BY DAISY QUINN
Generally speaking, we’re part of a community that’s great at coming together for important causes – from pride events to providing solidarity to minorities.
Many of us have been involved in the Extinction Rebellion protests and the School Strikes that have taken place in previous months too, in this turning point in the planet’s history.
We’re in one of the most liberal parts of the country so this won’t be groundbreaking stuff for a lot of people.
But, from personal experience there are quite a few people in our community who need a little push in the right direction when it comes to caring for our environment…
Follow these steps towards a better future for all of us!
1. Make the change to vegan
This is a big step if you’re a meat eater but it doesn’t have to be an overnight change.
Pledging to go meat free on Mondays is a great first step, or if you’re feeling like a big change why not try Veganuary? You’d be surprised at how much you won’t miss meat.
The alternative options, like hazelnut milk and veggie sausages, are actually real good. And you’ll be so excited by trying delicious new food that you’ll forget to crave animal alternatives.
2. Step away from the fossil fuels
You live in Brighton, why are you thinking of driving?! Unless you’ve got a good reason, this town’s public transport should be reliable enough for you to not need to use your car.
Join the hordes of cyclists whizzing about in the city’s broad cycle lane network, or stretch the old legs and walk from A to B – take the seafront route for added beauty. Both options are better for our environment, and both our physical and mental health.
Of course some people won’t be able to avoid driving but the less cars on the road, the better!
3. Avoid the skies
As we’re all aware, flying is one of the worst things we can do for the environment. Jet fuel is terrible for it, and there are so many flights per day it can feel like we’re fighting a losing battle.
The best thing to do is to limit yourself as much as possible – can you get a ferry or a train to your holiday destination? Or maybe you can stay in the UK for a year to save adding to the problem – our town is basically like being on holiday when the sun’s out after all.
Of course, just like with driving, it can be unavoidable. But let’s all try and reduce our carbon footprints.
4. Reduce, reuse, recycle
I’m sure we all remember this phrase from our childhoods. It’s time to take it more seriously, though. There are little things you can do to make a big difference, for example:
Reduce – aim to leave the supermarket with as little plastic packaging as possible (made easier when you don’t eat meat, just saying). If you’re feeling extra, bring some paper bags with you to get your veg and reuse or recycle them after.
Reuse – if you must have a plastic bag, I hope you’re going to use it to an inch of its life.
Recycle – it’s already a big part of life for many Brighton and Hove residents. Make sure you’re on the right side of history and get familiar with what you can and can’t recycle, and where.
Bonus point – our city’s recycling schemes aren’t perfect, so using your vote and support a government which will make a difference.
5. Switch off
Done watching the telly? Standby mode isn’t good enough. Phone fully charged? Leaving the charger plugged in isn’t helping. Turn things off at the plug socket, take the plugs out or use the actual off switch.
This one’s super easy to get complacent with as you can’t really see any tangible results. But believe you me, the conservation of energy will seriously reduce your carbon footprint.
6. Shop ethical and locally sourced
The smaller the distance your purchases travel, the better for the environment it is as there will be less carbon generated from transport.
And you’ll be helping local businesses, which is always a plus. The local economy is important – especially in Brighton. It’s our home and the local business owners are our friends and family. There are some seriously cool shops in town and hidden just outside of the centre, so get exploring.
7. Slow down on fast fashion
Try and get into the habit of buying second hand clothes from shops like To Be Worn Again, for example. Or hunt down some sustainably produced garms to look and feel great.
And when you’re done? There are recycling points around the city for fabrics and shoes that you can donate a broad range of textiles to, perfect for when a charity shop can’t take something.
Be mindful of where you’re shopping and where you’re recycling so we get the best results available.
8. Add to the greenery
Got a garden? Lucky you! Use it to plant some trees to offset your carbon footprint.
I do realise that a lot of us in the city won’t have the option to do this right now. But, that doesn’t mean things won’t change in the future. Maybe you know people with gardens or allotments who you can encourage to ditch the decking and make wildlife preservation areas.
It may seem like a small thing to have a bit of wildlife in a garden but if everyone did it, imagine the difference it would make. Besides, who doesn’t love a bit of nature?
And, finally, recycle this magazine once you’re done with it!