John Turner, CCF Volunteer
I recently read a fascinating article from The Guardian who asked ten green leaders at the forefront of the climate movement for simple steps ordinary people can take in the fight against climate change. The answers ranged from political activism and support for government initiatives through to lifestyle changes you can make in your daily life.
Many of the suggestions chimed with our philosophy at Cambridge Carbon Footprint (CCF) – encouraging people to look carefully at their lives and the impact they are having on the planet, and then consider making small changes that will not only reduce their carbon footprint but will also improve their quality of life. These included ideas familiar to most CCF supporters such as reviewing your travel plans, insulating your home, reducing your consumption and changing your diet.
All of these steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle are in reach now. And it doesn’t need to be thought of as an onerous chore, a giving up of life’s pleasures. In fact, my experience is that knowing you are actually making a difference (however small) is both hugely satisfying and also more important than you might think. Every person that makes changes in their life will also influence others – friends and family will notice and over time will feel more confident to make their own lifestyle choices.
I have made alterations to various aspects of my life over the last few years (becoming vegetarian; installing solar panels; selling one of the cars; refusing to fly short-haul; increasing insulation; only buying second hand clothes), and reaction from sceptical friends has gradually moved from amusement and ridicule (hey, at least they’re talking about the issues!) through to grudging respect and discussions about how to make similar changes in their own lives.
And as momentum grows, so the pressure for government and business to take more radical action on climate change will grow. After all, as Margaret Mead, the American cultural anthropologist, says “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. “