As soon as I heard Sir David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet was released, I could not wait to see another amazing documentary, which over the years have inspired millions by bringing the natural world into our homes.
He has always shared his passion for exploring our vast planet and a desire to protect it for future generations. Now aged 94 he has visited every continent on the globe, documenting the living world in all its variety and wonder.
A Life on Our Planet was different from the other documentaries, it was a powerful account of our impact on nature, it was honest, direct, heart-wrenching, with an urgent message for change.
We are the first generation to see and understand the impact we are having on the natural world, the next generation is probably the last to be able to do anything to turn this situation around and give hope for future generations.
Do you know the 4 big changes that will have the biggest impact?
These are from Sir David Attenborough himself.
Reduce our population size
Slowing the birth rate will have a massive impact, suggestions are that this is beginning to happen, David Attenborough says ‘’people are having fewer children as societies develop’’
Globally, since the year 2000, the number of people aged under 16 has hardly changed, suggesting the main reason our population is still rising is that people are living longer.
To slow the population growth rate, we need to raise people out of poverty, improve access to healthcare globally and enable children, especially girls, to stay in school for as long as possible
“This will change everything – it gives us the opportunity we need to regain our balance.”
By upgrading to efficient food production and reducing our consumption of meat, humanity will require far less space to provide for ourselves and instead leave more for grasslands
This will in turn reduce deforestation and our demand for freshwater, and ensure more people are fed with healthier, more affordable food.
We need to halt deforestation as forests are the planet’s biggest ally in locking away carbon. Forests must be more biodiverse as this will make them more effective at absorbing carbon. Crops like oil palm and soya should only be grown on land that was deforested long ago.
Transition to renewable energy
Sir David Attenborough says humanity must move to phase out fossil fuels and replace them with renewable energy sources, including the “eternal energies of nature” such as wind, water and sunlight.
This will not only slow the warming of the planet, and the acidification of the ocean, but it will lead to clean air for all of us.
Protect our oceans
By working together to effectively manage our oceans, humanity can establish a “global network of no-fish zones”
He also calls for a treaty on the use of international waters in order to “restore the health” of our oceans so they “produce more fish for us all to eat”.
Here are 25 ways you can help the Planet – Save Our Environment and Planet Earth
Simple things you do can make a difference
Saving the planet sounds too big a job for you and I, doesn’t it? And realistically, it is.
But there are many simple ways we can do our bit to help.
These are steps that everyone can and should start now to help reduce the effect of years of abuse on our planet. This will help to shape a better future living in balance with nature.
1. Reduce, reuse and recycle
Cut down on what you throw away. Follow The 3 R’s to conserve natural resources and landfill space
It is possible to make twenty recycled cans with the same amount of energy it takes to make just one new one. Glass is another great saving. Every ton of glass that is recycled saves nine gallons of the oil used for fuel to produce new glass.
Take a look at our blog ‘Thanking the nation: ‘Together – We Recycle’
2. Reduce your waste
We need to make wasting our resources unacceptable in all aspects of our life. Every product we buy has an environmental footprint and could end up in landfills. The impact of plastic pollution on our oceans is becoming increasingly clear, having drastic impacts on marine life.
Recycling what we can, reduces the amount of new materials we are making, and upcycling is a creative way to make old items into something more valuable. This could be reusing a jam jar as a candle holder or using old tins as plant pots – the possibilities are endless!
It is not just the products we buy. It is estimated that a third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted. Do your bit by eating up leftovers and use any ingredients you have spare to make interesting meals. Try to waste as little food as possible and compost the organic waste you can’t eat.
3. Think about what you are buying
We should all do more to be more conscious about what we buy, and where we buy it from.
Buying less but better-quality products will save you money, reduce waste and improve your environmental footprint. Ask yourself why a product is so cheap? The answer will be simple…
It will not be ethically or sustainably made.
Living a less consumerist lifestyle can benefit you, the people who produce your products and our planet.
Use your purchasing power and make sure your money is going towards positive change. By supporting eco-friendly products which are less damaging to the environment, you are encouraging companies to source and produce their products in a sustainable way.
Food production is a major factor in wildlife extinction. What we eat contributes around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions and is responsible for almost 60% of global biodiversity loss.
Farming animals for meat and dairy requires space and huge inputs of water and feed. Today, one of the biggest causes of forest loss is the expansion of agricultural land for animal feed production.
Producing meat creates vastly more carbon dioxide than plants such as vegetables, grains and legumes.
Moving away from a meat-dominated diet towards a more plant-based diet can lower your impact on the environment. Vegetarian and vegan foods are massively on the rise and becoming far more common in restaurants, cafes and supermarkets, so you’ll rarely struggle.
Cutting down on meat and dairy products can reduce your food bills and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
5. Think before you travel
One of the most efficient ways of lowering your environmental impact is by travelling responsibly. This means, whenever you can, choosing a more sustainable way to get from A to B – walk or cycle when you can.
Transport is one of the most polluting sectors in the UK. But holidaying closer to home can make a big impact on your carbon footprint. One short return flight can account for 10% of your yearly carbon emissions, and long-haul flights can completely determine your carbon impact.
If you have the time you can usually get trains to European destinations to cut your carbon footprint. Get creative and try to find alternate ways to travel.
If you do choose to go abroad and are looking to see the local wildlife, keep in mind how to go about it ethically.
Attractions that involve you being able to pet, hold or feed animals for money are generally a no-go. Be wary of attractions involving any unnatural interactions with animals. As a rule: observe animals from afar in their natural habitat and look to support local conservation projects.
Volunteer for clean-ups in your community or with a wildlife/conservation charity, there are so many different things you can do. It is a great way to meet new people and get out and about. Volunteering always gives you a feeling of happiness knowing you have done something amazing.
