10 top tips for tackling climate change

1 Mar 2024
10 min read

If the climate emergency matters to you, raise your voice and lower your carbon footprint.

Dramatic steps to cut carbon pollution are essential to protect our One Home. 

In 2018, the IPCC published a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. It was devastating reading and it made the world sit up and pay attention to the climate emergency. Scientists warned we had 11 years to cut emissions by nearly half. Since then, while there has been progress in some areas, it’s nowhere near enough. Global energy-related CO2 emissions went up in 2022 by 0.9 per cent.  

Since then, we’ve had further warnings, the latest being the IPCC’s Synthesis Report in March 2023 which yet again sets out the gravity of the problem and states clearly that we need to urgently stop burning fossil fuels. 

Dramatic steps to cut carbon pollution are essential to protect our One Home. 

The good news is that climate change has become a topic of great concern for many, now ranking in the top four issues that UK voters care most about (January 2023). 

And we have the solutions at our fingertips. The cost of renewable energy has plummeted and is cheaper than burning fossil fuels (the main cause of global warming). If we add in the tax breaks oil and gas companies receive, the cost of air pollution and the huge impacts of climate change, the economic case for rapid, transformative change is overwhelming.

Political and individual action

Millions of climate actions soon add up. Our total emissions are the combination of decisions made every day.

Systematic change is crucial. We need strong policies with sustainability at the centre, more investment in clean technologies and a new set of laws that are centred on protecting our world so polluters pay instead of receiving subsidies. But this transition has to be combined with building a movement that brings everybody with us as behaviour change is essential to reach net zero. 

Awareness raising, social justice and knowledge sharing are vital. Read on for simple practical actions to take which will help achieve zero emissions. As citizens demand a better way of doing things, businesses and Government will inevitably respond faster to this crisis. 

Millions of climate actions soon add up. Our total emissions are the combination of decisions made every day. In its most recent report, IPCC scientists state that changes driven by consumers in terms of diet, food waste and switching to low carbon transport can achieve significant cuts in emissions from many sectors.

One Home’s top ten climate action tips:

1.  Raise your voice: Talk to your friends and family, but crucially politicians

The most important thing is to make your voice heard by those who make decisions that impact our lives. That means your elected MP and your local councillors, who help shape policies and legislation. Write to them, visit them in their surgeries, engage on social media or at events. Most MPs have committed to net zero so they will welcome a discussion on this crucial topic. Here’s how to get your MP involved. It’s all about strength in numbers, so ask friends, family and colleagues to join you. 

Part of the challenge is raising awareness among people who are not yet engaged or feel a sense of inertia. British people love talking about the weather but here are some other ideas on how best connect with people on this topic. Talk about extreme weather events and their link to climate change or share stories on the actions you are taking. If you’ve given up flying, tell people why and help shift the norm from bragging about foreign holidays to pride in taking the train. This amplifies the impact of your choices more than you realise.  

2.  Switch to a low carbon diet

Buying less meat and dairy is the best route to a low carbon diet. Globally, the meat industry generates nearly 20 per cent of man-made greenhouse gases that are accelerating climate change. If going vegetarian or vegan feels like a step too far then try to eat less but better quality meat. Beef and lamb production, in particular, has a high carbon footprint so when you do buy meat, opt for chicken or pork instead. For example, one calorie of pork has about one-seventh the climate impact of one calorie of beef.  Choose organic, seasonal and locally-grown food if you can. Learn more about the impact a low carbon diet can have on your health and the planet here.

3.  Sustainable transport

Transport is the main source of carbon dioxide and toxic air in the UK. To counter this, many people are walking more to reduce their impact on the environment. It is also a great way to stay active and reduce air pollution, as is cycling. Using public transport cuts emissions and helps to free up our cities and reduce congestion. If you need to drive, consider joining an electric car club or start lift sharing with friends and colleagues. 

Electric cars are becoming more popular as people can plug in at home or the 50,000 public charging points in the UK, (more than the number of petrol stations) so in future we will all “plug not pump”. On average, electric car drivers save around £580 per year on fuel. For a detailed cost comparison, read more here. There are also no tail-pipe emissions and they have lower maintenance costs because of fewer moving parts. Electric bikes are also fantastic and extremely cheap compared to a car.

4.  Make your home warmer

One Home has a guide for all budgets to help you save energy in the home. You can also watch our video here. Insulation has the biggest impact on energy conservation in the home. Top up your loft insulation to 30cm and fill cavity walls to keep warm air in your house. Simple DIY tasks can make a big difference to cutting your energy bills and saving carbon. Some easy wins include draft-proofing windows and doors, secondary film glazing, smart thermostats set at 19C and using thermal lining on curtains. Even if you rent, you can ask your landlord to tackle cold homes and you can make simple improvements. With energy bills double what they were a few years ago, energy efficiency at home is great for your comfort, your bank balance and tackling climate change. 

