A second chance to reboot the planet | Spotlight On: Sustainability

WCWD’s Spotlight series shines a light on the issues the UK is facing. Presented in bitesize, easily digestible facts to help you feel more informed and empowered to make change.

These quick reads will direct you to specialist resources and groups for more information, and highlight ways you can make a difference.

Each Spotlight looks at a different topic, sharing some key facts on our social media, followed by an article with direct links to ways you can do your bit.

This week we're taking a look at sustainability.

Yellow slide explaining the three pillars of sustainability - social, environmental and economic.

COVID-19 and sustainability

COVID-19 is making society's inequalities and injustices more clear, more obvious and more unacceptable than ever.

Now, with lockdowns, travel restrictions and more awareness and information, we are given a second chance to reboot the planet.

Read this BBC article called “Will COVID-19 have a lasting impact on the environment?” to see what countries around the world are experiencing, and this article from Voices of Youth talks about the unexpected consequences, including recycling schemes halted and an increase in medical waste and litter.

Yellow slide looking at facts around sustainability and COVID-19

Make sure to cut the straps of your facemasks before you throw them in the bin to avoid animals getting tangled up. Avoid putting them in outdoor bins where animals can get to them.

Even better would be to do as Greenpeace suggests and make a reusable mask from an old t shirt.

What Can We Do?

Sustainability can mean a lot of different things, and what you're able to do depends hugely on your personal circumstances. Sustainability can be expensive!

This article mainly focuses on environmental sustainability.

Many people making simple, small steps can lead to big change. Equally, so can green government policies and corporate practices.

Make your voice heard

Join campaigns or volunteer with Greenpeace to pressure decision makers to make green changes that we all benefit from. You can join them in asking for the end of deforestation for meat production, and sign this petition to protect the oceans.

Friends Of The Earth have an activism pack to help you get started whether you care about plastics, trees or climate change.

Use this template from The Climate Coalition to write to your MP about creating policies to create a cleaner and greener future for the UK.

About 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups and over 7.7 billion plastic water bottles a year are used in the UK.

Sign and share the petition supported by more than 15 green groups, which calls on high-street chains & businesses across the UK to start accepting reusable coffee cups, containers and water.

The making of disposable coffee cups causes the felling of a million trees every year and uses around 1.5 billion litres of water.

Poster from Do The Green Thing which has multiple browser tabs open, with the words all these open windows, but no fresh air

What else?

Join in on 11-27 September with the Great British September Clean. You can either organise a private clean-up with up to five other family and friends or do your own individual clean-up!

Participate in the annual Earth Hour - the next one is March 27 2021 . Set your calendars!

This guide from Plastic Oceans UK helps you live with less plastic in 2020.

WCWD director Emily displaying sustainable bathroom swaps including soap, bamboo razor and bamboo cotton buds

Simple swaps can happen at home

Hungry? Make homemade energy balls instead of buying individually wrapped snack bars.

Fully load the washing machine and dishwasher before running it or wash dishes by hand, and turn off all electronic items when not in use.

Make your bathroom or kitchen plastic free with reusable razors, soap instead of shampoo bottles, bamboo cotton buds, beeswax wrap and reusable shopping bags.

Knowing what can be recycled can be confusing. This handy guide helps you get to know your plastics.

Once you've got your head around it, find your local recycling point and drop them off!

Whilst it's tempting to buy fancy sustainable items, often using what you already have is the best way to be sustainable.

Explore plastic-free period products, plastic-free parenting, travel essentials, reusables as well as inspiring and insightful reads with best-selling books you can purchase, published by City to Sea.  

You might like: how to be plastic bag free

Yellow slide with facts about why sustainability is important

Add 'litter-picker' to your CV

Donate to Beach Guardians in order to fund school workshops and equipment for beach cleans. You can also help out at a beach clean near you.

Donate to Keep Britain Tidy and become a #LitterHero. Your donations will make neighbourhoods, streets, beaches and parks clean and safe for everyone.

Kids Against Plastic is a charity set up by kids, for kids. You can donate to them or campaign with them and support their Plastic Clever Schools, Be Plastic Clever and Pick up 100,000 initiatives.

Another successful student-led charity is SOS-UK. Campaign with them on a variety of projects, including getting sustainability to be at the heart of every school curriculum.

Encourage your children’s schools to be an Eco-School. You can help your school win a Green Flag!

Be Sustainable(ish). Here is a list of resources that teaches you how to be “Sustainable 101” in your celebrations, your family, your food, your waste and more.

Donate to Plastic Oceans, the first charity in the UK to focus on plastic pollution. Plastic Oceans have also produced information on how to start tackling your bad (plastic) habits.

Participate in the Isolated Clean Up challenge. All you need to do is pick up one or two pieces of litter every time you leave your house.

yellow slide with UK sustainability facts on

Listen, read, watch, learn, follow

If you love podcasts, Hubbub has their very own called What on Earth. Find out more about our environment!

Friends Of The Earth also has a podcast to check out, featuring those working on the ground of climate activism.

The So Hot Right Now podcast welcomes Lucy Siegle, Tom Mustil, Sir David Attenborough, Ellie Goulding and many more to join the climate conversation. It'll give you ways to help address climate change through interaction 'whether you’re phoning your dad, or the United Nations.'

Put Sustainability first by reading their very first e-book on how to build a sustainable future.

Prefer watching to reading and listening? Check out this award-winning documentaryA Plastic Ocean”.

You can also get sustainability tips from some ethical and eco influencers and bloggers straight to your news feeds.

And don’t forget to check out our 5 things you can do to help this week blogs which always contain a simple sustainable swap!

Get the kids involved

Most of the above suggestions are things that children can get involved with, or at least be aware of.

But if you're looking for some ways to get them engaged, read on...

yellow slide looking at ways children can learn to live sustainably

Create and label recycling bins with your kids at home

Plant a garden. Grow your own organic food & plant trees and collect rainwater to water them!

Buy second hand clothes/toys or borrow friends’ toys and games

Complete educational puzzles on recycling and waste

Download these beautiful and amusing posters to remind you and your kids to Do The Green Thing.

Consider buying Nature’s Path: Envirokidz cereal if you see it in the supermarket. 1% of all their sales are donated to animal conservation efforts and kids’ education programs around the world

Send a letter to Nature’s Path Envirokidz & share your ideas on how you can save the planet.

What other tips do you have for living in ways to help our planet? Let us know in the comments so we can consider adding them to this blog!

looks like a nutsack, tastes like a tomato poster from do the green thing

Research and article by Anabel Lee, edited by Emily Hodson.


Other things you might like

4th September: 5 ways to help this week

Generation Equality, Generation Green, Generation Change: Why we need youth activism

World Hunger: Did You Know?

For more ways you can help visit our Donations page and our Actions page.

Have some more time to give? Find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and go through our website for more inspiration.

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What can we do? logo of a jumping figure

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