Make our Move

Want to do something good for the environment? Not sure where to start? Climate change is a huge issue, so it's easy to get overwhelmed, or confused about what we can actually do to help. 

You're not alone. In fact 2 in 3 of us are concerned with the impact of climate change, yet only 1 in 5 know what action we can take to reduce our impact. Over a third of us would like clearer guidance on what would make a difference and where to start. So we've done the hard work for you.

We’ve pulled together 12 clear actions you can take that'll have a positive impact. Luckily, decisions that are good for the environment are usually good for us too. They can save us money, keep us healthy, and be a great way to connect with others. Whether you just want to try some simple sustainable swaps, or are looking to extend your actions to your workplace and community, we've got ideas to help. 

Let's make our move, together. 

Your carbon footprint is a measure of how much carbon is produced from our actions such as eating, shopping and travelling.  It helps us understand the impact different actions have on the environment, and importantly, means that everyday choices we make (such as cycling instead of driving) can change that impact.  

Why is this important?  

In short, the higher the amounts of carbon in the atmosphere, the more climate change happens. So knowing your carbon footprint can help you make choices to reduce your contribution to climate change.   

How do you measure a carbon footprint? 

This is where it can get a little tricky! Our society currently relies heavily on burning fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and natural gas) to produce, manufacture and power … well, almost everything.    

So almost everything we buy, eat, or do releasescarbon. Your carbon footprint is measured by adding up all the carbon produced from these actions.

What is the UK average carbon footprint? 

Just like Eurovision, the UK doesn’t perform well here. The UK has the 18th largest personal carbon footprint in the world – with each person having an average footprint of 5.5 tonnes.

That’s a lot of carbon! Especially since the average in Ghana is only 0.5 tonnes.  In fact, the average personal carbon footprint for lower-income countries is only 0.2 tonnes. Yet these countries have had more floods, droughts and other negative climate change impacts – meaning that they are paying for the carbon heavy lifestyles of people in richer countries, like the UK.

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So  who came up with the 'carbon footprint'?  

Greta Thunberg? David Attenborough?   

Nope - believe it or not, it was created by oil company BP as part of a marketing campaign in 2005.

Harvard scientists say this was to deliberately shift blame from big oil companies onto you and me.

In fact, research has shown that focussing on individual carbon footprints can distract people from supporting collective action and pushing for big systemic changes.

Let’s not forget that only 100 companies are responsible for 70% of historic global emissions. This is far more than you or I could ever produce - so systemic change has to happen alongside individual and collective change.

What can I do? 

This might seem hopeless/out of your control/discouraging, but don't underestimate what positive influence you can have!  

Reducing your carbon footprint through lifestyle changes is a key part of fighting climate change. Want to work out your carbon footprint and tips on how you can reduce it? Check out  Giki.

These actions can feel like a drop in the ocean, but research has shown that individual actions can have a ripple effect and influence other people to make lifestyle changes – all of which adds up.   

And don't forget the big picture! Pushing for systemic changes can help that ripple become a wave: tap into your community, join a local action group, write to your MP and challenge big organisations to keep the pressure on and demand change. 

Want to cut more jargon?

What is COP26 and why does it matter, what actually is a carbon footprint? Check out our series of 'Cut the Jargon & The Carbon' definitions. 


Keen to try a new climate action? 

Check out our list of the 12 most impactful actions you can take for the environment and your community. Let’s #MakeOurMove together.