’m not saying I’m perfect when it comes to knowledge on the climate. I have specialist knowledge to the fashion industry in particular, but I’m trying to have more basic understandings of other areas. But ultimately we don’t all need to be experts on every single factor, we just need to know the basics. 

 

Books I’d recommend include This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer, and Stitched Up by Tansy Hoskins. There are loads others, but those are some of the ones I’ve recently read and would recommend. I’m also particularly looking forward to Aja Barber and Leah Thomas’ upcoming books! 

 

As I mention earlier, I’d recommend also reading magazines such as Shado Mag, It’s Freezing in LA, and Atmos who have lots of detailed articles both online and in print on these issues. 

 

There are a whole host of podcasts to listen to as well. Some of my favourites include Idealistically, The Yikes Podcast, Drilled, Outrage and Optimism, and Remember Who Made Them. Reasons to Be Cheerful have also started a series of episodes on the climate crisis in the run up to COP26. 


You can also check out documentaries such as Earthrise's The Breakdown series and Remake's 'Made In' series. There are so many relevant documentaries out there so see what you can find.


With everything, make sure you're thinking critically about the documentaries, books, podcasts, etc. you're consuming. Research what other people (especially more marginalised people) are saying about them - for instance, think twice whenever David Attenborough mentions overpopulation.


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13. Donate to support people displaced by extreme weather events

 

Thousands of people have been displaced by the recent extreme weather events. As well as campaigning for their international protection (see number 17), it you have the funds, give to support people in the immediate aftermath of losing their homes. They need direct and urgent support. Organisations seeking donations to support people are often shared after these disasters occur so if you see them and have the means, please do support them. Sometimes they get shared by larger accounts too. Basically keep your eyes open and support where you can.

 

Places currently dealing with the aftermath of climate disasters include: Greece, Turkey, California, Algeria, and Haiti, along with a whole load more. If you have any fundraisers or organisations seeking donations you want to recommend, please share them in the comments of this post so other readers can access them. Similarly, if you know of fundraisers having more direct impact than the ones I've shared please contact me so I can highlight fundraisers with the most possible impact.

 

14. Change your bank to a more ethical one

 

This is something that can be relatively easily done by most people. Most of the big banks are awful, with investments in fossil fuels, arms trades, and a whole host of other all-round bad things. Not something we want to be supporting and not something that’s good for the planet. Have a research of your current bank’s ethics and of those of prospective banks. I would also recommend reading Besma’s post on ethical banks as a shortcut! 

 

*Note for people with student/graduate accounts!* You may have more restrictions on changing banks if you have these kinds of accounts. In the months leading up to my graduation, I was researching more ethical banks and was hoping to switch from Santander (we all love the free railcard with that one) to Nationwide. I was then told that I couldn’t switch to their graduate account as I’d not had an account with them previously and that to change my student account to another student account I would need to do so while I was still in the first 18 months of my course. This was when I was 2 months from completing it. As I still want to keep my free overdraft that comes with a graduate account, I have to stay with Santander for a bit longer, but I’ll be changing completely as soon as I feel like I can do without it. 

 

15. Sign the Make My Money Matter petition

 

Make My Money Matter is a campaign which aims to make pension funds kinder for both people and planet. I’ve just graduated, I don’t have a pension right now, but it’s something that a huge number of people do have and a way that you can have significant impact. Just like big banks, many pension funds are invested in industries such as fossil fuels, tobacco, and weapons without us ever really realising. Not great. With so many pensions in existence, they have the potential to help change where gets more money. 

 

As well as signing the petition, check out the Make My Money Matter website for help on how to take control of your own pension and more information on the issue itself. 

 

16. Slow down your fashion consumption

 

This is something I have written extensively about, both on this blog and in articles elsewhere. Have a look through my slow fashion posts to learn more about how and why the fashion industry is currently so damaging to both people and planet. You could start with this one, or this one, or this one. After you’ve informed yourself a bit more through those posts, try and ensure you wear your clothes for more times than usual and think more closely about how often and where you’re buying clothes. 



17. Show your support for migrant and refugee rights

 

Out of basic human empathy this is something you should be doing anyway, but this issue is going to become more prominent as the climate crisis worsens. We are already seeing climate refugees, as thousands are displaced by extreme weather events all over the world. Kiribati, an island in the Pacific, has almost been submerged by rising sea levels and a recent case in New Zealand denied someone from Kiribati asylum there last year. However that case did leave potential for change in future cases once the situation has worsened. The issue of refugee and migrant rights was already essential and urgent, but with the climate crisis steadily worsening and displacing more and more people, it will only become more so. We need to stand up for people to have the right to live somewhere safely and to be given provisions. Everyone deserves safety. 

 

We also need to change what we think determines someone to be a refugee – the climate crisis is not currently a factor considered, conflict is the main factor recognised when granting asylum. In addition to being displaced by extreme weather events, the climate crisis is also known to increase the likelihood of war and conflict in regions most affected. In fact it has already impacted current and previous wars. The rights of people fleeing these areas in order to survive need to be protected. To achieve climate justice, we need to ensure the people most directly affected by the climate crisis are at the heart f our actions, strategies, and policies. 

