New Green Resolutions

The COP26 Climate Summit held in Glasgow in November of this year brought together the world’s nations to dramatically ramp up action to tackle the climate emergency. While reactions to the Summit have been mixed – some decrying it as a total failure while others pointing to significant progress made in some key areas – what was made clear to me was the power that we, as individuals and communities have, to influence change through taking positive action. So, as we say goodbye to a turbulent year and look ahead to 2022, what New Year’s Resolutions might we make to continue that change? Here are some ideas:

  1. Get informed. There continues to be lots of misinformation surrounding the climate crisis. Head for reliable sources, such as www.ourworldindata.org, for up-to-date information without bias. In the UK, the Climate Change Committee advises government on climate policy and their website contains some great reports, visit theccc.org.uk.

  2. Calculate your Carbon Footprint. A great idea if you’re wanting to reduce your carbon emissions but don’t know where to start. The Worldwide Fund for Nature have an easy-to-use online tool at footprint.wwf.org.uk. Remember though, most carbon footprint calculators don’t include your consumption, i.e., the stuff you buy. Which brings us to…

  3. Buy less stuff. This is a popular resolution with people, for example, deciding to buy no new clothes for a year. There are loads of great websites helping us to re-use, repair and re-purpose the things we have. If you need to buy something, check out Ethical Consumer Magazine who assess brands on a range of ethical impacts including climate change.

  4. Tackle The Big Two – the energy we use in our homes and the energy we use to travel are usually our two biggest sources of carbon emissions. Your energy supplier can tell you how much energy you have used in 2021, how about making a plan to reduce it by 20% in 2022? Act on Energy can provide lots of advice on this. Or perhaps resolve to have a car free day every week?

  5. Get closer to Nature. The climate crisis won’t be tackled without addressing the crisis in nature. Get involved in local action to protect and enhance our green spaces. Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk) and Heart of England Forest (heartofenglandforest.org) both welcome new members and offer volunteering opportunities.

  6. Re-frame your diet. While January is well known for the Veganuary campaign, even modest changes to what you eat can have an impact on your carbon emissions. Aim to reduce red meat (beef and lamb) and dairy consumption, maybe by making a few simple swaps within a recipe or doing Meat Free Mondays. In the words of the author Michael Pollan “Eat food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants”.

  7. Talk about the climate. While many people are concerned about climate change, it can often be hard to talk about it. But individual choices, like those above, can slowly scale up, or sometimes be catalysts for bigger change, if they are shared with other people. Talk to friends, family, colleagues, or get involved in a local group (Stratford Climate Action, Friends of the Earth and Extinction Rebellion all welcome new members). Write to your MP, sign a petition, make your voice heard.

Above all, maybe just resolve to feel optimistic in 2022. The climate crisis is better understood than ever before, there is overwhelming public support for action to tackle the emergency and we have the tools to tackle it. We just need to act – as individuals, as communities, as businesses and as governments – and change will happen.

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