As the cost-of-living crisis continues, the cost in energy bills, food, rent and fuel continue to rise. UK consumers have started looking towards second-hand shopping from charity shops, online marketplaces, and resale platforms like Vinted. The additional benefit of this means consumers are, maybe without realising, reducing their environmental impact.
With inflation still high, consumers today are changing the way they shop; cutting back in some areas and opting for second-hand items in others.
According to new research from eBay Ads, the rising cost-of-living and sustainability concerns are accelerating the second hand shopping market. Between December 2021 and January 2022, searches for ‘upcycled’ rose by 40%, ‘second hand’ rose up 24%, and ‘repair kit’ rose up 21%. It would appear that shopping habits are favouring sustainable purchases. Our habits are changing and more of us are looking to adopt sustainable lifestyles.
Elisabeth Rommel, Global GM at eBay Ads, commented: “Between the rising cost-of-living and a growing desire to make more sustainable purchases, UK consumers are increasingly thinking about how they can be savvy with their shopping. With upcycling, buying second-hand, and more sustainably sourced products all rising on shoppers’ agendas, retailers in turn need to be adapting to these evolving preferences in order to engage their customers and contribute to the circular economy.
“Whether it be offering a repair service, starting a second-hand shop, or making packing and materials more sustainable – retailers must tap into what really matters to consumers today, and communicate sustainability credentials clearly in their marketing and product information.”
In 2022, eBay became Love Island’s First Ever Pre-Loved Fashion Partner. This news was received positively across social media as people were becoming more aware of fast fashion‘s environmental impact.
But something has changed in the quality of second-hand fashion, more noticeably in the last year.
Something is changing
I came across a tweet where someone was asking second-hand shoppers if they had noticed a difference in the quality of secondhand clothing recently. After a few conversations, my pre-recorded mini interview was aired on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme along with other secondhand shoppers to get a broader view on the changes in the secondhand market.
It would appear that charity shops may be missing out on sales due to the rise in online second-hand clothing websites and apps.
Charity shops have noticed that since the rising cost of living they have seen more people are choosing to sell their clothes online on places like Vinted and Depop, whereas these items may have previously been donated to a charity shop. This has led to a fall in quality clothing available those hunting secondhand fashion.
In the current economic climate, when many of us are strapped for cash, we look at what we have that we no longer need. Selling online has never been easier – you can do it from the comfort of your own sofa, lying in bed or travelling on the bus. Potentially making an extra few quid for a few minutes work does have its benefits.
Of course, where does this leave charity shops?
Many of us are acutely aware of how fast fashion brands greatly benefits the fashion industry. Some brands make clothes at break-neck speed to hit high street shops to keep up with fashion trends. In some cases, these clothes are cheaply made and of low quality. I’ve personally noticed these low quality clothes are appearing more and more in charity shops.
Since secondhand shopping tends to be primarily on the area of fashion, it’s helpful to focus on this. Secondhand shopping, whether it’s charity shops, thrift shops, or online apps, is part of a wider growth of the circular economy because it’s designed to avoid products ending up in landfill; a closed-loop system where materials would be reused over and over again.
It’s clear that consumer behaviour is changing and second-hand spending is becoming the norm, especially as younger generations, especially Gen Z shoppers are seeing the reality of climate change. We’re all becoming more careful on how we spend our disposable income.
The United Kingdom, with its stunning blend of rich history, diverse culture, and exquisite natural landscapes, offers an array of possibilities for families to embark on eco-friendly adventures.
In a time where environmental consciousness is becoming increasingly important, exploring the UK’s beauty through sustainable and responsible activities is not just a leisurely pursuit—it is an opportunity to connect with the planet and foster an enduring commitment to its preservation.
The UK’s beauty extends far beyond its bustling cities and historic landmarks; it is a country where the landscapes are as varied as they are breathtaking, created naturally over thousands of years. From the rugged majesty of the Scottish Highlands to the tranquil beauty of the Lake District, from the windswept coastlines of Cornwall to the lush greenery of the Welsh valleys, this island has something to offer every nature-loving family, all without having to get on a plane.
But what sets these eco-friendly activities apart is not just the visual brilliance of the UK’s natural beauty; it is the potential for families to become active participants in the ongoing narrative of conservation and environmental stewardship.
Eco-friendly adventures in the UK are not only about the thrill of discovery but also about taking tangible steps towards protecting the environment. As families, we share a collective responsibility to ensure that the landscapes, ecosystems, and wildlife that define this country continue to thrive for generations to come. These activities are a tangible way to make a difference, to move beyond words and into action.
For families, these experiences have the added benefit of forging stronger bonds, creating lasting memories, and instilling values that will endure a lifetime. The United Kingdom’s natural wonders provide the backdrop for moments of joy, learning, and connection. Whether it’s the laughter of children exploring a forest, the quiet fascination of observing a rare bird, or the sense of accomplishment that comes from participating in a beach cleanup, these eco-friendly adventures have the power to shape both individuals and families as a whole.
