Environment

'Turn up!': Activists on the one thing people can do to fix climate change now COP26 is over

COP26 might be over, but there are still plenty of ways you can help fix the climate crisis.

From recycling more to showing up at protests, there are plenty of ways you can help fix climate change.

COP26 negotiations have ended – quite literally – in tears, with conference president Alok Sharma apologising to delegates for a weakened final agreement.

Though activists, indigenous groups and environmentalists have condemned the conference as a failure, many have been quick to point out that there is still hope. 

Now more than ever, campaigners say people power will be crucial in forcing governments to act on climate change

As governments return home from COP26, it’s feared that pledges won’t be kept without pressure piled on by ordinary citizens.

But what can one person do to fix a problem of such scale?

Throughout COP26, The Big Issue spoke to campaigners to ask them what one action people can take today to act on the climate crisis

“Learn about the land you’re currently on”

Brianna Fruean, a Pacific Islands climate campaigner, says learning about your own land – and the ways indigenous people take care of it – is a crucial first step to fixing the climate crisis.

She says: “Indigenous people have taken care of biodiversity for so long on this planet – so learn more, research more and start there”.

“Turn up” 

Vienna Watts, a campaigner with Black Lives Matter, said the first step to solving the climate crisis is to show up in person to demos and actions. 

“The first step is actually turning up, then we can look at the small things that we can do every single day that will have a greater impact”, she says.

“The best thing that everyone can do is get involved in the movement, join a campaign and add your voice to the collective.”

“Think about fossil fuels in your daily life”

Jeremy Corbyn, former leader of the Labour Party, said one thing people can do to help fix climate change is think about the role of fossil fuels in their daily lives.

“Encourage your friends and yourself to think about the use of fossil fuels in the food we eat, in the journeys we make and in the manufactured goods that we buy,” he says.

“Eat less meat” 

Music journalist John Robb said people should consider going vegan or cutting down their meat and dairy intake. 

“I actually think going vegan isn’t that hard. And it’s really important. Or even just cut down.

“And I don’t mean that as a judgemental thing at all. You know, people eat what they eat, but think about what’s on your plate, where it came from and what it’s doing to the world,” he says.

“F**k fast fashion”

Hannah, a climate change activist who used to work in the fashion industry, says giving up fast fashion is one essential thing people can do to help fix climate change.

“Stop buying new clothes. You are good enough. You are enough, you don’t need any more. 

You don’t need to buy extra shit to build your self worth,” she says. 

“Live like our grandmas”

Musician Liz Lawrence said one key thing people can do is “not waste anything” that they use. 

“Don’t waste anything. Don’t throw away food. Don’t throw away a pair of trousers you’ve only worn once,” says Liz. 

“Every time you’re going to throw something away. Think about that staying in your back garden or how you could reuse it or remake it. We’ve gotta live like our grandmas.”

“Be kind”

Environmentalist and presenter Chris Packham says it’s key that people know they can make a difference – but to be kind to others at different stages of their journey.

He says: “Empower yourselves to know that you can make a difference. Every single individual: me, you, everyone can make a difference. We have to believe that.

“But be patient, because we won’t all start on that journey at the same time. And as a consequence, we have to be tolerant of one another and we have to show kindness. Kindness is the key.”

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