 

In the UK specifically, this means challenging the racist policies trying to be implemented by Home Secretary Priti Patel. Patel has several bills currently going through Parliament which would be incredibly harmful to people seeking asylum as well as all migrants. Her Nationality and Borders Bill goes against many human rights set out by the UN Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and the UN Refugee Convention 1951. Particularly under threat is the principle of non-refoulement which essentially means that it is against a person’s human rights to be sent back to a country they have fled where they are under threat. Just basic human kindness and empathy, right? Well that’s what our Home Secretary and entire government are lacking. This bill is one of the most horrendous pieces of legislation to be put to Parliament, and it needs to be challenged. It is currently still in the committee stages in the Commons, so add this to your list of things to write to your MP about and to challenge in protests. It is not okay. 


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18. Check the sustainability of your energy suppliers

 

Energy is a common topic of discussion when it comes to the climate crisis – whether that’s on larger scales or the individual brands we use in our own homes. And it’s important to discuss. 

 

This is not an area I can claim to be an expert in by any stretch of the imagination, but it is something I want to learn more about. Octopus Energy is a name that gets brought up regularly, and has People’s Energy and Bristol Energy. Have a bit of a dig, question your current suppliers to ask what they’re doing to reduce their impacts, and try and find a supplier you’re happier with. And yes, this is something I’m going to try and make more time to research myself. 

 

19. Sign the petition for a Wellbeing Economy

 

We need to move away from an emphasis on GDP to evaluating our state success in terms of the wellbeing of the people and planet. What’s the point of having a shit tonne of GDP if 4.3 million children are living in poverty? We need to rethink the way we see success. Ultimately that would mean moving away from the capitalist system all together, and while that is a bit of big step for the next few months, this is something that might help.

 

This petition is spearheaded by the likes of Caroline Lucas MP and seeks to change our focus on growth to a focus on ‘health and wellbeing of people and planet’. It currently has +40,000 signatures, and while the government has responded with something a bit vague and non-commital, it would need 100,000 before the 26th September to be debated in Parliament. Help get this debated in Parliament and bring it to the attention of friends, families, and your local MPs. In discussions with people you know, bring up the idea that would should be prioritizing health over growth and profit, start changing attitudes on a smaller level as well as bringing up on a national one. 

 

20. If you can, try and eat fewer animal products and eat more plant-based

 

This is something that gets brought about time and time again when discussing individual action, and while it’s not accessible for everyone to do completely, it’s something that is important as we do know that eating fewer animal products is better for the environment. As someone who has been vegan now for over 3 years (!), I can tell you there is lots of very tasty vegan food out there for you. Cutting out meat and dairy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavour. If you’re still not convinced, have a read of We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer. 



21. Call out greenwashing wherever you see it

 

In the past year greenwashing has reached new heights. Honestly, it’s ridiculous. Particular offenders include Amazon, H&M, Shell, and now Boohoo are upping their game too. If you want to learn more about the new tactics of fashion brands, check out this article I recently wrote for Remake!

 

As I’ll go into in more depth in a future bog post, greenwashing is essentially when a brand spends more time, money, and resources on marketing its products as sustainable than actually making its products sustainable. Take H&M for example. They launched their Conscious Collection in 2012 and have recently launched a new campaign highlighting child climate activists, and yet there is no proof they pay their workers a living wage, they have refused to renew the Bangladesh Accord, and at the beginning of this year 21-year-old garment worker Jeyasre Kathiravel (who made clothes for H&M) was raped and murdered by her factory supervisor after months of sexual harassment from him. What was that about being ‘Conscious’ H&M?

 

Green-trolling is our friend here. Call them out online. Brands care about their reputation. Their reputation has a lot of impact on keeping their profits high. Drag them down publicaly, in private conversations, in emails, share that article about their latest ethics scandal to family and friends. Express your outrage in whatever way you and encourage the people around you to boycott them if they can (spoiler alert: many people can, or can at least start slowing down their consumption). Again, express this outrage to your MPs and call for legislation about what brands can claim in advertising campaigns. Currently it’s like the Wild West when it comes to sustainability claims. 

 

22. Sign the petition to prevent oil giants from attending COP26

 

While groups like Unite for Climate Action should be the ones leading the conversation, the main instigators of the climate crisis should not. Frankly, they shouldn’t be driving the narrative as that way they avoid accountability. They need to be interrogated, face consequences, and ultimately forced to change. Not attending a COP summit should be part of this wake up call for them. 

 

23. Look for local organising groups for you to get involved with

 

There are so many climate activist groups out there, and within those so many roles as well. There truly is a role for everyone, even if, as Tolmeia Gregory says, that’s simply making tea in meetings. Search something like ‘climate action group’ and the name of your local area. Try different variations and see what comes up. There are lots of different larger organisations who will have regional groups as well, and ask around people that you know either in person or online for information about how to get involved. Hey, you could always create your own group! 

 

If you’re a student, check out what societies are at your uni. Groups like People & Planet are doing great work targeted specifically for students to hold universities accountable. 

 

24. At job interviews, ask what your prospective employer is doing to be more sustainable

 

If you’re like me and feel like your life is mostly made up of job applications right now, this will be relevant to you! If you get interviews at some of the jobs you’re applying for, ask your interviewer what the company is doing to tackle the climate crisis? Even if they don’t have a good answer, it will bring the issue onto their agenda and show that this is something jobseekers care about. I saw someone mention this on a Facebook group and honestly think it is brilliant.  

 

25. Ensure you have joy in your life

 

If there’s no dancing in the revolution, I don’t want it. I can’t remember who I’m paraphrasing there but the point is true. We need joy in whatever world we live in, and ultimately an ideal world would not be ideal unless it had joy. Joy is what sustains us, if that’s in the form of a late night dance party, our favourite takeaway, or laughs with friends. We need joy, otherwise none of this will be worth it. Have joy to keep on going. 




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