Climate Change Act turns 10: Friends of the Earth’s tips for the first-time environmental activist

The public are being urged to mark the 10th anniversary of the Climate Change Act by joining the battle for a cleaner, safer future.
  19 Nov 2018    |      5 min

It’s easy to get started, and people power can achieve amazing things.

The UK was the first nation to introduce legislation to cut emissions with the introduction of the Climate Change Act on 26 November 2008, following a successful campaign led by Friends of the Earth.

But with leading scientists now warning that tougher action is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change, the environmental campaign group is calling on people to join the next round in the fight for the planet...

Emi Murphy, climate change campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“2008 saw the ultimate demonstration in people power, as across the country communities joined forces to call for a law to slash UK emissions. Climate change is the biggest issue of our generation; one that needs us all to work together to keep the damage to a minimum.

“While the government must do more to cut emissions there is immediate action we can all take, from lifestyle changes to getting involved in activism.”

Emi’s top tips for fighting climate change:

  1. Switch up your energy. Where we get our energy from is a big contributor to carbon emissions. Companies such as Good Energy and Ecotricity offer fantastic renewable energy tariffs, and if we all move away from the fossil fuel nasties it will further show the government that we want a green future.
  2. Put your money where your mouth is. Some big banks are known to invest in bad for the planet fossil fuels projects such as fracking. Switch your account to a bank such as Triodos, which will invest in environmentally beneficial projects.
  3. Clothes that last. Clothes can have a big impact when it comes to material resources, or the emissions from shipping around the globe. Investing more in clothes that last longer will decrease your environmental impact and will also save you money in the long run. Why not learn simple clothes repairs so you don’t have to replace items as soon as they rip or fray?
  4. Start a conversation. Businesses have a big role to play in fighting climate change. Write a letter, email or tweet to some of the big businesses out there asking them what they’re doing to cut their emissions. You can then share their reply on social media to help spread the word.
  5. Cut out meat or eat less of it. By eating less meat and dairy you can limit your impact in terms of carbon and methane emissions and enjoy a healthier diet. It’s also important to keep in mind the impact of all foods you eat – in terms of the miles they travel to get to your plate. We all love smashed avocado but try to form as much of your diet as possible from seasonal locally sourced ingredients.
  6. Time to (not) fly. Aviation is a huge part of carbon emissions – Heathrow Airport is actually the UK’s biggest single source of carbon emissions! From the mountains of Snowdonia and lakes of the Lake District, to Cornwall’s beautiful beaches, think about all the beautiful places in the UK you can reach without having to board a plane. European adventures can also be done by train.
  7. Get political. Making changes to your own lifestyle is fantastic, but you can also start to make a wider impact by getting involved as an activist. It’s easy to get started, and people power can achieve amazing things. Simply write to your MP to talk to them about climate change or ask your local council if they’re investing money in dirty energy. Just a short email can do the job. By being vocal you can put more pressure on politicians and make them act on climate change. If enough of us demand change, they won’t be able to look away.
  8. Try driving less. Petrol and diesel cars are a huge source of emissions, bad for both air quality and climate change. By hopping on your bike or walking into town you’ll also find yourself getting fitter, while fighting air pollution and climate change.
  9. Join your local environmental campaign group to really get involved. Whether Friends of the Earth or otherwise, there are local environmental groups and down the country achieving amazing things fighting everything from plastic pollution to fossil fuels. Head to friendsoftheearth.uk/take-part to learn more.