Lauren MacCallum – 5 Effective Ways To Combat Climate Change

Lauren MacCallum photographed via Zoom by Owen Tozer, June 2020

Episode 127 guest Lauren MacCallum of Protect Our Winters on five simple ways you can take immediate, effective climate action right now.

1. Move To An Ethical Bank

“You’ve probably heard the word ‘divestment’ being mentioned recently. So what does it mean and how can you do it?

Divestment basically means taking investments out of something, and it’s a really powerful tactic, especially when used en masse. 

Who is your bank lending to? Are they using your money to literally bankroll fossil fuel extraction, like Barclays and HSBC? Are their investment practices leading to social damage or recessions that hinder green progress? If so, it’s time to make a change.

The Good Shopping Guide has a great ranking system of banks on a range of sustainability criteria. The Current Account Switch service makes it much easier than you’d think. If you check around some banks might even pay you to switch current accounts. Make sure to consider your savings accounts too.

Protect Our Winters UK have also partnered with Switch It, another handy platform to quickly check how your bank ranks and provide alternatives. Be sure to switch before the next Switch Day, October 1st”. 

2. Show Up When It Matters

“It doesn’t take much to show love to a campaign that an environmental NGO is running. It really helps when members of our community like, repost, share, sign up, sign a petition and generally help to get the word out there. Remember, civic support equals parliamentary support, so the more we can show that members of our community want to see more ambitious climate action, the better. 

So find NGO’s that speak to you. Is that SAS? POW? Save our Rivers? Trash Free Trails? Pitch up when they need you. 

Another effective and simple tactic is register to vote. In the last UK general election, over 2 million young people aged between 18-30 weren’t registered to vote,  while voter turnout was down on the 2017 general election. Which means that in the face of the climate crisis we’re not showing up when it matters. 

Write to your local representative and tell them that you are concerned about climate change, and that you’re not going to vote for them at the next general election if they don’t show more ambition to sort it out. Don’t use a template; make it personal, and use They Work For You as a tool to find out who your MP is and what they’ve done in your name. 

If we want to play, we need to protect. If we don’t look after politics, it will look after us. 

If you’re reading this in Scotland, campaigning for the May 2021 Election is going to start after party conference time in October, making it a perfect time to start flexing our collective climate muscle”. 

3. Change Your Energy Provider

“The big energy companies rely on this being too much of a faff to change, thus keeping millions of us on overpriced contracts based heavily on fossil fuels. Switching to the right company will assist the development of new renewables rather than oil and gas. 

The important thing is to buy from a provider that creates additional renewables as some of the options promoted as ‘green’ are in fact merely greenwashing. Good Energy and Ecotricity are examples of strong choices – for more information on this, as well as to find other companies to price check, see this Which? writeup. 

You can also save money with this one – the Big Clean Switch make it easy to compare 7 good options, and sees households save an average of £230 by switching. Just do it”. 

4. Educate Yourself

“We’ve heard it all before, but knowledge really is power. Being educated on the science and the main drivers of what is causing the climate crisis is really important in shifting behaviour and organisational change. 

At POW UK we understand how daunting it can be to wrap your head around what seems to be a gigantic topic. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Manchester based Carbon Literacy project to design our own POW UK accredited course, which teaches you in our outdoor language and context “an awareness of the carbon costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis.” 

It makes the science accessible and gives you the confidence to chat about issues, as well as the solutions behind them. 

If you would like to attend the course contact POW UK’s programme manager Dom Winter at dominic.winter@protectourwinters.uk

If a day’s worth of training isn’t something you think you could commit to, try listening to environmental podcasts – I’ve also really been enjoying the Waterpeople Podcast as well as Type 2 obviously”. 

5. Move To An Ethical Pension

“Listen I know it’s super dry and not exactly the most exciting of topics, but this really does have a massive impact on financing fossil fuels. Plus it’s complete hypocrisy: your pension is there for you to help you enjoy the future, and it doesn’t matter how much is in your pot if the planet is burning. 

Currently, local councils in the UK have £14 billion invested in fossil fuel companies. That’s £14 billion quid directly contributing to the planet’s destruction. So it’s important that you make sure your pension isn’t contributing. 

So I get that looking at your pension is something that you don’t do often, and probably a task that fills you with dread – but switching really can have a huge impact.

ShareAction has loads more information including a guide to choosing a different pensions. As they put it – what sort of world is your money building?”