How To Get Involved In The Fight Against Climate Change
As the UK hosts COP26 in Glasgow, we wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, demanding immediate tangible action to redirect our current course of self destruction due to the climate crisis.
But it doesn’t stop there, we all need to do our bit. It’s easy to feel helpless as an individual when it comes to climate action. But here are some things you can do to get involved and help make a real difference:
1. Sign the Paid to Pollute Petition
Paid to Pollute is a campaign that focuses on stopping the government from investing money in fossil fuels.
The UK government has paid £4B of public money to North Sea oil and gas companies since signing the Paris Agreement in 2015. In recent years, big oil and gas companies have actually paid zero tax and received hundreds of millions in handouts. Paid to Pollute is taking the government to court to stop further public payments for big polluters as they argue this is unlawful and will encourage more oil and gas to be extracted, endangering our climate targets and the government’s commitment to net zero emissions.
The case is being brought forward by three individuals, one of them being Mikaela Loach, who we admire greatly here at BYBI. Mikaela is a climate justice activist, 4th year medical student, co-host of The Yikes Podcast & writer.
Mikaela says: “As a current medical student and member of the Jamaican diaspora, I am hugely concerned about the impact of the climate crisis both today and in the future. When visiting family in Jamaica I have seen first-hand the impacts of the climate crisis on it - as a low lying, previously colonised nation. So many other nations previously colonised by Britain, like Jamaica, are the ones experiencing the more severe impacts of the crisis today, despite having contributed so little to its causation.
“The climate crisis is also the greatest global health threat the world faces. As someone who works for justice and for improving health and saving lives, it would be unacceptable to not address the greatest threat to life globally.”
You can take action, too. Read more about the case and sign the Paid to Pollute petition here.
2. Write to Your Local MP
You can write to your local MP to demand change. It’s effective, relatively easy and doesn’t go unnoticed. But there is a right way to do it. Our first piece of advice? Check out climate policy specialist Helena’s (@earthbyhelena) post on Instagram. She collaborated with @writetoyourmp with some great tips and dos and don’ts. If you’re not sure who your local MP is, or where to address your letter to, put your postcode in here: writetothem.com. You can even send your message via that website.
Secondly, write your message. We’ve created a handy template below, including the demands we listed in our open letter, that you can copy and paste:
“Dear [YOUR MP],
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am writing to as your constituent to discuss tangible, immediate action in the fight against climate change.
The IPCC report this year stated that climate change is unequivocally caused by human activity. Since we started burning fossil fuels, in the industrial revolution, global temperatures have increased by over 1C, but globally, investments are still made into the fossil fuel industry at a current rate of £11M per minute.
The UK has paid £4B of public money to oil and gas industries since the 2015 Paris Agreement. I want to ask you to support businesses that have a genuine environmental focus and help lead us to a greener future, instead.
I ask that you support critical climate solutions in the following 4 ways:
- Create meaningful tax incentives for businesses to switch to renewable energy and to make significant carbon reductions across UK manufacturing
- Implement a more aggressive carbon tax than the UK Emissions Trading Scheme that penalises the biggest fossil fuel polluters, as these current penalties are not enough of a deterrent
- To Stop Cambo and all other new investments into oil and gas, ensuring a Just Transition away from fossil fuels
- Bring forward the UK’s net-zero goal from 2050 to 2030, to give us real hope of limiting global warming to +1.5C
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
3. Sign Your Business Up To The UN’s Net Zero Commitment
You can do this whether you’re a business owner or an employee. The UN’s Net Zero Commitment holds businesses accountable to cutting carbon emissions in half by 2030 and to reach ‘net zero’ by 2050 - and it’ll give you the tools to help you achieve those goals. Sign up for free here.
4. Read Up on What’s Going On
Knowledge is power. And those points listed above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to climate change. Below are a few links to find out what’s really going on in the climate crisis, and to give us the information we need to make smart choices that will affect our planet’s future:
- Some energy firms are greenwashing. This article published in The Guardian looks at so-called ‘renewable’ electricity deals that were investigated by the UK government.
- Background on Cambo, a new oil and gas field planned to be developed offshore the Shetland Islands in Scotland.
- As we move towards the UK’s 2050 net zero emissions target, environmental activists are campaigning for a ‘just transition’ for North Sea oil and gas workers to ensure no one gets left behind and that communities who rely on these sources of income are not devastated - much like the closures of coal mines and steelworks in the 1980s and ‘90s. Read more about the campaign here.
- The UK government has an official strategy that sets out policies and proposals for decarbonising all sectors of the UK economy to meet its net zero target by 2050. Read the full policy paper.
Together, we can combat climate change. But we need to act NOW.