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Climate Change. How small changes can make a Big Difference
The choice of cars we drive, the amounts of energy we use at home/office, how many times we decide to fly, the choice of things we buy are all examples of how our personal decisions can reduce the effects of climate change. When we make the wrong decisions, we help pollute the atmosphere which in turn leads to devastating floods, airborne diseases as weather patterns change disrupting the usual balance of nature. To help fight some of these issues, Citizen Outreach Coalition COC applied and received funding for an awareness campaign from The National Lottery Communality Fund stream Together For Our Planet, launched as part of the COP 26 climate change global conference that took place in Glasgow, Scotland Between October –November 2021.
As part of the project, COC interviewed four prominent climate activists from BAME communities in Liverpool who have been taking different actions individually and collectively to help prevent the climate change catastrophe. The activists each spoke on different actions they are involved in from food waste prevention, to using public transportation and flying less when possible, to running an indoor green garden to buying responsibly so that less energy and resources are used to produce goods we don’t need or want
Food waste and climate change
Mrs Patricia Sarpong and her husband Pastor Samuel Sarpomg run a food bank (Hope for All) from their Kensington Road Pentecostal Church Christian Gold House Ministry primarily to feed the poor and needy but also to help redistribute food that otherwise would have been wasted. “The food bank helps greatly in preventing food waste because it stops the food being wasted, put in the bin and going to landfills. It is recycled to people who are less able to afford the supermarkets…” Mrs Sarpong said
When food waste is disposed of through a landfill, they release a gas called methane, a greenhouse gas that is very damaging to the environment. A WWF report indicates about one third of food produced globally is wasted each year. That is equal to 1.3 billion tons of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy seafood etc that never leaves the farm, get lost or spoilt during distribution. Food banks Like Hope for All help reduce the damage wasted food causes. People are also encouraged to buy only the food they need and to recycle food for other uses to prevent wastage and its environmental effects. These are little actions we can all adopt in our kitchens to prevent food waste.
Transportation and Climate change
Simple individual decisions like cycling to work, using public transportation and flying less helps protect the environment. Activists describe these and other actions as “active travel”, a climate friendly means of traveling that Liverpool based businessman Michael Likambi and family have adopted to help protect the environment. ”I fly only when it is needed, essential business issues that takes me off the ground. My long distance travels are by public transport. I don’t use my car and that helps the environment. I am making changes to get an electric car for the family”. Multiple studies show electric cars are much more climate friendly than the petrol and diesel cars that are mostly used today.
Other ways traveling can help protect our environment will include visiting only eco-friendly countries, supporting green tour companies, staying at eco-friendly accommodations, reduce energy use and packing reusable items. Like controlling the amount of food we waste, these are little actions everyone can adopt on an individual basis but which collectively will help save our environment
Community gardens, food growing projects, cleaner waterways and pocket parks are examples of green spaces that are helping major cities across the world including Liverpool, to mitigate the effects of climate change. Liverpool based artists Michelle Peterkin-Walker and Nina Edge have campaigned and are involved in long term projects to make available and protect green spaces especially to people from ethnic minority backgrounds. Michelle is one of the trustees of the innovative Granby Winter Garden that provides an in house and outdoor alley garden that people can visit and enjoy nature. The garden was part of the Granby Regeneration project and used an old building to provide a community resource that now hosts community events including creativity workshops and teaching people about biodiversity. Nina Edge is part of a project that grows food that is given freely to people who need it through a food bank. She is concerned about the rising sea levels in Liverpool which could cause immense problems in future if climate change is not controlled across the city. “The change in sea level will affect housing, it will affect roads, it will affect parks, it will affect even food production” she says.
Climate change will affect us and future generations and as COP26 in Glasgow Scotland showed, the global community needs to take action individually and collectively to save our climate and future generations. We must start buying only goods we need, flying only when that is absolutely necessary, use public transportation when necessary, using less energy at home and make the small changes that will help protect our environment and our planet.
COC will be organizing two community events to raise awareness around climate change and how it affects all of us