There is a 97% consensus of scientists who agree that human-induced climate warming is actually happening. The 3% are now looking like flat-earthers in terms of their numbers!
But why should we wait for 100% agreement before we chose to act? Every day we are making choices that affect the environment, the climate and the species in it; from what we eat to even the hobbies we partake in. As individuals there is a lot we can do, and as you will see below, every behavioural change can add up to make a very real difference.
1. It’s all about perspective…
Everyone has their own indulgent activities, after all, we are only human!
Yes – text messages have a carbon footprint but as all the world’s text messages for a year have the same footprint as one university in the UK then the impact of texting is miniscule. So, don’t fret about it!
Flying on the other hand (apart from having children), is often the most carbon intensive activity you can indulge in. That weekend break in Europe may seem an ideal solution from the drudgery of work, but could you find the same escapism at a friendlier impact on the planet? Can you change your perspective on that ‘ideal weekend break’ and look at other options? Is flying the only way to reach your destination or could you get there by train? You could also consider what activities are right on your doorstep. Great Britain attracts thousands of tourists a year, why? Because we have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Is it time to start asking yourself whether you could have a cheaper and equally good time at home? Could you take less flights? Or take a break from flying for a few years like these Swedish Mums are advocating?
If flying is your deal breaker, your ultimate indulgent activity, could you instead commit to offsetting all your emissions as a minimum compensation for your planetary footprint?
2. Where can you make the biggest difference?
The four biggest areas that you can make a difference in are: how you travel, your home, your diet and what you buy.
To find out which of these areas is the biggest impact for you, complete a footprint calculator such as the perennial favourite by WWF to give you some pointers as well as tips for minimising your footprint.
We’ve already considered flying above but what other challenges are you willing to take?
5. The Stories of Stuff 
Everything you buy has a carbon footprint – not just from the travel associated with it getting to you, but also the processes involved in production and the materials it’s made from. It’s time to ask yourself, do you really have to buy new? Or, could you simply buy less?
You might even find you have a better existence with less (check out The Minimalists for inspiration). Being distracted by less stuff helps you to put the important things in perspective (relationships, friendships, fun times doing low impact things such as walking, looking at the skies, skipping through the barley fields etc.).
So, don’t believe the hype – you will not get rich, get a better partner or have better behaved children if you buy that new phone! I promise you!
However, the latest trend is #ExtinctionRebellion. This is a new civil disobedience movement that combines actions with politeness, to ensure the best possible way to involve the public in doing something to get the government to engage on climate action. The movement has modelled itself on the civil rights, voting, equality and gender movements. It does not advocate violence of any type – a complete contrast to the French yellow vest movement where people rioted over increasing fuel costs.
7. Keep positive
If we don’t take action the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon
Wow – just wow.
That is a supremely heavy sentence to absorb. And if – like me – you have enormous respect for the world’s greatest grandfather then you know it to be true.
But being left with just that thought is not a nice one. Human beings are truly rubbish at absorbing negative news and dire warnings have been shown by academics to actually make people believe in global warming LESS, with the effect of making people feel depressed and anxious.
8. Spread the word – using fun activities
Climate change is never boring and it is even possible to make it fun! I personally try to show friends and colleagues that being #vegan can be very tasty - I find bribing them with my homemade vegan chocolate cake works exceptionally well! As an extra challenge, consider attempting #Veganuary and spending the month of January going vegan. I have also found the best crumble topping in the Western hemisphere. That’s right folks, no word of a lie… Minimalist Baker really know ‘excellent’ when they taste it – I can heartily recommend their recipes.
And when I’m not converting the world to vaganism one cake at a time (!) I’m engaging people by playing a carbon footprint game which is the best method for starting a conversation with anyone – check it out here and spread the word.
Remember, as an individual you can make a big difference by changing behaviours, talking and influencing others, voting for better options when given the chance to do so, and making some of the choices given above…
 NASA website. Available at https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/
 The footprint of one text message is 0.014g CO2e (carbon equivalent greenhouse gases) according to Berners-Lee, M. (2010). How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything. London: Profile Books.
 All the world’s text messages comes to about 32,000 tonnes of CO2e – also from Mike’s book. This is the same as the legal carbon footprint of the University of Leicester in the same year How Bad are Bananas? was written. Available at www2.le.ac.uk/offices/estates/environment/news/2017-news/22-reduction-in-carbon
 Try these carbon offsetting organisations: https://climatecare.org/; www.carbonfootprint.com/carbonoffset.html;
 www.futurewewant.co.uk; https://youtu.be/CZlwdFqCh7w
Emma will convert you one vegan cake at a time... be afraid, be very afraid...