7. Buy Local Products
Where possible, buy local produce. This saves all the pollution incurred by transporting goods long distances. Plus, they will be fresher, and you know the origin.
8. Say No to Plastic Carrier Bags
Plastic carrier bags are not biodegradable, nor are they recyclable. They sit in landfills where they often end up polluting the ocean and infiltrating food sources. Use a stronger, reusable bag.
9. Do not Throw It Away
You know the old saying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Well, it is often true.
Do not throw away perfectly good things just because you are fed up with them, or no longer have use for them. Instead, donate them to a local charity shop, or list them on a free collection site online.
Look out for eco-friendly businesses making products from recycled materials. Contact them to donate your unwanted goods.
10. Use A Professional Car Wash Service
Car wash services are trying to reduce costs and maximise profits, therefore, they have the optimal amount of water for a thorough clean down to a fine art.
Using these services ensures minimal water wastage. If everyone in the UK who washes their own cars used a car wash even once, it would save billions of gallons of water per year!
11. Choose Matches Over a Lighter
The majority of lighters these days are disposable lighters, 1 billion of them end up in landfills every year. They are also made of plastic and filled with butane, neither of which are environmentally friendly. Choose matches instead, ideally the paper ones. The wood ones are made from trees, but the paper ones are made from recycled paper, so you are doing no harm.
Try to avoid using a hosepipe – use a watering can taking water from your water butt. Try to water first thing before the sun is up to reduce water wasted to evaporation.
Rake old clippings or leaves by hand or leave them to fertilise your soil. Use vinegar on weeds instead of harsh weed killers.
13. Plant Your Own Tree
There are multiple benefits to planting a tree in your garden. It is good for the environment both the land and the air, it can give needed shade. You could make it an annual event where each family member plants a new tree.
14. Work from Home
Now during the Covid19 pandemic, most of us can work from home. If possible, get an arrangement in place with your employer where you can work from home some or all the time. This saves fuel, which will reduce air pollution and save you money. And it also means you can work in your pyjamas with no make-up if you want to! That must be a Bonus.
15. Turn Off Lights When You are Not in The Room
You do not need to light up a room no one is using. Save energy and money by getting into the habit of switching off the lights when you leave the room. For standard bulbs, do this each time you leave. For energy savers, do this if you are leaving the room for more than fifteen minutes.
16. Adjust your Room Temperature
Adjusting the temperature in your home by just one degree can save you 10% on your energy use over the year. This is another great saving you and another great help for the planet. Where possible, set a timer so your heating does not need to be on when you are not home.
17. Choose a Shower rather than a bath
Switching your bath for a shower can make a huge difference. Baths use approximately double the amount of water a shower uses. This not only saves water, but it saves you money on heating the excess water too.
18. Use Natural beauty/skincare Products
Using natural and organic beauty products ensures that you are reducing your environmental impact by not using products that are made of heavy chemicals. You also avoid irritation to your skin and unwanted side effects that could be damaging to your health.
19. Reusable water Bottles
Bottled water is a must when you are on the go but buy a reusable water bottle and then refill it from the tap or filter. Around 90% of water bottles end up in landfills rather than being recycled.
20. Eco-friendly clothes washing
For your own pocket, and the good of the environment, do not wash half loads. Wait until you have enough to do a load and cut your laundry in half. Also, think about the water temperature. If every household in the UK switched from a hot to a warm cycle, it could save the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil per day.
Do your clothes a favour and switch off the dryer. Hang clothes outside to dry naturally or on an airer. The material will last longer, it will smell and feel fresher and of course, you are saving on that power usage!
Always use non-toxic, chemical-free washing and cleaning products.
Take a look at our blog ‘Why should you use organic products for the family & home?’
21. Do not Pre-Heat Your Oven
Unless it is essential, for example, if you’re making bread, you don’t need to pre-heat the oven. You can just set it away when you are ready to start cooking. Bonus tip: When checking the food, look through the door rather than opening it until the final check.
22. Turn Your Computer Off Overnight
If you turn your computer off every night, again you will reduce the power you use. You will save an average of £12 a year. It’s not a huge amount, but better in your pocket than your energy supplier’s, right? Infact, turn all your plugs off at night !
23. Keep informed
One of the best things you can do is to keep yourself informed – the more you know the better. It leaves you better equipped to have those conversations with your friends and family and the people you want to influence.
Get yourself clued up on the facts, stay up to date with recent news on the state of our natural world and work out what you can do.
We have the world at our fingertips, so learn from influential people, keep up with the news and research organisations that are working to make our planet a better place.
24. Spread the word
We are the first generation to know we’re destroying the world, and we could be the last that can do anything about it.
Speaking up is one of the most powerful things you can do especially if it is to the right people. Talk to your MP. Tell them to commit to action to protect our natural world.
Contact the brands you buy from and get them to tell you how their products are sourced. Use social media – this is one of the most effective ways to get brands to listen to you, so tell them that you want a change.
It is not just about speaking to the people in charge. Talk to your friends, neighbours and colleagues and get them to make positive changes too. Speak up, speak to everyone, and make your voice heard.
25. Be Political
Everyone in the UK over the age of 18 can vote for their MP. This is an opportunity to vote for someone who is representative of you and your views and will make the environment a top priority.
Being politically engaged is not limited to voting and it certainly is not limited by how young you are. Every year more and more young people are working together to show our political leaders that they want change.
We need to ensure we hold our politicians accountable. You can do that by contacting your local MP or attending constituency meetings where you will have an opportunity to make your voice heard. Find out who your MP is and how you can contact them.
We can all make a difference, let each and every one of us take responsibility and learn from the great Sir David Attenborough – if you haven’t yet seen ‘A life on our planet’ watch it today.
Start to make that change together.
This is my own opinion.
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