14 Ways I Can Help Combat Climate Change

14 Ways I Can Combat Climate Change

Before joining The Environment Partnership (TEP) two years ago, I had only a basic understanding of the meaning of sustainability and why it is important in combating climate change. I am an Executive Assistant and fortunate enough to work for TEP, an environmental consultancy based in the heart of Warrington’s business district with offices throughout the country.  TEP is committed to supporting and creating sustainable environments, not only in the way it runs its business but in the services it offers its clients.  

Through working at TEP, I now understand the essential part an environmental consultancy plays in protecting the environment.  And I am amazed at the amount of thought and consideration that goes into each and every one of our projects.  Whether it’s introducing innovative sustainable drainage solutions into the designs of a new residential development or creating habitats to protect important migrating bird populations, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of learning what we do.  If you would like to read about how the services TEP offers are helping to combat the climate change emergency, please read these fantastic articles written by my colleagues: Safeguarding Our Landscapes and Climate Change and Role of the Landscape Professional.

Since joining TEP, I have also become more aware of how the government is trying to combat climate change, such as implementing legislation and policies to protect wildlife, reduce our carbon footprint and increase Biodiversity Net Gain (an approach to development that leaves biodiversity in a better state than before).  It’s great to know it’s not all talk, and things are actually being done.  And as of this week, Glasgow will be hosting COP26 the UK’s biggest ever summit, which will be all about climate change and how countries throughout the world are planning to tackle it.

TEP was the first UK environmental consultancy to become carbon neutral and is now working towards net-zero status.  TEP, like so many other companies, has already identified areas of the business to target and help reduce its carbon footprint.  But as an individual, I found myself asking, what can I do to combat the effects of climate change?  I do not have a specialist skill (such as an ecologist, planner or landscape architect), I am not a politician or an activist, but I do care.

Every time I read about the climate emergency, I am filled with a yearning to do my bit because I want myself and future generations to live in a sustainable environment.  Despite my good intentions, I found that I didn’t really understand how my way of life was causing climate change, and how changing my ways would even make a difference.  Burning fossil fuels, deforestation and releasing carbon into the atmosphere, this is bad, but why?  What is ocean acidification?  Why is farming contributing to climate change?  Why will increasing biodiversity and planting more trees help?  Why will changing our fishing and farming habits help?   That is until I read David Attenborough’s ‘A Life on Our Planet’.  After reading it, I finally understood the answers to all these questions, and how, if we implement change now, we can stop and even reverse the effects of climate change.  A bleak read, but one full of hope.

“We have one final chance to create the perfect home for ourselves and restore the wonderful world we inherited. All we need is the will to do so.”David Attenborough

So to answer my question of how an individual can do their part to combat climate change, here are just a few suggestions I would like to share:

  1. Eat less meat
    food production and processing are large contributors to greenhouse gases
  2. Reduce food waste
    buy only what you need and freeze any leftovers, plan your meals for the week or try batch cooking
  3. Replace single-use plastic bags with reusable bags
    a plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to decompose
  4. When buying new appliances check their energy efficiency rating
    this will indicate how much energy they use compared to similar items
  5. Purchase goods from companies known to have sustainable practices
    this will show your support and help encourage other companies to follow suit
  6. Sign up to get your electricity from a clean energy source through your energy supplier
    This will help support the clean energy sector by redirecting funds
  7. If you have a smart meter, monitor your usage
    this will help you visualise your energy usage and help change your habits
  8. Switch lights off when not in a room
    this will save electricity and lower your utility bills
  9. Swap to LEDs
    they use less energy and last longer
  10. Lower your thermostat during winter
    you can save both energy and money, whether it’s just a degree or two for a few hours, or ten degrees for half a day
  11. See if you are eligible for a free grant for home insulation or solar panels
    a well-insulated house is more energy efficient and will require less additional heating
  12. Drive less
    by walking, cycling or using public transport you will be helping to improve air quality
  13. Keep your car tyres properly inflated
    this increases your fuel efficiency
  14. Reduce your use of air-conditioning
    air-conditioning consumes a lot of power and increases your energy bill

With just a few clicks, you can work out your carbon footprint.  See if there are things you can change, because if everyone made simple swaps, just imagine the impact it would have!

Emma McDaid
Executive Assistant (and amateur environmentalist)