More than two-thirds of people in the UK say they’re worried about the climate crisis, in a survey by YouGov for Friends of the Earth, and a rising number of people across all generations are suffering from eco-anxiety – negative feelings about the future of the planet, including stress, fear, anger and grief.
One of the best ways to combat eco-anxiety is to take positive action. Remind yourself that lots of people making small changes makes a big difference. Our top 10 tips on how to live sustainably are things you can start doing right now, and remember that small steps are easier than trying to make huge changes in one go.
1. Spend time in nature
Research shows that time outside in natural landscapes is good for our physical and mental health, but 69% of people in the UK told us they don’t experience nature as much as they’d like to. The more people get to know local green spaces and the wildlife that lives there, the more they’ll want to protect them. And reconnecting with Mother Nature can also help calm the feelings of stress and fear associated with eco-anxiety.
2. Take action
We know from over 50 years of campaigning for people and planet that people coming together is the best way to make change happen. And there’s nothing like the power of community to make us feel inspired and more hopeful about the future.
Sign up to our emails, and we’ll send you great tips on simple changes to live more sustainably, positive news about the planet, and ways you can join others in taking action – signing a petition or emailing your MP. We'll show you how our groups are making changes in their local areas, and how you could join a local action group to help people making positive changes where you live.
Don't forget to prioritise yourself as well though. Alongside taking action, it's important to honour our own personal needs and care for one another – whether that's taking a break, listening compassionately, supporting each other's mental health, or creating inclusive, welcoming spaces.
The rest of our tips are changes you can make yourself. Talk to your friends and family about your changes, and you could start a change chain-reaction!
3. Shop second-hand
Save money, mix up your style, protect the planet. Ditch damaging fast fashion and get some feel-good threads instead. Charity shops and second-hand clothes apps are great places to look for brands you already wear and love and to find some new outfit inspiration.
Second-hand kitchen wear, tools and toys can also keep more cash in your wallet and help reduce the amount of stuff being produced, which is good for the planet. And don’t forget to take your unwanted items with you to donate.
4. Plan in some plant-based dishes
Make saving the planet taste good! Switch some of your meals to veggie or vegan recipes and indulge in some tasty plant-based treats, cakes and desserts. Cutting back on meat and dairy really reduces your impact on climate change, as they produce more carbon and methane and use more water and land than producing the same amount of calories from plants.
We all get stuck cooking the same things, so shake it up with some shitake, chuck in some chickpeas or switch your sausage for a squash. Every meal is a chance to make a small change, so try 10 ways to eat less meat.
5. Cut out single-use plastic
Make sure you take your re-usable bags, coffee cups and water bottles with you when you’re out and about. Buying snacks and drinks on the move makes it really hard to avoid plastic, so be prepared with refillable alternatives . In the bathroom replace your bottles with bars of soap, bubble bath and shampoo. Check out our guide to living without plastics.
6. Make space for wildlife
Make your home’s green space wildlife friendly. Even a window box or doorstep pot could be a feeding pitstop for bees and insects. Plan your space and then pick the best bee-friendly plants for every season.
7. Save energy
We’ve got 50 tips to help save energy in your home. Some are cheap and easy, like filling your freezer but not over-packing your fridge, and making door snakes to cut out draughts. Others need a bit more time and investment, like loft insulation or buying an air fryer, but will save you money in the long run. And all will help reduce climate emissions.
8. Swap flights for a UK vacation
Flights make up 7% of the UK’s overall climate emissions. The UK has such varied landscapes to explore, from mountains and forests to beaches and craggy coastlines. So why not take a different kind of holiday – try camping, go cycling, take a watercolour course or learn how to rock climb. Focus on festivals, gardens or museums. We’ve got some great ideas for holidays without the airport queues.
9. Cycle and walk short trips
Save some money, get some exercise and travel carbon-free. Most car emissions are from journeys less than 5 miles, which could instead be made by bike or on foot. If this isn’t an option for you, then look at public transport, car-sharing and other ways to travel responsibly.
10. Switch to a green bank
Green banks invest their customers’ money in things like renewable energy, sustainable farming and education. And they don’t invest in things like fossil fuels and fast fashion. Switching your bank account is really easy, and if you open an account with our partner bank Triodos, they’ll give £60 to Friends of the Earth.
Love lifestyle tips and news about nature?
Love lifestyle tips and news about nature?