Lockdown Eco-Actions You Can Do at Home
With the latest restrictions happening in these dark winter months, we’re all spending most of “lockdown 2” actually in our homes (rather than in our gardens or out in nature, which the nice weather enabled us to do in the first lockdown). There’s no reason to get bored though. If you fancy a break from box sets on Netflix, there are lots of eco-actions you can take from the comfort of your sofa! Read on to learn more about steps you can take to tackle the climate crisis from the safety of your own home (you can even do them in your pyjamas!):
1. Move Your Money
Switching your current account and savings account to a more ethical financial institution is one of the biggest impact things you can do (depending on how rich you are of course!), and also one of the easiest. These days you can open a new account online and your new bank or building society will switch all your outgoing payments over within 7 days. You may even get a better interest rate, although rates are pretty dire across the board at the current time.
You may not realise that most of the mainstream high street banks are funding dirty industries, including fossil fuels, mining and deforestation. This means they are using YOUR hard-earned cash to finance companies that are trashing the planet. So, take a stand and move your money to somewhere more in line with your ethics (and remember to tell your old bank why you left).
According to Ethical Consumer Magazine, Barclays is the biggest banker of fossil fuels in Europe and should be avoided, followed by HSBC (including their brands M&S Money and First Direct). The other companies to avoid are Citigroup, Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland), NatWest Group (NatWest, RBS, Coutts) and Santander (Santander, Carter Allen) – so, most of the most well-known banks!
Ethical Consumer recommend switching to one of their “best buys”, such as Triodos, Nationwide and Cumberland Building Societies and the Co-operative Bank. As a general rule, building societies have a better track record on sustainable investing than banks. There’s some useful info at Good With Money and you can see how good (or bad) your bank or building society is at Switch It.
I recently got round to switching our current account and it was so easy, I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner! It surprised me how happy it made me and I think this should be top of everyone’s Lockdown To-do List!
2. Unsubscribe and Delete
The energy used to send and store a single email may not be huge, but when you think about all those old emails in your inbox, and everyone else’s inboxes, the digital footprint is very significant. Do your bit to reduce your digital footprint by unsubscribing from any marketing emails that don’t interest you and deleting old emails that you no longer need (this is admittedly taking me some time as I’ve got messages going back to 2006!).
If you get a lot of annoying catalogues or junk mail through the post, contact each company and ask to be removed from their mailing list. Under GDPR, companies have to delete your details by law if you ask them to, and most have a contact email address on their website or in their marketing materials, so this is easy to do from home. It’s also worth registering with the Mail Preference Service to stop receiving personally addressed unsolicited mail. To stop junk mail that’s unaddressed you need to fill out this Royal Mail form and physically post it to the Freepost address. You can do this whilst out exercising, but you should probably change out of your pyjamas to do this!
This is a satisfying eco-action to do during lockdown when you’ve run out of physical clutter to clear from your cupboards!
3. Educate Yourself
Being stuck at home is no excuse to let your mind switch off. Why not use the time to learn more about the issues facing our planet. There are some great podcasts you can listen to if you want pick up some handy tips on living a more sustainable lifestyle while stuck at home. A couple I’ve enjoyed recently are A Sustainable Life Podcast and What Planet Are We On? …with Liz Bonnin.
There are also some good Netflix documentaries, such as David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet; Kiss The Ground; and some of the Dirty Money episodes (Point Comfort and Dirty Gold).
If reading’s more your thing, why not subscribe to Ethical Consumer Magazine or buy some second hand books from World of Books. Good ones to start with are:
No One is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide by Jen Gale
Turning the Tide on Plastic: How Humanity (And You) Can Make Our Globe Clean Again by Lucy Siegle
The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres
Wilding by Isabella Tree
I hope these eco-actions will keep you occupied and moving in the right direction over the next few weeks (or months!). Climate change isn’t going to go away, so you may as well use your enforced time at home to take practical steps towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle. If you want more ideas of steps you can take, check out 8 Easy Eco-Actions.