James Crawley is a Y Care International returned volunteer who is currently in Paris for Camp Climate – an event focusing on youth participation at COP21. In this blog, he lists five easy ways that you can start to tackle climate change at a grassroots level.

COP21 (conference of Parties) hopes to bring world leaders together to create a binding ‘agreement’ on addressing climate change. It can all seem a bit technical at times and perhaps it seems like there is nothing we can do. The good news is that’s not true! Here are some ways you can tackle climate change at a grassroots level:  

1) Divestment

You can join your local Fossil Free divestment campaign – lobbying local governments, organisations and public institutions to stop investing in fossil fuels. The Fossil Free movement is the fastest growing global divestment (also called ‘dis-investment’) campaign in history, with the world having pledged to withdraw $2.6 trillion of investments. The momentum behind this campaign is now unstoppable.

18 UK universities have pledged to move their money out of fossil fuels, with 10 universities promising over £115 million ahead of the Paris talks. Our activists at Fossil Free Merseyside recently secured support from University of Liverpool student union, as well as having Liverpool City Council review over £350 million of fossil fuel investments they hold via Merseyside Pension Fund. During a short two hour slot in Lush Spa Liverpool, we managed to get 110 petitions from high street shoppers supporting divestment of Merseyside Pension Fund.

2) Reinvestment

Divestment offers an opportunity for local people to develop a relationship with where the money goes to. We can use this as an opportunity to demand reinvestment in renewable energy sources. The move to renewables would be better for people, better for the environment, and better for the economy.

We can look at Germany’s energy transition for inspiration, where thousands of jobs have been created as part of the energy revolution which has seen hundreds of energy cooperatives being established across the country as people take more control over their own energy distribution.

3) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We can massively prevent the amount of waste we dispose of by changing simple habits in our life – and this starts at the supermarket. Do you really need to buy that item? Can you buy lose fruit and vegetables rather than packaged? Will that actually get eaten, or will it be thrown away? By reducing our everyday purchases we can really reduce our waste.

We can reduce our paper trail by moving online; we can buy multipurpose cleaning products rather than lots of different ones; we can buy products that can be reused such as rechargeable batteries; and we can upcycle ‘trash’ or ‘waste’ in a variety of creative ways.

Christmas ‘gift bag’ and herb pot made at Upcycling workshop.

Christmas ‘gift bag’ and herb pot made at Upcycling workshop.

For example, our Transition Liverpool group recently held a Christmas workshop, upcycling waste into a range of gifts including herb pots, bags, and necklaces. The process was fun, injecting a deep sense of community back into Christmas. Here are some pictures of our event! You can find out more about recycling here.

4) Write to your local MP

Write to your MPs asking what they’re doing about climate change and make sure they’re representing your views. They work for you! Let’s hold them accountable for the things they do in office and let’s make sure they start addressing climate change!

5) Join a Local campaign group

There are tonnes of climate groups you can join, with members usually being friendly, open and empathetic, offering a warm sense of community and long lasting change. You don’t have to be politically engaged; all you need is ambition to make a difference! Here are some groups I’ve worked with who fit the bill:

What do you think?

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