Help Prevent Climate Change in Your Community
When it comes to preventing climate change, if the whole “thinking globally, acting locally” maxim has anything to offer, then it must surely lie within our local communities.
While images of dwindling rainforests and melting glaciers are powerful icons of the dangers of global warming, for most of us, it is well-nigh impossible to influence such big issues directly. As a result, the climate change debate can often seem rather distant and remote from our everyday lives – but it needn’t be.
If we all go in for a little local action – changing the things we can change within our own immediate surroundings for the better – the effects can be surprising and if every local community were to do the same, they could be truly staggering. Preventing climate change really can begin at home!
Shop LocalFarmers’ markets have been one of the fastest growing community shopping trends of recent years, offering shoppers the chance to buy products directly from local food producers. Aside of providing very competitive prices, they can represent a major saving in carbon emissions too – and with our food travelling nearly 20 billion miles at the cost of an estimated 18 million tonnes of CO2, that has got to be good news.
We’ve all got the message about food miles – but it’s not only sourcing what we eat locally that makes a difference to our carbon footprints. Choosing to shop close to where we live supports our community directly, of course, but just as importantly it means that we can often get all we want within a short walk of our own front doors and leave our cars at home. Communities are all about people – and shopping in our local area is one of the best ways of connecting with them.
Local ActionIncreasingly, community based initiatives are being developed to improve the local environment, campaign for better public transport, provide neighbourhood facilities or promote green awareness within the area. Getting involved with these sorts of projects at whatever level you feel comfortable with can offer a very real way to make a difference – and not all of these sorts of projects have to be particularly formal or structured.
There are many opportunities for like-minded individuals to get together informally to do their bit. With climate change and green concerns firmly established as the issues of the moment, a surprisingly large number of your neighbours will probably share many of the same concerns as you yourself do. From talking to schools and local groups about the whole environmental issue to encouraging your friends to compost, there is plenty of opportunity for everyone to play their part.
Your Local AuthorityA growing number of local authorities across the length and breadth of Britain have come to the realisation that climate change represents a major threat and demands a cohesive strategy at the local level to deal with it. Many of them have begun to produce comprehensive responses to climate change – principally addressing how they will reduce their own carbon footprint or deal with the predicted events which will affect their area.
In addition, recent changes to legislation have established an over-arching strategic role for local councils which will ensure that each authority develops a community plan to deal with the effects of global warming.
Not only can this support direct action itself, it can also have a major influence on other related plans – particularly in terms of housing, local facilities and transport. As central government has realised, a community-wide response to climate change can only be made possible if everyone is on-board and feels a part of the process – and few issues are likely to engage a community quite so readily.
As a result, town halls across the UK are open and receptive to hear ideas and concerns – so there has never been a better time to get involved.
Tackling climate change inevitably calls for a multi-layered response and lying between the international and the personal, community-based approaches to dealing with the threat of global warming provide the perfect mix of the two. With all the benefits of numbers, but without losing the personal touch, preventing climate change at the local level has much to recommend it – and best of all, the chance to make a real difference is right on your doorstep.