Pledge to act

There are so many ways we can act to tackle climate change. From having conversations with people to changing how we live, from pushing government and businesses to act responsibly to making sure our own money doesn’t fund fossil fuels. We can start with one small action, or make a big change in our lives. What matters is that we do act.

As Climate Action Leicester and Leicestershire we want to help each other to take actions together and as individuals. So we’re asking you to make a personal pledge to actively do something to counter climate change. This page gives some examples (and our thoughts) on things you could do – hopefully one or two of them feel right for you – but you could instead make up your own pledge. This page also includes links to other campaigns and websites so you can think more about what you’d like to do before you act.

Please would you make a pledge here – and then use #ClimateandMePledge to join the conversation and tell everyone what you plan to do and how you’re doing at it.

We want to help! We are the Events and Coalition Building team and we’d like to support you in whatever way we can to carry out your pledge. Can we put you in touch with someone else who is doing the same pledge now or has done it in the past? Maybe you could be part of a group of people helping each other? So please do tell us what would help (there’s a space for this on the pledge form) and we will try to make it happen!

There are 2 categories of things you might choose to do. 1/. What your money supports and how you live, and 2/. encouraging government, other organisations and people you know to act to reduce climate change.

The idea is to choose something (or more than one thing) which feels possible but which you aren’t doing already!

Ideas around how we live. The typical personal carbon footprint in the UK is over 10 tonnes of CO2 a year. That’s our personal annual contribution towards fueling the climate crisis. For most of us food makes up a quarter to a third of our personal carbon footprint, and travel another quarter or third (more if you fly). The sheer amount of stuff we buy also has a major impact, as does how we heat our homes. The more invisible but equally import part of this is who we give our money to – does your bank use your money to fund fossil fuel extraction? So the first set of suggestions of things you might pledge to do are about these areas. You could…

  • Instigate a day a week where you and your family don’t eat animal products (meat, dairy or eggs). This would get you used to eating foods with much lower carbon footprints than meat and dairy. This link tells you more about the links between meat, dairy and climate change.
  • You could stop eating red meat (which has a footprint 2 or more times higher than white meat)  and replace it ideally with plant-based options, but otherwise with white meat – but not cheese or butter which have very high footprints! Baked beans have a footprint massively lower than meat becasue they are plant based.
  • Try going vegan for a month and see how it gets easier as you adjust to it. This website contains recipies, tips and encouragement.
  • Fly less or not at all – have a flight free year (or life). Each flight we take adds half a tonne (if it’s shorthaul) to potentially 12 tonnes to our footprint. So obviously we need to cut down – or stop altogether and use trains, buses, skype, phones and local options more: There is a big campaign with loads of info about this here and it includes ideas for alternatives and inspiration.
  • Have a car free day (or more than one) in the week – and use it to practise trying out local trips which you would usually drive. Most of our journeys are within a couple of miles of home and could be walked or cycled in under 30 mins. Here in Leicester it can take less time to cycle than to drive for some trips.
  • Find alternatives to driving your children to school or driving to work and try them out for a couple of weeks. Children learn better when they have more exercise and less exposure to air pollution and not taking them to school in the car and adding to the pollution around the school where they will be all day can help with both of these. Mums for lungs have lots of info about air pollution and are campaigning for clearer air around schools.
  • Don’t buy any new clothes for a year – buy secondhand, mend and swap. The Ethical Consumer are always a reliable info source around questions of consumerism  – this article is about the carbon footprint of clothes.
  • Only buy secondhand computers or phones. High tech electronics have high carbon footprints – not only the materials which have to be mined to make them, but also the machinery which has to be changed every time they are made smaller or fancier. 80% of the carbon footprint of a computer is in it’s embedded energy – ie it’s manufacture – and only 20% how you use it at home…and then there’s the issue of the conflict minerals used in mobile phones and computers. Second hand ones can work just as well and be cheaper, so maybe you could stop buying them new?
  • Give people non-bought presents – instead give them something you’ve made, a donation to a cause they care about, or a voucher offering to clean their bathroom, weed their garden or look after their children etc. Keep a present box of things which turn up in your life which you might pass on.
  • Pledge never to buy peat based compost ever again. Our peat bogs hold much of the worlds carbon – more than all the world’s trees put together – and yet we’re digging them up to make compost. Monty Don says use peat-free compost and Leicester Friends of the Earth and Climate Action L+L agree – we’re running a campaign on this at the moment. You can make a pledge here or see our facebook page here.
  • Switch your bank account. It sounds hard, but the banks make it easy to switch. Most banks invest in fossil fuels – without them the fossil fuel industry would find it much harder to continue causing climate change. The most transparent ethical banking option for both savings and a current account is Triodos Bank. They are miles ahead of any other bank in that they actually publish information about all their investments, and they only invest in ethical projects. If you want a mainstream bank though, the Cooperative Bank don’t invest in fossil fuels. There’s a whole campaign running to help us switch our money away from fossil fuels – you can have a look here.
  • Make a donation to Climate Action Leicester and Leicestershire – we run entirely on donations and volunteers, and a few small standing orders would really help! If you want to make a donation please click donate .
  • Switch to a green energy supplier for your electricity and gas. When it comes to green energy there’s a lot of greenwash out there. Buying a ‘green’tariff energy form a mainstream supplier does not means less carbon in the world. It just means the people on their not-green tarif get less renewable energy. What does make a difference is switiching to a supplier who only supply green energy and who are serious about building new renewable generation capacity. We recommend Good Energy and Ecotricity as 2 genuinely green energy providers who have been around for a long time.
  • Turn your heating controls down by a degree. Obviously, even if you are with a green supplier, the more energy you use heating your home, the less renewable energy is available to other people as only a certain amount is generated. Having a slightly cooler home and wearing an extra jumper can really reduce your home energy footprint – as can closing doors and only heating specific rooms.

