2021 is a big year for the environment. Shockwaves from the pandemic are still rippling through the global economy at a time when drastic action is needed if we are to limit global warming below 2 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement.
As the UK government prepares to host the G7 Summit in June and September’s COP26 – crucial events for progressing the green agenda at a global level – what can we, as individuals, do to push them in the right direction?
Very simply, small individual efforts can combine to make a big impact. And the more effort we can make, and the smarter we focus our energies, the better!
At Zero-Living, we have built a lifestyle platform for sustainable brands that introduces our customers to ethically produced, quality products that will help them reduce waste and use fewer natural resources. As consumers, we can send signals to business with our spending – the idea being that increasing demand for sustainable goods will lead to more sustainable practices in production. This is one of many actions we can take as individuals that can make a big difference as part of a wider movement.
But, this shift in consumer behaviour, whilst a crucial component of a transition to a more sustainable world, is just one piece of the puzzle. Combining our voices to put pressure on governments and big business to make positive changes to their policies and business practices is one of the most effective actions we can take. There are many ways to do this, but a simple start is to get involved with environmental movements, charities and NGOs – for example, through making donations, joining protests or signing petitions.
To help get started, we have curated a list of five exciting, well-backed and meaningful petitions aiming to influence the UK government in this crucial year:
1. “Call for nature’s recovery by 2030.”
Wildlife and Countryside Link is the largest environment and wildlife coalition in England, bringing together 57 organisations to use their strong joint voice for the protection of nature. Their petition calls on the Prime Minister to set a legally binding target in the Bill to reverse the loss of nature in England by 2030. Sign here
2. “We made Seaspiracy. Help us protect 30% of our oceans by 2030 from industrial fishing.”
This petition on Change.org was started by the makers of Seaspiracy. It calls on George Eustice, the environment secretary, to create and enforce ‘no-catch’ marine reserves in at least 30% of UK waters. Currently, just 4% of UK waters have any protection at all. Sign here
3. “Introduce charges on carbon emissions to tackle climate crisis and air pollution.”
Created by a campaigner from ClientEarth, an environmental law charity using the law to create powerful change that protects life on earth, the petition asks the government to introduce charges on producers of greenhouse gas emissions to meet UK climate targets. The UK’s new Emissions Trading System, replacing the EU equivalent, currently only covers one third of emissions. Sign here
4. “We are calling on the UK government to ensure the ocean is at the centre of climate conversations at COP26.”
Cornish charity, Surfers against Sewage, have created this petition aiming to put the ocean front and centre at COP26. Specifically, they are calling for ocean rewilding and blue carbon habitat restoration, the implementation of highly protected marine areas, and the recognition of the importance of marine ecosystems for human wellbeing. Sign here
5. “Stop a new attack on the rules that protect the environment.”
After its exit from the EU, the UK government is holding a consultation on replacing the environmental principles previously governed by the bloc. This open letter from Friends of the Earth aims to defend against the watering down of these principles, which have helped to win a ban on bee-harming pesticides and improved regulation on business’ recycling. Sign here
All signed? Don’t stop there! Make sure to subscribe to email alerts from these great charities and follow them on social to stay up to date with your latest opportunities to make a difference. If you want to make changes closer to home, check out these eco-friendly home products you will use every day.