2018 bought with it some big changes – the Blue Planet II effect meant that plastic pollution had a high profile, with lots of people looking for ways to reduce their own plastic use, and pressure being put on the big retailers and manufacturers to make changes too. Fast fashion and all things rubbish got prime TV time as well with brilliant documentaries on the BBC (Fashions Dirty Secrets and The Secret Life of Landfill). Even accounting for the ‘echo chamber’ of my social media bubble, it feels like things are shifting. Like more and more people are waking up to the disastrous impacts of our throwaway lifestyles and looking for ways that they can live more sustainably. Which is vital, as we also learned in 2018 from the IPCC report that we have just 12 years to take ‘unprecedented action’ if we are to mitigate the worse effects of climate change. The scale of this ‘unprecedented action’ is overwhelming. It needs huge shifts in policy from governments and big business and it seems that at present there isn’t the political will or momentum to make this happen. But that doesn’t mean that we as individuals and as families can’t take action. And it doesn’t even have to be ‘unprecedented’.

2019 is the year we grab hold of the momentum that is building around action on climate change, and we run with it. It’s the year we step up to take action, and the year we step into our power as individuals to create change and transform the world. All through our own small acts, our daily choices, our conversations.Let’s all make a #promisefortheplanet this year. Big or small. And share it far and wide. Share it on social media. Share with friends and family and work colleagues when they ask you if you’re setting any New Year’s Resolutions. Share it with your kids and encourage them to make their own.Let’s take action AND spread the word at the same time. Can we reach millions?Share your promise for the planet using the #promisefortheplanet hashtag on social media and let’s see how many people we can reach, and how many promises we can make. Let’s transform the world in 2019 (and beyond).Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Switch you energy to a renewable supplier – this ONE act will last all year and is more impactful than either giving up meat or giving up your car.
  • Reduce your meat consumption, especially beef. Eat less and eat better – aim for one entirely meat free day a week. Or pledge to source all your meat from local, organic suppliers, or reduce your meat consumption by a certain percentage.
  • Tackle the ‘Big 4’ single use plastics – pledge to replace disposable water bottles, coffee cups, plastic bags and straws with re-usable versions.
  •  Go car-free – not entirely (although if you can, that’s awesome!) but can you do one day a week? Or more?
  • Shop secondhand – household consumption is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Think before you buy and see if you can find what you need secondhand before looking for new.
  • Get mending – don’t just toss your broken things ‘away’ (there is no ‘away’…), see if you can fix them first. You Tube is an amazing resource where you can find videos for the most unlikely of mends. Alternatively, see if you have a Repair Cafe near you where you can take your broken things to be fixed by their team of volunteer menders.
  • Go on a fast fashion fast – how long could you go without buying new clothes? Set yourself a challenge – you could try a year of only secondhand clothes, or if you’re feeling brave, a year of no new clothes at all…
  • Reduce your energy and water consumption – check out your bills for this year, and set the household the challenge of reducing them in 2019. 4 minute showers, switching things off standby, switching your lightbulbs to LEDS – all these little things add up!
  • Love your leftovers – if food waste were a country it would be the third biggest CO2 emitter after the USA and China. Pledge to reduce your food waste by meal planning, and getting canny with your leftovers (check out Love Food Hate Waste for lots of great ideas and recipes).
  • Go on a ‘rubbish diet’ – see how much you can reduce your landfill waste by in 2019. We haven’t put our back bin out for about 4 months now, and it really hasn’t been that difficult. Simple swaps, one by one, make a big difference.
  •  Write to your MP or policy makers. One of the major reasons MPs don’t take action on climate change is that they aren’t hearing from their constituents that it’s an issue. Make it an issue. Let them know that you care. That you’re taking action and you want to know what action they’re taking. If you’re not sure who your MP is in the UK you can find out here.
  • Have conversations. I get it. No one wants to be ‘that person’ who people avoid eye contact with for fear of another lecture on all their wrong doings when it comes to the planet. But we do need to have these conversations. Make them positive. Tell people about your wins, offer to help, share what you’re doing on social media. 

This list could go on and on. There are literally hundreds and hundred of actions, big and small, that we can take each and every day (one of the things I am planning for 2019 is a monthly calendar of suggested actions). What matters is that we make that shift from knowing what we should be doing, from thinking about making change, to taking that all important first step. Picking ONE thing, no matter how small, and taking action.Are you with me?

What’s your #promisefortheplanet?Let me know in the comments below, and do share on social media with the hashtag and let’s see the transformations we can create.

Here’s to a world changing 2019.Jen xx

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