For some time I’ve been subscribed to email updates from WWF and usually I pay little attention to the emails, however today I decided to read it and it led me to their Guide to Fighting for Your World.
The advice was divided into six sections which I will summarise.
Watch what you buy
Living a less consumerist lifestyle can benefit you and the planet. It’s time to start asking yourself: do I really need this? Is it ethically made? What is its environmental impact?
Remember: refuse, reduce, reuse recycle.
The most sustainable option is using what you already own.
Food production is a major driver of climate change and biodiversity loss – with the UK supply chain linked to the extinction of 33 species already. It’s time to rethink the way we eat to ensure there’s enough space for nature and people to thrive.
Waste Less, move to a more plant based diet and choose sustainable where possible.
Switch to cleaner energy
Today, the UK is emitting 42% less emissions than in 1990, in part because of a rise in renewables. But there’s still a long way to go to get to the government’s target of net zero by 2050.
Switch to a renewable energy provider.
Around 8 million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans every year – and by 2050 there could be more plastic in our seas than fish. Our oceans are a vital defence against climate change as they soak up carbon, but they need to be healthy for that to work.
Be prepared, use reusable coffee cups, cutlery, shopping bags, metal or bamboo straws.
Transform your garden
It might surprise you that the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world – but you can help boost wildlife populations where you live. The more we protect and restore nature, the better it can help us in the fight against climate change.
Plant native vegetation, build habitats, attract wildlife.
We’re fighting to end the UK’s contribution to the climate crisis in a way that creates green jobs, gives us cleaner air and makes renewable energy affordable. And we’re making our world more resilient by protecting and restoring nature – forests, oceans and the frozen poles.
From a personal standpoint: I’m not a big spender and generally only buy what I need (with the exception of running gear) but do I really consider the environmental impact? Without knowledge of manufacturer ethics or processing practice it can be hard to know whether what you’re buying is detrimental to the environment.
I’m vegan and I’m also the grocery shopper and cook, so my family are mostly vegan too. We have very little food waste and two compost bins, I make stock from vegetable peelings and have a tiny home allotment. But even so there are potentially changes I could make to eat even more sustainably.
I’ll come back to clean energy later, as this is what triggered me writing this.
Reduce waste. This is a big one. While we don’t generate a lot of waste the majority of what we do generate is plastic based. Cardboard, paper, glass and metal goes in the recycling bins. A lot of plastic also goes in the recycling bins, but a lot doesn’t. Black plastic cannot be recycled, crisp packets and other snack wrappers, the plastic bag inside cereal boxes for example. We are fortunate in Cheshire West that a lot of plastic is collected for recycling but not all councils offer this. Regardless there’s a lot that goes to landfill.
I admit when it comes to gardening I am way off being an expert, I have two compost bins and a water butt. We have a hedgehog house and a bowl of water available. I would love to have the perfect garden to grow more fruit and veg as well as being a wildlife haven but my knowledge is lacking. This is certainly an area for improvement.
OK back to cleaner energy.
We use bulb energy who are committed to 100% renewable electricity and 100% carbon neutral gas. I also drive a hybrid car. One son now takes the train to school and my other son is in a shared taxi to college with, I think, four other young people.
But the reason I wanted to come back to this point is this:
“Switching energy provider isn’t the only switch you can make to help our planet. Changing banks could be one of the easiest and most effective things you do for the environment. Some banks continue to invest in fossil fuels and environmentally damaging practices, but by using our people power we can show them that their customers don’t want their money fuelling dirty business.”
I had no idea. Maybe I should have done but I’m certain not to be alone in this. So, I did a little research…
The Campaign against Climate Change website led me to The Good Shopping Guide which contained rankings on banks and building society’s ethics. Scoring Red, Amber or Green in the following categories:
Environment – environmental report, environmental devestation
People – other irresponsible lending, political donations
Other – ethical investment policy, legal status, other criticisms, ethical accreditation
I will need to read more into what these categories and sub-categories actually mean but looking at the table the top scoring provider is Charity Bank, which I have not heard of. Charity Bank is the only financial institution to score 100 and achieve ethical accreditation. Following Charity Bank are two more providers that I have no knowledge of scoring 94 (Ecology Building Society and Tridos Bank).
The table then gets interesting as the known banks and building societies are listed. A handful score 82, with just one category failing to achieve a green dot. It then goes through the 70s with two or three categories being amber or red. Down through the 50s, through the 30s, until we reach the lowest scoring providers. Scoring just 18/100 and only achieving green in one category these banks are listed as the least ethical: Barclays, First Direct, HSBC, Natwest and RBS. And it is with one of these that we bank.
We have been with the same bank for maybe 20 years or so and switching bank may just be a complete logistical nightmare, but I cannot with any conscience remain a part of a financial institution that funds environmentally damaging projects.
Campaign Against Climate Change
The Good Shipping Guide banking overview
and detailed rankings
Check your environmental footprint
How to transform your garden into a wildlife haven