My Three Things for Climate Change
By Alice Whitehead, the founder and chair of Tree Charter community group Save Our Street Trees and communications officer for organic gardening charity Garden Organic
I love the idea that three things can change the world. It's easy to feel climate change is too big to tackle as an individual but I’ve always felt every small step makes a difference.
One of the biggest changes I've made to the way I live, is protecting and planting trees. Through my campaign group, we've managed to plant almost 500 trees in Northampton in the last six years - on streets, in schools and in urban orchards. Every tree makes a difference so even a small apple or cherry in your back garden will provide habitats for wildlife, mop up pollution and help reduce the urban heat island effect. But if you don't have the space or the know-how to plant yourself, you can simply support a tree planting project by volunteering or donating.
For the last 20 years, I've also grown my own food at my allotment and in pots in my garden. I garden organically, so I use a NoDig method - which means there's less soil disturbance - and I encourage beneficial insects and predators by not using pesticides or bought in fertilisers. I grow green manures and make my own plant food to nurture crops. I also compost garden and kitchen scraps so I use less bagged compost overall. What I do buy in is peat free. Food security and food miles are becoming big issues - and it's fantastic to be able to pull up fresh carrots, that I know have been grown without pesticides, within a short walk of my doorstep. They taste so much better too.
A more recent change in our house has been trying to pre-cycle rather than recycle. Like many people, we recycled for 10+ years - diligently putting our plastic and cardboard waste into the council collections. But each week, we were horrified to see how much non-recyclable waste continued to go in our black landfill bin: hand soap dispenser tops, gift wrap, plastic bags, plastic film, crisp packets and so on. So we made the decision to start cutting back on what we bought, buying items in less packaging or in refillable bags and bottles, including signing up to a milk delivery.
All three are small steps - and there's still so much I'd like to do. But if we all did just one of these things, just imagine what an incredible impact we would have on the planet!