1. Hiking and Nature Walks
Location: All over the UK, from national parks like the Lake District to local nature reserves.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Hiking and nature walks encourage physical activity and a direct connection with nature without a significant carbon footprint. Spending time walking in the fresh air can also help us feel energised and helps your mental health.
Tips: Research the area’s trails and wildlife before heading out. Ramblers website is a good place to start if you’re completely new to nature walks and hiking. It’s important to be safe and ensure you have the necessary equipment.
2. Wildlife Watching
Location: Various wildlife sanctuaries, reserves, and national parks such as the Scottish Highlands or the RSPB reserves.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Observing wildlife in their natural habitat promotes conservation awareness and generates support for endangered species.
Tips: Bring binoculars and a field guide for identification. Keep a respectful distance from animals to avoid causing stress and ensure you stay safe.
3. Beach Cleanups
Location: Coastal areas all over the UK, including popular beach destinations.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Removing litter and plastic from the beach helps protect marine life and maintain the beauty of the coast.
Tips: Bring gloves, bags, and a willingness to pick up litter. Join local beach cleanup initiatives, like the Great British Beach Clean or organise your own with a group of friends and family. It can be really rewarding and it’s a great way for little ones to get some fresh air, while the TV and tablets are all left at home.
4. Camping and Glamping
Location: Campsites and glamping locations across the UK, including the New Forest and Dartmoor.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Camping is a great way to immerse families in nature and minimises environmental impact when done responsibly.
Tips: Choose eco-friendly campsites that promote sustainability. Great options could include local farms and enjoy the great outdoors. Some places offer family friendly accommodation and some are adult only, ensure you check this before you book.
5. Tree Planting and Reforestation
Location: Participate in tree-planting programs across the UK, often organised by conservation charities.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Planting trees helps combat climate change and supports the restoration of natural habitats. This is a great eco-friendly activity that the whole family can enjoy
Tips: Check for local community tree-planting events and volunteer opportunities. Learn about the native tree species and the importance of reforestation. The Tree Council have their flagship event, Tree Planting week, where people get together from up and down the country to participate and plant trees.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Cycling reduces carbon emissions and provides a green mode of transportation. Bring your mountain bike but don’t forget you’ve got your family trailing behind!
Tips: Rent or bring bicycles suitable for the whole family. Plan routes that are safe and enjoyable for all ages and skill levels. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of nature
7. Organic Farm Visits
Location: Organic farms open to the public throughout the UK, like Mossgiel Organic Farm Visits or Daylesford Organic.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Learning about organic farming methods and sustainable agriculture can foster an appreciation for locally sourced, eco-friendly food and the different ways on how it’s having a positive impact on the environment. You could also learn about seasonal produce and their low carbon footprint.
Tips: Schedule a guided tour, participate in workshops, and shop for organic produce to support sustainable agriculture. Make sure you ask a lot of questions and wear suitable clothing, depending on the weather, it could get a little cold and/or wet!
Location: Anywhere in the UK, as geocaches are hidden all over the country.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt that promotes outdoor exploration and adventure.
Tips: Download a geocaching app, bring a GPS device or smartphone, and respect the natural environment while searching for caches.
9. Birdwatching and Bird Feeding
Location: Your own garden or local park and nature reserves with bird hides.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Birdwatching encourages an appreciation for local wildlife and can promote responsible bird feeding practices. This is a fun activity for little ones to spot the different species of birds.
Tips: Set up bird feeders in your garden, keep a bird identification book handy, and create a comfortable birdwatching spot at home. There are many creative ways to make your own bird feeder, a fun way (and easy way) to entertain the kids. You could check out the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch where you record the number of species of birds you see so the RSPB can keep a record of birdlife in the UK.
10. Organic Gardening and Allotments
Location: Organic gardening and allotments can be found in urban and rural areas across the UK.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Cultivating your own produce using sustainable practices reduces the carbon footprint of your food and fosters a deeper connection to the environment.
Tips: Consider renting an allotment or creating an organic garden at home. Research organic gardening methods, composting, and eco-friendly pest control to yield healthy, chemical-free produce. National Allotment Week is a great place to start if you’re a completely new to allotments. When you’re ready, you can apply for an allotment.
11. Nature Art and Craft Workshops
Location: Art centres and nature reserves, such as the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centres.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Nature art and craft activities teach creativity while using natural materials, promoting a deeper connection to the environment and out natural areas. These can be a fun project for children and some places may even offer a scavenger hunt.
Tips: Look for local workshops or create your own nature-inspired art projects using materials from the outdoors. These will be advertised as schools approach half-term or summer holidays.
Why it’s eco-friendly: This is a great opportunity to learn about marine life and conservation can instill a love for the oceans and a commitment to protecting them.
Tips: Participate in interactive exhibits and support institutions dedicated to marineconservation. Some aquarium’s will provide children with an activity sheet to encourage children to participate (and keep their interest). When my daughter was little, we used to find all the characters from Finding Nemo.
