Today I encountered something much scarier than a ‘climate change denier’. Today I met pretentiousness and righteousness.
I was told that instead of being angry and demanding a change from the UK government, we should point fingers at other nations. While it is true that there are larger polluters in the world than the UK, it still doesn’t mean that this country is doing enough. Far from it.
Just last month The Guardian reported that the UK will be missing all of its set 2020 nature targets. We cannot be sitting here shouting that in 2017 the UK wasn’t in the TOP 10 counties od CO2 emissions. That is not a high horse we can be ridding.
Pardon my French, but barely floating in a sea of shit does not mean we’re out of the shit. As a country, we are not doing enough and should be doing more. I would love to see the UK leading by example, pressuring other nations to do the same. I may not be born here, but I consider this country my home and nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing the UK combat climate change and make some serious changes.
Yes, it’s cute that we’ve banned plastic straws, how about now, let’s focus on government policies that will lead to more substantial change? A climate emergency has already been declared. What’s being done about it?
I think of my own actions a lot when I think about combating climate change. I’m guilty of taking a few trips a year myself and usually getting said places by plane. Less than six months ago Ryanair was announced as the only airline that had joined the notorious Top 10 list of Europe’s top polluters. Its true ‘flight shame’ is real and here to stay. I know that Carbon Offsets are not cutting it either. Bloomberg reported that while growing in popularity, “airline uptake for carbon-offsetting remains below 2% on average”.
I always consider jumping on a train. However, I hate to say it’s so ridiculously impractical and expensive. For example, I am set to meet my friends in Copenhagen in October for a weekend. I checked the options to travel via train – it would cost me £280 and involve about 46h of travel. I didn’t even intend to spend more than 68h in Copenhagen in the first place. Speedier travels could be arranged, but then the cost of the travel is about £700-£800. I flew to New Zeland for that price a few years back. It’s upsetting because I want to be selfish and travel, but I also fear what such selfishness is doing to the planet. According to Wired “aviation currently accounts for two per cent of all carbon emissions, a figure that is set to triple by 2050.”
I have already made myself a promise that if I ever get a drivers license, I’m not considering anything but electric. I’m continuously reducing my personal waste (still far from being zero waste but trying my best). I use public transport or walk whenever possible. I don’t eat meat, and I’ve again started reducing my fish consumption. All of this and I know I’m still not doing enough. Nowhere near. So today I pledge this:
- for a year I will not buy a single clothing item unless it is recycled (purchased in a charity shop);
- I do need a new pair of winter boots; however, I’ll opt for an environmentally friendly, leather-free brand that will last me a few years.
- Also using services such as The Dress Change help by reducing waste as highstreet items are recycled.
- I will stop buying berries, fruits and vegetables that come in a plastic punnet and instead opt for loose options even if that means giving up some product groups completely;
- I’m glad that I’m moving to London so I’ll have access to BYO initiative for frozen berries and veggies.
- I will make a habit of purchasing my grains in a zero-waste friendly shop where rice doesn’t come in a plastic packet;
- I will limit my travels abroad to twice a year;
- This year I’ve only flown to Berlin so my October trip to Copenhagen will be my last until Christmas.
- AMEND: I realised I flew home in April so my Copenhagen trip will be my 3rd this year. I’ll cap it there.
- I’ll be abroad for Chrismas and New Years, and I will count that as my first trip on 2020 leaving me with 1 more trip.
- If I’m honest, this is the only promise I’m not sure if I will be able to keep, but I will try my best!
- I will further limit and by the end of the year eliminate my fish consumption;
- I will stop purchasing processed products such as plastic-wrapped snacks and instead opt for products in environmentally conscious packaging and zero waste products.
I shall go and practice some kindness towards the planet!