For many of us here in the UK, this weekend has brought the warmest June days since 1976. While the sunshine and barbeques can be a wonderful welcoming of summer, they can also serve as an important reminder for how we should be treating the environment in which we live.
Climate change has become a part of debate, policy, conversation, and in some cases, belief with increasing intensity over the past few years. We see that in places like the United States, the topic continues to divide, with many still believing that this phenomena is not occurring. Where do we go from here? Informing ourselves is key. With so much information available to us, it can seem overwhelming and feel easier to just take the bullet points, or even further, to just ignore its existence and our role in shifting our environment.
In many instances, we can become stuck looking at the world from our singular perspective, making it more difficult to accept information that does not clearly align with what we are observing. A clear parallel to this in terms of concept of climate change is an often overlooked misunderstanding of the distinction between weather and climate. This is essentially the difference between what we see in our daily lives versus the overarching trends of weather in the areas we live. These trends are what we are concerned about, whether we see them in our daily lives yet or not.
It is often much more comforting to think that we have not harmed ourselves or others and that our futures are safely untouched. It can feel better to think our collective decisions may have had no impact, even when there is data telling us otherwise, it can feel safer to look to those telling us it might not be true. Regardless of where we fall on understanding or accepting climate change, we all have habits that are unhealthy for our bodies and wallets, as well as our earth. In changing these habits, we align being environmentally friendly to being cost efficient and living healthier, more mindful lives.
So what can we do?
While the research is telling us we may be past the point of turning it all around, there is a multitude of ways for each of us to get involved and make a difference in how much we impact the world around us.
Getting informed and involved! Looking at the life-cycle of products and the impact each of our decisions makes allows us to truly understand how much we are impacting our world with the choices we make. Joining groups helps us to move our thoughts into potentially larger actions.
Being mindful of our energy habits. Looking at our homes, our purchasing decisions, and our habits, there are many ways we can improve our energy usage, not only helping us to reduce our carbon footprint, but also to reduce the amount of money we pay in bills!
Re-thinking our food. The ways in which many of us are eating is largely unsustainable and continues to be harmful for our environment. Each of us can take this opportunity to be more mindful about how our plate impacts our world. There are many ways to easily reduce our impact, just by re-thinking how we eat. It may even be healthier for our bodies and wallets at the same time!
Taking a look at our transport choices. This aspect of being eco-friendly can be a barrier for many of us without a vast amount of choice. This aspect requires more long-term, collective work than merely our individual choices. Using and strengthening public transport is incredibly important, but there are many other great choices out there as well!
What are we tossing? There is always room for improvement on how much waste we are producing and throwing into landfills. Small changes can make a huge difference, all we have to do is a bit of research!
Realising that every little bit counts, that when we collectively make different choices, we have immense power. Long-lasting change needs to include both the overarching policies as well as the everyday actions of people like us. Sharing information is a key part to this, so share yours now! If you have any tips, tricks, thoughts, or special experiences, be sure to share them in the comments below!