5 reasons we need to look after the environment

Climate change, one of the biggest threats to our environment, might seem like something that’s only a problem for polar bears or happening far away. Yet, the environment affects all of us in the way we live, it’s the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, the clothes we wear and the homes we live in. If the environment is looked after, so are we as we need a healthy planet to be able to grow food, to build homes, to breathe clean air and to drink safe water.  We’re seeing the effects of climate change in every part of the world today - from bushfires in Australia and tornadoes in Toronto to heatwaves and flooding here in the UK and its affecting all of us. To act at the scale and pace that is needed, we have to work together as individuals and communities, businesses and government, to protect the environment for us and for future generations. 

Here’s why:

1.To keep food on our plates

The UK imports a lot of its food from overseas and changes in climate like droughts, hotter summers and floods will damage the soil and create food shortages across the world. To make sure there’s enough for everyone we need to adapt to eating seasonally and reduce the 300,000 tonnes of food waste that gets thrown in the bin every year. Donating food to your local community fridge is a great way to make sure good food doesn’t get wasted. 

2.To protect wildlife

Over the last 200 years or so the UK has lost 50% of it’s biodiversity. Biodiversity refers to everything that is alive on the planet, all the animals, plants and bacteria that help keep our soil healthy, our seas clean and our rivers safe so keeping it in healthy balance is really important. Supporting and reestablishing habitats, attracting insects and even growing food on your windowsill at home can help to boost biodiversity where you live. Check out the Down To Earth podcast to find out more. 

3.To breathe clean air 

We all deserve to breathe clean air, but dirty air causes 40,000 early deaths every year in the UK and pollution has been linked to increased rates of asthma and other health issues in children. Air pollution is dangerous because most of the time we can’t see it but by reducing pollution from industry and construction as well as from cars,  we can help to make all our neighbourhoods safer, cleaner and healthier. Even swapping out one journey you normally make in a car for a bike can make a big difference. Check out Air We Share to find out more. 

2. To keep our seas, parks and rivers clean 

More than 2 million pieces of litter are dropped in the UK everyday and as well as looking terrible a lot of that litter will find its way into our rivers and waterways and eventually to the ocean. This litter washes up on beaches or if it’s plastic it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics which have found their way into all corners of the ocean and the food chain destroying ecosystems, damaging wildlife and harming us. Check out Treasure Your River to find out more. 

5. To look out for each other 

Climate related disasters like sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and drought and water scarcity put people’s lives at risk and also displaces families. The poorest and most vulnerable in our communities and across the globe are the most likely to be impacted by climate change despite doing the least to contribute to it,and a climate migration of people having to leave their homes because of climate change is already beginning. Doing our bit to look after the planet, and asking governments to do the same, will help look after everyone. 

Related Content:

Knowing where to start can be tricky, especially when we’re bombarded with so much complex information. Here are some places to start:

Reasons why individual action is important 

How can we live sustainably