Like never before, I want to secure a better future for our children and the next generation. I want them to have clean air, be healthy and live be happy and I know this is something shared by most nearly everyone. This is why I fight for nature, because it offers the solution to how you create a world where people can live these calm, sustainable and healthy lives. Therefore, climate change remains one of the most important topics when discussing how to preserve the natural world for the future.
In the year following the rise of forces such as Extinction Rebellion, public knowledge of climate change and the dangers it brings have grown exponentially. Current world events aside, it is now one of the biggest and most important subjects in many people’s minds.
This demonstrates a huge step in the right direction in terms of protecting the natural world. I and others like me have been working in wildlife education for years, attempting to slowly raise the profile of issues facing nature (climate change, pollution, habitat loss etc.). I believe 2019 was partly the result of this work, when people started to take physical action to bring this problem under the nose of the wider population.
While this is a hugely positive step, it has also had an unexpected negative affect – eco-anxiety. Otherwise known as environmental guilt, this is the pressure people put on themselves when they feel they should be doing more to tackle climate change and help the environment. But because nearly everything we do can be linked to the problems wild ecosystems face, it can make people feel anxious and truly overwhelming.
But in parallel with the COVID-19 outbreak, we must work together to keep each other positive about the situation. There are small things we can all do to help the climate crisis, and reducing eco-guilt may actually be the first step.
Every little helps
Once you feel the need to do something to help the environment it can be over-whelming to know where to begin. The seemingly never-ending list of problems can ground people’s enthusiasm to next to nothing, which is (in an oxymoronic state) the opposite of what needs to happen in order to fight for nature and our own futures.
Nearly everything we do could, in some way, be linked to the issues faced by nature (even COVID-19). It is not possible or realistic to think that people can strip all of these factors out of their lives. The best thing a single person can do is to focus on just one aspect at a time.
By accepting that one person cannot fix everything, that person can free themselves over the eco-responsibility to save the entire planet and lift the heavy burden of eco-anxiety. This allows freedom to act and by doing anything, even something little, you are able to help. Examples of actions you can start today include:
- Start at home
- Recycle more
- Design your garden for nature
- Stay local
- Eat less meat and dairy
- Of the meat you eat, check where it comes from
- Work from home
- Carry water with you
- Record your garden wildlife
- Buy old not new, if you can
- Spend your pound wisely
- Shop organic
- Plant a tree
- Don’t judge those who seem ‘not to care’
- Litter pick on walks
- Use more public transport
- Write to your MP
Over the next few blogs I will be going into more details about each of the above to demonstrate how small amounts of action can have the biggest differences.
Things have not gone so far that they cannot be slowed and countless species need not go extinct forever if we all make small efforts to change our ways. I feel it is important that even during the current COVID-19 outbreak, we do not lose sight of how close we are getting to a world where actions help us truly tackle the environmental emergency.
For now, I will leave you with a great piece filmed by ITV a couple of months before the lockdown. I was asked to show the positive action around tackling climate change alongside a farmer and small shop owner. The 4 minute video perfectly shows what can happen if everyone does a little something to help slow climate change whilst easing the pressures of eco-anxiety.
There is enough public support for change and enough time to turn the tide on the disappearance of nature from many places. During these unprecedented times when many of us are on lock-down at home, let’s use this time to plan for the world after coronavirus. A world which we can mould through the smallest of actions.