Ideas around pushing and helping government, workplaces, businesses and friends to act to mitigate the climate emergency. It’s essential that our government stops supporting fossil fuels and starts putting in place policies which will reduce instead of exacerbate climate change – and they won’t do that unless they believe the public wants them to. So writing to your MP and councillors, educating yourself and your friends and making sure climate change is talked about everywhere is essential.

  • Have a conversation with someone you’ve never talked about climate change with before. It needs to become something we all think about and care about, and that means we need to create a culture of talking about it – at work, at home, with friends, on buses, in our place of worship, everywhere. There’s some great info about how to do this effectively on this webpage if you scan down a bit.
  • Read a specific book on global justice, and then talk about it with someone else. (Don’t buy it new!) We can recommend “Will the flower slip through the Asphelt” by Naomi Klein, Amitav Ghosh and others.
  • Get someone you know cycling. For many of us the hardest first step is going for our first few cycle rides – and it’s so much easier with a friend cheering us on. Do you know someone you could help – maybe they need to borrow a bike or fix theirs and you could help with that – or maybe they would try their cycle to work if you did it with them once or twice. Cycling UK have loads of info and support on cycling.
  • Respond yourself, and help 3 other city based people to respond (in support!) to Leicester City Council’s Workplace Parking Levy consultation when they open it in the Summer. The WPL is an excellent example of a policy which will genuinely improve our bus services as well as dicouraging car use – exactly the carrot and stick approach needed to help us stop driving and start walking, cycling and using the buses. Climate Action’s Transport working group will produce a breifing to help people do this when the consultation opens.
  • Write to your MP asking them to support and strengthen the Ecological Bill. There’s loads of information about it on this website.
  • Sign up to Climate Action Leicester and Leicestershire’s email list and read the emails – then you’ll get opportunities to do things locally and sometimes nationally.
  • Join a local Footpaths group. Footpaths: routes to a greener life is a series of 8 meetings deigned to help you reduce your personal carbon footprint in the company of others doing the same thing. It’s a great way to meet new people as well as making it much easier to act.

There are many apps in existance now which can help with action to tackle climate change. These apps have been tried, tested and approved by Charlotte Martindale from the events group – give them a go and see what you think!

  • EcosiaInstead of using Google, you could plant trees through your internet searches. All you have to do is install the Ecosia app or set your default search browser to Ecosia and get searching! Their profits go on planting trees (instead of private yachts!) and their servers run on 100% renewable energy.  
  • Good On You – Did you know about 10% of global emissions come from the fashion industry? Would you like to know what your favourite brand is doing about it? Good On You gives sustainability ratings on 2000+ fashion brands, allows you to find sustainable alternatives if your favourite brand isn’t doing well enough and allows you to send them a message to ask them to improve their practices. Look up Rapanui as an example of ‘Great’, and Boohoo as an example of ‘We avoid’ respectively. 
  • Giki Zero – If you want to cut your carbon footprint, this is a good place to start! OK, technically not an app (it’s a web-based app), but still very easy. Calculate your carbon footprint in a way that is quick and choose from over 100 tips to get you cutting your footprint in a way that suits you and isn’t overwhelming! Don’t want to go it alone? Giki can set up a team for you and your family / workplace / community to get cutting your footprints together.  
  • Giki Badges – Time to get scanning with the sustainable shopping companion! You can scan thousands of supermarket products to see whether they are sustainable, or search for a type of product and Giki will allow you to find the ones with the best ratings. Probably best not to try to ‘upgrade’ your entire shop in one go but pick a few products to change each time you shop and you’ll be well on your way!  
  • Moovit – if you’re not all that familiar with public transport but you’d like to start using it more then this is really helpful. It removes the need to search for the various timetables and will plan a journey for you with the relevant bus and train times, and even gives live updates!   
  • Olio – a whopping 1/3 of all food in the UK is wasted. What Olio aims to do is reduce that waste by helping people share unwanted food locally. You can give away or request food or non-food items on Olio for free instead of them going in the bin. The more people that join, the easier it is to share locally. Some local Tesco branches have now also joined – leftover bread or pastries anyone?
  • Refill – Never buy a bottle of water again. As long as you take your refillable bottle out with you, the app will tell you where you can get a refill (a café, shop, pub etc) and you can keep track of how many plastic bottles you’ve saved too. Refill advise that reusable containers are still safe to use during COVID-19, provided they are cleaned properly.