13. Eco-Friendly Farm Stays
Location: Various eco-friendly farm stays across the UK, offering organic, sustainable experiences promoting an appreciating towards a more sustainable lifestyle
Why it’s eco-friendly: Staying on eco-friendly farms can provide hands-on learning experiences in sustainable living, and enjoying the natural green space around you.
Tips: Research eco-friendly farm stays, look for organic and sustainable practices. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy farm-to-table experiences. Some places offer family friendly overnight stays and some may be adult only, ensure you check this at the time of booking.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Wildlife photography can promote a deeper connection to nature and raise awareness about local biodiversity.
Tips: Invest in a good camera or use a smartphone with quality photo capabilities. Study local wildlife and its behaviour for captivating shots. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out this page from the Natural History Museum.
15. Forest Schools
Location: Participate in forest school programs held in various natural settings across the UK.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Forest schools foster a love for the outdoors and encourage sustainable living practices.
Tips: Enroll your children in a local forest school program or look for forest school-inspired activities in your area. Make sure there is always adult supervision.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Volunteering for nature conservation projects directly contributes to the preservation of ecosystems.
Tips: Search for local volunteering opportunities, join conservation efforts, and help protect the natural world and encourage others to do the same. Volunteering also offers the opportunity to meet and make new friends with like-minded people.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Learning to cook with environmentally conscious practices can reduce food waste and promote sustainable eating.
Tips: It’s a perfect time to look for cooking classes that focus on seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients from local farmers. This will also help you appreciate where and how our food is produced.
19. Solar and Wind-Powered Boat Tours
Location: Experience solar and wind-powered boat tours in various waterways, such as the Solar Heritage in Chichester.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Exploring waterways on eco-friendly boats demonstrates the potential for clean energy alternatives.
Tips: Do a little research on eco-friendly boat tours. Once you’ve booked, you can sit back, relax and enjoy a clean and green journey on the water, something you’ve probably never done before.
20. Upcycling Workshops
Location: Participate in upcycling workshops, often offered by environmental organisations or someone who is passionate about upcycling.
Why it’s eco-friendly: Upcycling promotes creative recycling and reduces waste by giving new life to discarded items.
Tips: Attend upcycling workshops and learn how to repurpose and reuse materials to reduce environmental impact. This can be from repurposing an old pair of jeans into a bag, reupholstering an armchair, creating planters from old boots, using old plastic bags to create a basket, turning an old photo frame into a wipe board and so much more. The possibilities of upcycling are endless, it’s all abut using your imagination.
In conclusion, the UK provides a wide range of eco-friendly activities for families to enjoy. These activities not only allow families to bond with each other while exploring the natural world but also instil a sense of environmental responsibility and respect for our planet. By engaging in these activities, families can play a massively significant role in preserving the beauty and biodiversity of the UK for generations to come not to mention creating core memories for their children.
Whether it’s hiking in the countryside, exploring marine life, or participating in conservation efforts, there are countless ways for families to enjoy eco-friendly adventures in the United Kingdom.
There’s probably more on your doorstep than you realise!
The number of people becoming aware of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and opting for more sustainable living options has increased greatly in the last few years. This has led to an increase in green and sustainability buzzwords, a marketing tool used by companies to promote their products to appeal to anyone who is looking to reduce their environmental impact. I’m not going to lie, there’s lots of jargon!
As someone who is familiar with greenwashing, I’ve seen so many bold statements by companies aligning their products as using recyclable materials, highlighting a reduction in carbon footprint and promoting their corporate social responsibility. It’s hard to decipher whether these companies have changed their practices and their claims are sincere or whether they’re just interested in selling their product, regardless of whether they share our environmental concerns.
The World Health Organization (WHO) are working hard to highlight the effects of global warming and reduce the world’s carbon dioxide emissions are using their voice to make significant change and allow the ability of future generations to be self-sufficient.
You’ll come across words like; zero waste, carbon neutral, circular economy, fast fashion and so much more but what on earth do any of these mean?
Fear not, I’ve got you covered.
This is a term used to describe materials that break down naturally to their original state over a period of time. This process takes places using nature’s micro-organisms which will eventually decompose the material. A great example of this is food scraps. During the composting process, the food scraps break down by insects and bacteria and become compost again which can be used in your garden. Something I have noticed is that you need to be a little wary when something says biodegradable, some products are made with harmful chemicals which will leach into the environment as they break down.
This is a measure of the variety and variability of all life on Earth. This pertains to different species of plants, animals, insects, fungi and microorganisms and how they interact with the ecosystem as a whole. Biodiversity will vary around the world due to the different climates.
These are fuels that are derived from plant matter, instead of fossil fuels, with the intention of being carbon neutral, which is believed to be less harmful to the environment.
These are referred to a type of plastic that, in cases, has been made from natural resources such as vegetable oils and fats, recycled food waste, straw and other organic materials instead of creating these products using fossil fuels.
