In 2020, global temperatures were the hottest on record. We’re increasingly seeing the effects of global warming on the planet and its people.
Worries about the state of the environment can sometimes feel overwhelming. There's certainly a lot that needs to change. Nevertheless, discovering new ways to help the environment and taking positive action can help both the planet and our feelings of climate anxiety.
Here are some simple ways everyone can help the environment plus a few significant changes you can make to your life to really make a difference.
Simple ways to help the environment
Here are a few quick and easy ideas for living sustainably and helping the environment.
Consumerism is bad for the planet and we should all try to shop less. However, when we need to buy something, there are a number of ways to make that purchase more sustainable.
Buying second-hand is a great place to start. When you buy pre-loved items from thrift stores, eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace you spread the carbon cost of that item over a longer period of time.
When it comes to buying a newly-made product, it’s important to choose items that are built to last and unlikely to go out of fashion next season. Shopping from brands that are transparent and specific about the sustainability of their supply chain is also a good idea.
Plant a tree
Trees do a heap of amazing things for the planet. They remove CO2 from the atmosphere and release oxygen. They provide shade and a habitat for animals. Trees can also hold back flood waters and prevent soil erosion.
Planting billions of trees is one of the biggest and cheapest ways to take CO2 out of the atmosphere and combat climate change. So do your bit by planting a tree in your garden. You could also support a tree planting initiative like TreeClicks, which will do the hard work of planting trees for you.
Be conscious of the energy you use
Opt for an energy company that uses renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. Then try to conserve energy as much as possible.
Put on a sweater rather than turning up your heating. Use energy efficient light bulbs and appliances. Turn off your electricals rather than leaving them on standby. Over time, these small actions will lower your energy bills and help save the earth too.
Reduce your waste
Plastic waste is a big problem for our planet. Around 11m tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year and that figure looks set to increase.
So how can you help? Start by saying no to single use plastics and using some of the great alternatives available. For example, reusable shopping bags, stainless steel drinks bottles, reusable coffee cups and metal straws.
Try to shop at grocery stores where you can refill your own containers rather than buying products wrapped in plastic packaging. And instead of throwing broken or unwanted items away, try to fix or donate them wherever possible.
The very best ways to help the environment
Let’s move on to the very best ways you can help the environment. The things in this list require commitment and some pretty significant changes to your life. But they reap real results when it comes to helping the environment.
Think about how you travel
Global transport is responsible for around a fifth of all CO2 emissions. Changing the way we travel could have a big impact on that figure.
Whilst road travel makes up the majority of carbon emissions produced by transportation, flying is the most environmentally damaging way to travel, mile for mile. So stay closer to home for your holidays or travel by train wherever possible. And if you have to fly, you can offset the carbon cost of your flight with FlyGRN, as we’ll see below.
Your everyday journeys also make a difference. When you make local journeys, try to walk or cycle. And choose an electric car if you have the option.
Change your diet
The food we eat is responsible for around a third of our carbon footprint. Animal products are a particular problem and, according to scientists, avoiding meat and dairy is one of the biggest things you can do for the environment.
Meat and dairy farming has led to deforestation on a huge scale. Forests are cleared to make space for grazing or to grow the food (such as soy) given to animals. Grazing animals also release lots of methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.
But animal food products aren’t the only problem. Out-of-season fruit and vegetables grown half way around the world and then transported to another country also produce a considerable carbon footprint. Eating a plant-based, organically and locally farmed, seasonal diet is best for the environment.
Make your home energy efficient
Residential buildings account for around 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Finding ways to use less energy at home and make better use of the energy required is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment.
If you have the money to invest in your home, choose low carbon heating, such as a heat pump. Think about installing solar panels. And make sure your home is properly insulated, thereby reducing the need for heating and cooling.
Your voice is a really powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Contact your local politician and ask them to commit to environmentally friendly policies.
Get in touch with the brands you shop with and ask them how their products are sourced. Not only will you learn about the sustainability of your favourite products. You’ll also add to the pressure mounting on brands to adopt genuinely eco-friendly operations.
Talk to everyone you know and encourage them to make positive, environmentally conscious changes to their lives.
How TreeClicks and FlyGRN can help you to save the earth
TreeClicks and FlyGRN are sister organisations and social enterprises, both committed to helping the environment.
The TreeClicks app or browser extension helps you to make your online purchases a little kinder to the planet. We receive a fee every time you shop with one of our 50,000+ partner stores. We then use this fee to support tree planting initiatives around the world.
FlyGRN is a flight comparison and booking website. When you book a flight through us, we receive a fee from the airline you choose. We then use this fee to offset the carbon cost of your flight, ensuring that you are flying in as green a way as possible.
Downloading the TreeClicks browser extension or app, and using the FlyGRN website are a few more ways you can do your bit to help the planet and combat climate change.
In summary: Things you can do to help save the earth
Easy ways to help the environment
- Shop sustainably
- Plant a tree
- Reduce the amount of energy you use
- Reduce your waste
Some harder (but really effective) ways to help the environment
- Change the way you travel
- Eat a seasonal, organic and plant-based diet
- Invest in your home to make it more energy efficient
- Campaign and spread the word
And finally, install the TreeClicks browser extension for online shopping and use the FlyGRN website when you need to book a flight. At no extra cost and for very little effort, we can save the environment together.