Tackling Climate Change
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world. It is not simply an environmental problem, it has implications for the wellbeing of people here in Wales, and across the world.
The world saw more than 120 climate related disasters during 2015, according to the World Bank, causing huge environmental and economic damage and taking a terrible toll on communities. These impacts have also been felt closer to home, for example in increased flooding, which is estimated to have caused over £71 million of damage, impacting on communities, the economy, and transport infrastructure.
The third sector has huge potential to tackle both the causes and consequences of climate change. It is uniquely placed to reach and support people, especially the most disadvantaged and vulnerable.
Areas of Action
Decisions taken at government or local authority level to help mitigate climate change will affect the people we support. Areas likely to be affected include: energy, food, housing, textiles and packaging, and travel.
There have been policy changes in all these areas in recent years. Communities and voluntary organisations play a vital role in engaging with people and often play a leading role in developing grass roots action and awareness. These webpages examine sustainability issues, support available to help your service users through policy changes, and ways to get involved with relevant community projects.
Using Nature Based Solutions
The methods we use to protect our infrastructure and resources need to adapt to a changing climate. Combining modern knowledge with natural and traditional solutions offers a range of benefits to people and wildlife.
Why Climate Migration Risks Matter to Wales
Climate change is decreasing the suitability of certain locations to support human habitation. Here are some of the reasons why Wales should care about climate related displacement, and what we can do to mitigate the effects.
Do you want to become Carbon Literate?
Carbon emissions, global warming, and greenhouse gases – what do they have to do with you? Find out why your organisation should care about climate change and what to do about it.
General ways to reduce your impact
Remember the extended waste hierarchy whilst thinking of purchasing or disposing of an item:
One of the biggest ways we can reduce our impacts is simply to not purchase items which have high environmental or human costs. Do you really need that item? Can it be used more than once? Do lower-impact alternatives exist? Can it be recycled or biodegrade at the end of its life? Was it made ethically?
Commit to trying to maintain and repair your items so they last as long as possible. If you no longer need your item then consider redistributing it within the community; donating goods to food banks and charity shops can be beneficial but ask what they need first to avoid shifting the waste problem onto charities.
Many people view recycling as environmentally friendly, but recycling takes more energy than reusing and so should not be your first option. It’s also worth considering whether the item will be upcycled (remade into a product of higher value) or downcycled (remade into a product of lower value). Check local council kerbside recycling options as not all facilities may be available in your region and so some products will be rejected. Remember to rinse or clean items first, as food and other contaminates can lead to rejections.
Can you recover the energy or nutrients from a product; i.e. composting food or burning wood for heating? This may be something you can do at home or you may need to send your items off for processing. Composting has particularly beneficial effects by returning nutrients to the soil and displacing other fertilisers as well as sequestering carbon.
Sending products to landfill should be your last option and particular care should be taken if items are potentially toxic to our soil or water resources. This is still preferable to dumping or littering which can have extremely negative impacts upon wildlife and communities.
Help build resilience in your area by joining local groups:
– County Voluntary Councils – contact your local CVC and find out if they can offer help, for example with help in reducing your organisations running costs or setting up a community energy generation project.
– Friends of the Earth Cymru – is committed to protecting the environment and promoting a sustainable future for Wales
– Groundwork Wales – helps people and organisations make changes in order to create better neighbourhoods, to build skills and job prospects, and to live and work in a greener way
– Keep Wales Tidy – considers that a “clean and tidy Wales” can be primarily achieved by changing people’s attitudes so that they are less likely to engage in activities that have a negative impact on their local environments
– PlanLoCaL – aims to support communities and groups that are ‘planning for low carbon living’ through a suite of resources including films and webpages
– Renew Wales – network of community groups tackling the causes and impacts of climate change through advice, training, and technical support
– Transition Towns – join your local transition network or set one up in your area to understand how climate change (and other issues) might affect your local area and ways to become more sustainable