This is often referred to as a process of trapping and removing, mainly from industrial processes, carbon dioxide in their supply chain and storing it in a way so it isn’t released into the atmosphere.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this one before. This is a measure of carbon emissions products by a person, a company or a product. Everything on Earth has a carbon footprint including your home, anything you consume, your car. The United Nations (UN) have provided some guidelines on how to reduce your carbon footprint that will benefit not only yourself but the planet too. One of the suggestions outlined is Walk, bike or take public transport where you can. Something I do is regularly delete unwanted emails and unsubscribe to newsletters you no longer want.
This term means having a balance between carbon emissions from a company’s activities and their carbon absorption from the atmosphere. It’s done by reducing the greenhouse gas from somewhere else within the business (carbon offsets).
This is an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Essentially, it’s offsetting carbon from one area to another. There are many companies that buy ‘carbon credits’, usually businesses and organisations, in order to ‘cancel out’ their emissions.
This term is mainly used within the fashion industry as fast fashion and it’s manufacturing process has a massive impact on the natural environment. The concept is to keep materials and products in circulation, thus eliminating the need to manufacture new products and raw materials. The key is to produce products that last much longer and made from better materials that can be reused. A few great examples of a circular system is second-hand shopping like charity shops or apps like Vinted, and upcycling.
This refers to the long-term changes in global temperatures and weather patterns. Scientists have seen record of this throughout the Earth’s history, this is a natural process, but since 1800s, human activities has accelerated this process and is seen as the main driver of climate change. Mainly from burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, increasing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere.
It’s a situation where urgent action is needed globally to slow down the effects of climate change and to avoid irreversible environmental damage which could be catastrophic to all life on Earth.
This term is used to describe a product that can breakdown into natural elements which are non-toxic to the environment. A great example of this would be food scraps which require microorganisms to break them down into organic matter and return them to the earth as healthy soil. Some items can be composted at home.
This is referred to something that is not harmful to the environment and generally refers to a product.
This term is referred to the use of less energy in order to perform the same task or the ability to produce the same result. This can mean a product or activity. An example many would be familiar with is an energy-efficient lightbulb; it does the same job as a regular lightbulb but uses less energy to do so.
Ethical comes from the Greek ethos “moral character” and describes a person, company or their behaviour as right in the moral sense – truthful, fair, and honest. It can be used to describe someone who follows a set of moral standards.
This is a trend, from the fashion industry, which replicates fashion trends incredibly quickly and cheaply to meet consumer demand. The goal is to get the newest trends from the catwalk to high-street shops as fast as possible leading to overproduction, overconsumption and the use of synthetic materials, which is difficult to recycle. Many fast fashion brands have come under fire for not paying their workers fair wages and environmental groups are calling for these brands to encourage slow fashion.
This occurs when greenhouse gasses in the planet’s atmosphere trap the heat from the sun, cause the temperature of the planet to rise. The main greenhouse gasses that are rising are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
As one of the biggest sustainability buzzwords, this refers to when a company (and/or their product) claim they are doing more to protect the environment than they actually are. This is a powerful tool used by some marketing agencies to help a company promote an ethical product, when in reality, it may not be.
This is the process of integration and interaction between people, business, corporations and governments on a worldwide scale, usually referring to increased trade and cultural exchange between nations allowing them to be interconnected and interdependent.
This is defined as cotton which has been organically grown without the use of any synthetic chemicals like pesticides and fertilisers.
This is often referred to food or a diet consisting largely or solely of vegetables, grains, pulses, or other foods derived from plants. Avoiding any food products from animals.
This is a process of converting waste material from things we no longer need into new objects and materials. It’s materials that can be used over and over again through an industrial process.
This is energy from a source that is self-replenishing and won’t run out. Unlike fossil fuels, which is a finite resource, energy like solar and wind are infinite sources of energy also known as a renewable energy source.
This usually refers to an object or product that can be used over and over again.
This is often referred to a product or a way of life that cause little to no damage to the environment and allows it to continue for future generations and allowing them to reap the long-term environmental benefits previous generations have enjoyed.
Development that does not leave a degraded environment for future generations to come. The aim is to meet goals for human development while preserving natural resources to meet the needs of humans without compromising the planet.
This is referred to as a critical threshold that causes a particular system to change from one state to another, if it is crossed. When discussing climate change, this could lead to large and potentially irreversible change in the climate system. If these tipping points are crossed, they are likely to have severe impacts to all life on Earth, not just humans.
This is referred to a person who doesn’t eat any food that is derived from animals and someone who doesn’t use animal products in their lives; clothing, medicine, skincare.
This is a set of principles based on the prevention of waste and encourages for items to be reused, recycled or repurposed. The end goal is to avoid sending rubbish to landfill or anywhere else in the environment. You’ll see zero waste shops where food items are in dispensers and the customer is able. to purchase only what they need into their own containers, avoiding plastic waste.
And there you have it, a list of sustainability buzzwords. If there are any you would like me to include, let me know in the comments.
It’s not that often I feel compelled to review something I’ve seen on TV, the last time was Extinction: The Facts by David Attenborough. After watching Chris Packham: Is It Time to Break the Law? I have to add my take.