The Government has a scheme that provides funding for insulation and other energy efficiency measures to eligible homeowners. Find out more here

5.  Choose green energy

Options for installing renewable energy at home include installing solar panels, which are a brilliant way to harness the power of the sun. Solar power provides green electricity during the day and costs around £7,000 to install for a typical 3.5 kilowatt-peak system. This figure is less if your council is part of a community energy scheme, which enables panels to be installed in bulk and at reduced cost. 

Ground-source and air-source heat pumps are two options for low-carbon heating at home. Whilst ground-source heat pumps are more expensive to install, they are far more efficient due to the stable temperatures underground. The Government has a scheme in place that provides grants of £7,500 to upgrade your gas or oil boiler to a heat pump or biomass boiler. 

Switch to a green energy tariff to power your home if you can find a price that works for you. There are many websites that allow you to compare what’s on offer, such as Money Saving Expert. The switch costs you nothing, only takes about 20 minutes, you will not be disconnected and an engineer does not need to visit your home.  

6.  Consume less, waste less

Simply buying less and avoiding waste is a great way to conserve natural resources.

Everything we buy has a carbon footprint as it must be made, transported and eventually disposed of. Simply buying less and avoiding waste is a great way to conserve natural resources.

Being more mindful of what we really need and that everything we buy uses energy and pollutes the environment and adds to the clutter in your home so interrogate whether you really need that item, or can it be sourced in a less damaging way. For example, using natural fibres, pre-loved, second hand goods or even renting items. If you must buy new, support retailers who have made strong commitments to sustainability and natural materials with a lower carbon footprint. Some well-known brands are making important commitments to sustainability including M&S, Levi’s and H&M. Read more about brands that are taking action here

7.  Holiday close to home

Flying is one of the most carbon-intensive activities in the world. Frequent flying is a particular problem. In 2018, just one per cent of English residents took nearly a fifth of all flights abroad. 

Re-thinking our approach to flying is necessary. There are plenty of amazing holiday experiences in the UK that enjoy all the benefits of flight-free trips – no queues, germs or jetlag. If you wish to travel beyond Great Britain, consider ferry routes to Europe or the Eurostar and let the train take the strain. If air travel is essential, there are lots of carbon offset schemes about that support environmental initiatives but they do not eradicate the pollution so it isn’t an answer to the problem.  

8.  Join an environmental group

Joining a local group is a great way to energise, motivate and inspire action.

Joining a local group is a great way to energise, motivate and inspire action, improve your community and help tackle eco anxiety. Do your research and get in touch to find out what feels right for you and your interests. Some examples are Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion, flood action groups and transition towns but this is by no means an exhaustive list with climate action groups springing up all the time. 

9.  Plant a tree

Trees are an important natural solution to climate change as they remove carbon emissions as they grow. Support local tree planting schemes, or donate to organisations that are committed to increasing tree cover. Woodland Trust has a scheme for free trees in schools and communities and the Forestry Commission has useful resources for tree planting advice such as their Urban Tree Manual and grants for landowners. Or plant your own! Even if a tree isn’t possible, then planting wild flowers or growing veg in window boxes all help nature to thrive.

10.  Check your investments and banking

Is your money propping up industries that are causing environmental damage?

Is your money propping up industries that are causing environmental damage? This includes your bank but also your investments and pension. Even schemes branded ‘ethical’ are often invested in polluting industries. 

Think about how you want your money to be used and research your options. There are several ethical banks and a number of impact investment apps now available that allow you to back businesses that are committed to making positive change. 

Investing in sustainable businesses through ethical crowd funding schemes provides a way to invest directly in projects or businesses that have a positive impact. 

Reducing your carbon footprint

There are so many ways we can make a difference to the climate emergency and the good news is most of these top ten climate actions will not only save you money but will benefit you in other ways such as a healthier, happier you. If you want to work out your carbon footprint then the WWF carbon calculator is a great place to start.  

Finally, did we say make your voice heard? Yes, we did! Contacting decision makers and having conversations with the people you live and work with is probably the most important thing you can do; hence it gets a double mention. 

What we decide to do today and every day counts in the fight against climate change. Make changes to protect our One Home, shout about them, encourage others to join you and know that it all makes a difference.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

We would love to hear your comments and stories about the issues raised in this article. 


The information in this article was correct at the time of writing and is provided for guidance only. Please see the full disclaimer in our terms and conditions.

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