Packham tries to make sense of the lack of urgency regarding the climate crisis from our government and wrestles with the dilemma of whether it’s ethically acceptable to break the law. Potentially, putting his own safety on the line.
TV presenter and nature lover Chris Packham believes the science; reports from The Climate Change Committee (CCC) and , The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have all printed the science facts behind climate change and what fossil fuels and it’s clear; it’s getting worse and we have to work together and put steps in place to avoid complete catastrophe. Despite these reports and the lack of any meaningful government policies, we are still pumping for oil, cutting down rainforests, and polluting our oceans seemingly without any regard for the future of the planet. All this despite the obvious effects as we’re seeing such as weather patterns becoming more extreme and are heading towards climate apocalypse.
Chris Packham has “completely lost trust in the government and judiciary”
He asks himself – how far does he have to go? how far can he go? Is civil disobedience really an ethically responsible thing to do?
Chris Packham: Is It Time to Break the Law?
For years, Chris Packham has been a peaceful democratic activist; joining marches, taking part in peaceful protest, writing posters but none of it, in his eyes, has worked.
He explores why protesters would risk their lives, knowing they could also be arrested and potentially imprisoned for protesting about climate change? What drives them? What makes ordinary people do this knowing it could lead to a jail sentence?
A young activist climbed up on the gantry on the M25 and stopped traffic. An incredible and dangerous act that could have resulted in losing her own life. Aired on social media, Heartbreakingly, she says “I’m here because I don’t have a future” with fear in her eyes and desperation in her voice.
From a young age, schools ‘mould’ us to follow rules; don’t hit each other, put your hand up when you want to use the toilet, don’t jump the dinner queue. This continues into adulthood when following the rule of law and in everyday lives. Society only works when we follow rules; whether we agree with them or not. Although, there are some who break these rules, most of us are law-abiding.
I’m currently studying towards a BSc Environmental Science and I know human activity is accelerating climate change; I see it in the data and reports and it’s not something that should be ignored. Global temperatures are rising. It’s happening. We can’t go back into the past and change it but we can do something about what happens next. I wonder if direct action is needed and political opinions need to be put to one side to tackle global warming.
What Are People in Power Saying?
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said “current policies are taking the world to a 2.8 degree temperature rise by the end of the century. We are hurtling towards disaster, eyes wide open. It’s time to wake up”.
Packham speaks to Lord Deben, who is a Tory Peer, who chaired the Government’s Climate Change Committee in which the report that was published was “ruthlessly critical of the Government’s plans”. In Lord Deben’s opinion, the Government doesn’t have a proper plan to deliver the changes desperately needed.
Lord Deben continues “A whole generation of people are waking up to the fact that we have destroyed their future and either we recover it or they will have no future”.
Police have now been given powers to intervene in any peaceful marches/protests that are disruptive to others. Surely, the whole idea of a protest is to be disruptive?
Despite requests to speak to cabinet members, no-one wanted to speak to Packham. He did end up speaking to Lord Peter Lilley, who sits on the House of Lords’ Environment and Climate Change Committee and he feels the climate change issue has been overblown. It was incredibly disheartening to watch.
Who Are The Rule Breakers?
I remember seeing a placard that read ‘Every disaster movie starts with the government ignoring a scientist’. Day After Tomorrow is a prime example.
When those in power seem to ignore the science, it’s not difficult to understand why organisations like Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion, and Insulate Britain have formed. It’s the lack of urgency and any meaningful action by those in power which is truly terrifying. Despite the threat of arrests, imprisonment from law enforcement, and verbal, sometimes physical abuse, from those being inconvenienced, the activists continue.
There were two Just Stop Oil protesters who climbed up the Queen Elizabeth II bridge, in Dartford, in October 2022 and Packham asks how history will judge them?
Packham travels to speak to Andreas Malm, author and activist, about how peaceful protests aren’t working anymore which is leading to more radical measures arguing that ‘historically, social progress has frequently required a radical wing’.
Packham touches on the subject of rule breakers in the past who are now cemented in history; a group called the Suffragettes, led by Emmeline Pankhurst, who believed in “deeds, not words”
The Suffragettes smashed windows, assaulted police officers, and committed arson. Pankhurst was arrested, as well as many other Suffragettes, and imprisoned many times. Let’s not even mention what happened to them in prison. He says “An enemy of the state at the time and yet now celebrated by it” by having her own statue in Westminster.
I know there are many who find the actions of the suffragettes inexcusable, to me, they were heroes.
Packham speaks to Roger Hallam, co-founder of Just Stop Oil, and feels the actions of Just Stop Oil activists MAY be effective. It’s difficult to tell immediately if something is working or not, time will tell. Hallam explains that from history, there have been trigger events which spark massive change. He prefers non-violent peaceful uprising from people who have had enough, referring to Gandhi’s salt march.
Many around the world will be aware of Greta Thunberg. An environmental campaigner, she started her activism by missing school to sit outside her country’s parliament with a sign that stated “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” (School Strike for Climate) and she has no sign of stopping until there is meaningful change to stop climate breakdown. She’s been arrested and it hasn’t deterred her from still protesting. She’s spoken passionately on the world stage about how much we need change, and that we’re tired of lip-service.
Chris Packham battles with his conscience about doing what is potentially illegal and putting himself at great risk but wanting to be on the “right side of history”. Knowing that breaking the law is an imprisonable offence and includes a criminal record .
He’s not asking people to break the law, he outlines a number of lawful ways to get your voice heard. It’s about the actions HE is looking to take for HIMSELF.
We’ve seen ourself that the lack of policy change from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s UK government isn’t forthcoming.
Could I break the law? I’m not ashamed to admit that I am not brave enough to do this myself. However, I need to do more. At this stage, I don’t know what that looks like.
Packham’s personal journey has put into words, passionately, what many environmentalists are feeling and have been feeling for a long time. As one of the UK’s highest profile nature presenters, we will have to see what he does next.
Climate change has come up in many of our family conversations and it’s a tricky subject to navigate.
As a parent, my desire is to provide my child with a joyful and care-free upbringing while also imparting essential knowledge about potential world hazards, all without causing unnecessary fear.
Throughout her early schooling, she’s learned about Stranger Danger and other. We had meaningful conversations about it and I’m really really relived that she didn’t seem frightened by it. Surprisingly, she seemed to embrace the awareness I and the school were trying to achieve.
Nevertheless, there exist other perils, including the concerning issue of climate change.
Parenting doesn’t come with a comprehensive guidebook. Most of us are trying to navigate it the best way we can.
Personally, I strive to draw insights from fellow parents and carefully consider my words and actions, recognising that young minds are highly impressionable and a lot of what adults say, children will soak like a sponge. We’re all navigating this journey to the best of our abilities, hoping to raise them well without causing harm.
So, when it comes to climate change, how do we navigate this subject without scaring them? Here’s what I did, maybe some of these tips will help you.
What Can We Do About Climate Change?
Begin by laying the foundation: start with the basics about climate change. Explain to them what climate change is, what causes it and why it’s happening. Be sure to use simple language
Incorporate visual aids: When educators teach, they tend to use visual aids to help children understand. Pictures and videos can be really helpful and helps them visualise what you care trying to explain. As adults, sometimes it can be difficult to find the right words. Workbooks can be really helpful.
Question time: Children are incredibly curious and they will have questions, and it could be at random times. Don’t dismiss their questions. They’ll probably think of questions on the way to a swimming lesson or at the dinner table. These questions are usually their own way to process what has been discussed.
Action time: Children want to be helpful, make sure they know there is something they can do and encourage them to create habits to help them. Don’t forget to lead by example.
What Can Children Do About Climate Change?
Reuse items: Encouraging children to embrace reusing items is a great place to start. Using sandwich boxes instead of cling film, having water bottles instead of drinking out of drinks cartons.
Repurpose items: There are so many resources online to help children to repurpose things we no longer need. Turning a drinks carton into a birdhouse, using toilet rolls into a pair of binoculars, creating a house or rocket ship from a large unwanted cardboard box. This is a great way to harness their creativity.
Recycle: Show them the importance of recycling and how it works. Many councils have different rules on recycling and teach them what is required in your area
Use their voices: Encourage them to use their voices when they want to make a change. Let them spread awareness, take part in local protests (peaceful ones), write to their local MP.
Reduce consumption: Turning off electronics when they are not needed, turning off lights when no on is in the room, turning off the taps, showers instead of baths, projects where they can reuse waste.
Reduce waste: When it comes to food, only put on their plate what they will eat, look at the packaging that comes with toys, encourage them to play with second-hand toys. When something is thrown out, it’s got to go somewhere.
Facilitating children’s comprehension of climate change constitutes a crucial stride toward forging a sustainable future. Through elucidating the foundational concepts, establishing relevance to their daily experiences, and underscoring the significance of proactive measures, we empower children to engage as dynamic contributors in the battle against climate change. By embracing minor actions to diminish their carbon impact and championing transformative shifts, children possess the potential to effect change and motivate others to follow suit.
As a parent, I want my child to have a care-free childhood but also teach her about the dangers that can be found in the world without scaring her.
She’s 7 and she learnt about Stranger Danger quite early on in her school life; she knows what to look out for and we talked out it quite a bit. Thankfully, it didn’t appear to scare her and she seemed to be happy being armed with this information.
But there are other dangers, one of which is climate change.
Let’s be honest, having children doesn’t come with a manual. I, for one, try to learn from other parents and think about what I say and how I act because they are sponges when they are young. We’re all just trying our best and hope we don’t screw them up!
As an eco-blogger (and an imperfect environmentalist), I’m well aware of how the planet is changing and studying towards a degree in Environmental Science has given me an insight into the science of climate change and it’s contributing factors; looking at articles, questioning sources and the ability to determine whether the author of the article has an agenda. Some of it is a little scary, even for me.
So how do I explain climate change to my child? After all, her generation are going to inherit the planet from us.
Climate change refers to the changes in temperatures and weather patterns around our planet and one of the main causes of this is human activity and this what we talk about; human activity.
I talk to her about the smaller stuff like litter-picking and reducing plastic. We go litter-picking and she knows about turning the lights off when they aren’t needed. She enjoys watching Blue Peter who talk about climate activism in a really thoughtful and sensitive way. She’s even got a green Blue Peter badge (something I told everyone who would listen!).
A while back, she heard someone said that they hated the rain – it wasn’t even heavy rain. She later said to me “the rain helps the environment, it’s just nature doing its thing”. I have to say, that really made me smile because that’s exactly what it’s doing.
The rain helps the environment, it’s just nature doing it’s thing
When I talk to her about what’s happening to the environment, I tell her bits of what’s going on but I offer solutions too.
We’ve taught her about recycling and she knows which bin to use for an item and why recycling is important, turning off the tap when she’s not using the water and the issues of wasting it, she has no problem wearing second-hand clothing, and we go litter-picking too.
Recently, the final episode of Frozen Planet II aired on the BBC and I noticed quite a few posts on Twitter where people thought it was terrifying and questioned whether it’s something young children should be watching. Some said kids should know about it and others thought it’s best to shield them from it. I haven’t let my daughter watch it, as a parent, we should do what we think is best for our own children.
I recently wrote a post about coping with eco-anxiety and I do adopt some of these practices when talking to her about the environment.
I think the key is helping them to find solutions and being able to action them. Even as adults we can sometimes feel quite powerless but, in my opinion, doing something is always better than not doing anything at all.
Ultimately, I want to be able to look her in the eye and tell her that I tried my best with what I had.
These are some ideas that work for me but may not work for everyone. Here are my terms & conditions for further reading
If you worry about climate change and the impact humans are having on the environment to the point where you may not be able to stop thinking about it, there’s probably a chance you suffer from a level of eco-anxiety.
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Eco-anxiety affects people in different ways; some people can be a little anxious whereas others may feel more anxious. There is no right or wrong. Given the environmental challenges we are facing putting our long-term security at risk, it’s no surprise that eco-anxiety is on the rise and I’m glad people are more open to talking about it.
Even as an environmentalist, I have to keep my eco-anxiety in check – I’m not ashamed to say I find it overwhelming at times too. However, I have found some ways that helps me keep my eco-anxiety in check.
My tips to cope with eco-anxiety
1. Actions matter
It’s easy to sometimes feel powerless, there’s only so much an individual can control. Something I always say is ‘start small, do what you can, build from there‘. Our actions do matter and make a difference, regardless of how big or small. Never forget that!
2. Find like-minded individuals
It’s important to find other people who share the same passion for the environment and who want to do better. One thing I realised quite early on is that you can learn so much from each other and sharing this knowledge can only be a good thing. Plus, you will be part of a team that may want to set up litter-picks or a local eco group.
3. Happy Eco News
This is something that I started early on. There is so much negative news about climate change so any positive news is largely ignored. There are good things happening in the world when it comes to the environment which is why I send out a fortnightly newsletter filled with happy eco news. I also sent it on Mondays – start the week on a good note! If you would like to receive happy eco news – sign up here and grab a freebie download too.
4. Don’t argue with deniers
This took me a while to get to grips with but I’m much better at it than I was previously. You will always come across deniers. It’s inevitable. But I’m not referring to people who are aware of climate change and would prefer not to talk about it (out of sight, out of mind), I’m referring to people who will argue with you about how climate change is a hoax and want to argue their ‘reasons’ as to why it’s a hoax or not as bad as it’s being reported. DO NOT ENGAGE. After having a number of heated discussions with climate change deniers, I found that I was left frustrated and exhausted from the encounter and the only person affected from this is me. Nothing you can say will make a difference, so don’t bother.
For the little ones
If you have little ones, I’ve come across this gratitude journal for children. It’s so important for children to notice the good about their day rather than just the bad. My little one has a gratitude journal and now I don’t have to even remind her to fill it in, she enjoys doing it on her own.
Above all, it’s about protecting your mental health and only you can do that. It’s OK to protect your mental health.
These are some ideas that work for me but may not work for everyone. Here are my terms & conditions for further reading
I remember when I was still at primary school so I’m guessing I was around 9 or 10 and going into school where the snow came up to my waist.
Only a handful of teachers and students made it in that day. We lived one road away from my primary school and nothing, not even the weather, was going to stop my parents from sending me into school.
As it was just us in the school, the teachers suggested we have a snowball fight in the playground, who were we to argue. It was so much fun!
Recently, someone mentioned a story they had heard on the news reporting that, due to climate change, the snow that falls in the UK during the winter may became a thing of the past.
That made me sad.
The fondest memories I had as a child was playing in snow. It didn’t matter how cold my fingers got or whether I could still feel them, it didn’t deter me from playing in the snow.
Even as an adult I loved making a snowman. I know, I’m just a big kid really!
This winter has been quite mild, I remember standing in the garden on New Years Day and I didn’t even need a jacket on. I don’t ever remember doing that. Although, we haven’t had any snow yet, if and when we do get snow, I don’t think it will be like it was when I was a child.
Memories of snow
Back in 2010, my friend Rachel lived with me for a while and one winter she was there, it snowed. So we decided at about 9pm, as you do, to go out and build a snowman. I was really cold but totally worth it. We were going for a ‘Night Fever’ snowman.
I’m pretty sure I’m wearing a pair of socks as I couldn’t find my gloves.
My friend found the article, which suggests by 2040, those living in southern England may no longer see sub-zero temperatures. These predictions are based on the acceleration of global temperatures.
When you read and hear stories about global warming and how humans are accelerating the process, the absence of snow in the future shouldn’t be a surprise.
Over the last few years, there is no doubting the weather has worsened – the number of floods and damage to properties on the rise. Trees and green spaces play a vital role in water management but these are being replaced by housing. Of course, people need to live somewhere, but at what cost?
The thought of not being able to play in the snow or make a snowman with my six-year-old makes me sad. But the planet is hotting up, playing in the snow will be the least of our worries.
I’m in the process of launching something I’m really excited about. A guide called Steps to Sustainable Living in Your Home.
Since I started this blog in January 2020, I’ve learned so much about sustainable living, a lot of which, I have adapted into my own lifestyle.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect, I’m still learning everyday and one person’s vision of sustainable living doesn’t always necessarily compare to someone else’s vision.
I remember at the beginning I was trying to change so many things in one go and found it so overwhelming. I wanted to live plastic-free, look at everything I was buying, only buy locally because the carbon footprint will be lower, companies I buy from and their view on sustainability, clothes that were environmentally friendly and so on.
What I quickly realised is that, by trying to do everything in one go, I wasn’t doing anything well. I was trying to change a habit I’ve had for the last 40 years in a short period of time, and I failed miserably.
I decided to take a step back and pick on one thing.
Looking back on where I am now from where I was, I realised how difficult it was to get information. Of course, the internet is jam packed with a wealth of information, but it’s knowing where to look and whether it’s reliable too.
I wish I had somewhere to start from; a guide, a handbook, a manual, something to steer me in the direction I wanted to go.
This was the reason I wrote Steps to Sustainable Living in Your Home. To be able to give you the chance to start your mission into sustainable living without the confusion and overwhelm I had. To pass on what I have learned so far, give you guidance on where to look for information about clothing materials and toxins found in cleaning products, what recycling symbols mean and what greenwashing actually is.
I’m not a scientist or an environmental professional, I am someone who is looking to help others live sustainably based on what I’ve learned so far.
Since the start, there’s something that has always come back to me:
I’m not sure if I heard it somewhere or if I came up with it myself, but I always say this to people.
So, you’re probably wondering, what’s in this guide?
✓ 8 sections – Introduction, Household Waste, Cleaning, Kitchen, Bathroom, Fashion, Carbon Footprint, Conclusion ✓13 accompanying PDF downloads ✓Editable PDF downloads, no need to print them off ✓Introduction videos for each section ✓Lifetime access ✓ Work through the course in your own time
Course coming soon
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The full price of this guide will be £57. That’s it, less than a full tank of fuel.
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In 2019, the UK became the first country to declare a climate emergency renewing a sense of urgency to tackle climate change. However, despite this emergency, not much has happened since.
This is why the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill is needed if we are to fight climate change.
What is the Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill?
The Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE Bill) is a bill drafted by experts; scientists, ecological economists, legal experts and environmentalists. Individuals who know what they are talking about in terms of climate emergency and aren’t interested in scoring political points – unlike politicians.
This Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill is designed to get the UK government do more to reduce the greenhouse gases we produce, which is fueling climate change, create a Citizen’s Assembly, restore and protect biodiversity.
This Bill is sponsored by Caroline Lucas MP of the Green Party and has already achieved cross-party backing. You see if your MP is one of its supporters.
Here’s a video by one of the contributors of the Bill Dr Charlie Gardner, conservation scientist and expert.
We are in a climate emergency, and the scientists are the ONLY ones I will listen to.
Where is the Bill now?
This bill, a private members bill, had its first reading on 2nd September 2020 and has been re-introduced by Caroline Lucas MP last month.
What can you do?
You can sign up to the campaign, where you will get updates on the Bill, and how to lobby your MP and local council to show their support. My local council nor my local MP are listed on the supporters page, so this is something I’m interested in changing.
There is a wealth of resources on how you can lobby your MP, visual tools including social media graphics and posters. There’s even a FAQ. One of my favourite parts in the resources is the ability to check whether you’ve received a standard response from your MP. Whoever came up with that is a genius!
The key to achieving great things with this Bill is to gather as much support as possible so it passes with an overwhelming majority.
We can all be part of the solution to make change and these big changes can only happen in Parliament.
You can find more information about the bill here and if reading the bill is your thing, you can do so here.
UK Eco blogger who cares about sustainable living, loves writing about environmental awareness days, Sustainable living ideas, and self-care the eco way – without judgement