Using your influence is potentially the most powerful way you can combat climate change. Spread the word among family, friends and colleagues. And remember that governments and businesses do take notice of what their voters and customers want - make your voice heard!

Your influence tips:

  1. Encourage others to follow your example

  2. Buy green products and support businesses that are trying to reduce their carbon footprints

  3. Get involved in environmental groups

  4. Lobby politicians about climate change

  5. Invest your money “ethically”

Overview

People sometimes say they feel powerless to do anything about climate change: how can one person make a difference? and isn’t it the responsibility of government and businesses, rather than individuals, to take the lead in combatting climate change?

However, you can make a difference as an individual. Even though each action on its own may only have a small impact, the sum of lots of actions by lots of people can make a real difference. Just as importantly, governments and businesses do take notice of what their voters and customers want, so make your voice heard. You can do this simply by refusing to buy products or patronise businesses you know to be environmentally unfriendly!

The simplest thing you can do is to tell the people around you about your actions to combat climate change and yet this is also one of the most effective things you can do. Word of mouth is powerful!

“Campaigning” can sound serious or time-consuming but what it really means is speaking up for the things you care about. It can be as simple as asking for local food to be stocked in your supermarket, or finding out about your workplace’s environmental policy.

CO2 impact

Influencing others has the potential to be your biggest impact on climate change – persuading just one person to make the same changes to their lifestyle as you have made to yours can double your impact.

Money aspects

Using your influence needn’t cost you anything – it’s up to you. For example, you can do voluntary work for an environmental group for free, but if you aren’t able to spare the time, you might choose to donate money to them instead.

Other benefits

This is an easy way of “doing your bit” for the environment and feeling good about the contribution you’re making. By engaging with others, you will feel part of a bigger movement for social change and your influence will grow.

Back to the top

1. Encourage others to follow your example

The first step is simply to tell those around you (friends, family and work colleagues) about the ways you’re “greening” your lifestyle. You needn’t actively encourage them to follow your example if you don’t feel comfortable doing so – just talking about climate change helps to raise awareness.

If you want to do more, then lobby your employer to introduce an environmental policy or improve their existing policy. For example, encourage them to contact the Carbon Trust to find ways of saving money through reducing their energy bills. If businesses realise that there’s demand from their employees, they’re more likely to take action. Businesses that are certified to the ISO14001 environmental management standard may attract more customers.

Help the voluntary and community organisations to which you belong reduce their impact on the environment, tackle climate change and improve their local area by encouraging them to become an organisational member of WinACC.

CO2 impact

Influencing others has the potential to be your biggest impact on climate change – persuading just one person to make the same changes to their lifestyle as you have made to yours can double your impact. Think about the number of people you know and you’ll quickly realise how big your impact could be, especially if they go on to influence others in turn.

Persuading your employer to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions can be particularly effective. Offices typically produce up to 1.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per employee per year, which is over 10% of the total annual emissions per person in the UK. This is due to high heating and air-conditioning costs and inefficient use of lights, computers and other electrical appliances.

Money aspects

This action costs you nothing and can save money for others. Even if they aren’t interested in climate change, they may be keen to reduce their energy bills, especially if money is tight and/or energy prices are high.

Other benefits

Talking to others about climate change can be fun and rewarding. It will help you to feel part of a bigger movement and feel good that you’re doing your bit for the environment.

Back to the top

2. Buy green products and support businesses that are trying to reduce their carbon footprints

Today we live in a consumer-driven society and this means that you have the power to influence businesses with every purchasing decision you make. Every time you buy products and services, it’s like voting for the businesses which make and sell them, so use your vote wisely! You may even decide not to make a purchase and make do with what you have.

At the simplest level, this includes selecting goods with less packaging, buying products made with recycled materials and choosing food and other perishables which haven’t been transported by air. By choosing these products, you help to create a market for them, meaning that more companies will make them and stock them in future.

To learn more about the factors to take into account when deciding what to buy, and for ratings of individual companies and products, try the online Good Shopping Guide at Gooshing

CO2 impact

Most products you buy will have involved some carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions in sourcing their consitituents, their manufacture and their transport. These emissions form part of your “indirect” contribution to climate change – they are hard to measure, but important nonetheless because indirect emissions make up just over half the average total emissions of a UK citizen.

As consumer pressure grows, and demand for “green” products increases, more and more businesses will look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and this will help to reduce overall carbon emissions. Your daily purchasing decisions form part of this consumer pressure.

Money aspects

Green products are often perceived as being more expensive, but this isn’t always the case. Even if you don’t want to spend more, there are still plenty of green choices open to you. Also, over time, green products should become cheaper as they become more in demand and more widely available.

Sometimes green products cost more initially, but save you money in the longer term, for example if they last longer or consume less energy in use. Don’t forget to take this into account!

Other benefits

“Ethical” shopping is often interpreted more widely than supporting reductions in carbon footprints. For example, avoiding products that contain toxic chemicals which damage the environment, buying Fairtrade goods which guarantee a fair income to third world producers and boycotting companies involved in abusing workers’ rights or that avoid paying UK tax. Your shopping choices can therefore influence a whole range of issues – it’s up to you to decide which ones you want to take a stand on. However, do beware of “greenwash” - there is an increasing tendency for some companies to market the environmental credentials of their products but their claims do not always stand up to scrutiny.

Back to the top

3. Get involved in environmental groups

You can get more involved in WinACC by joining one of our action groups or becoming a low carbon champion. Why not come along to one of our Open Meetings, held from 10:30 to 12 on the first Saturday of alternate months (February, April etc.) at St Lawrence Parish Room in Colebrook Street, Winchester or from 19.45 to 21.15 on the second Tuesday of alternate months (January, March etc.) at the Winchester Club, Highfield Lodge, Worthy Lane, Winchester (check dates here)?

You could also attend one of the regular Southampton Greenpeace or Winchester Friends of the Earth meetings to find out more about local campaigning on environmental issues. There are also several active greening campaigns in Winchester and surrounding villages.

Even if you don’t have much time to spare, you can support environmental groups by making a donation or taking out an annual subscription.

CO2 impact

This is another action whose carbon impact is hard to measure but has the potential to be very significant. By persuading others to take action, you can have a far bigger influence than by making changes in your lifestyle alone.

Money aspects

Environmental groups are always pleased to receive offers of time and/or money – it’s up to you to decide what you can spare.

If you do decide to make a donation, consider whether you can make it a regular donation as it helps charities to know they can rely on a regular stream of income. If you pay UK tax, make sure you “gift aid” your donation – the charity can reclaim basic rate tax on your donation at no cost to you, and if you’re a higher rate tax-payer you can reclaim the difference between basic rate and higher rate tax through your tax return.

Other benefits

Joining an environmental group is a great way of meeting new people with a similar outlook and having some fun. Some groups (for example, those involved in conservation) can also help you to get fit or learn new skills.

Back to the top

4. Lobby politicians about climate change

“Campaigning” can sound serious or time-consuming but it just means speaking up for the things you care about. It needn’t take up much time and you don’t even need to leave home.

Sign up for a campaigning newsletter such as Friends of the Earth’s Climate Online email list, or 350.org[BS1] .  They’ll keep you informed of their latest campaigns and make it easy for you to get involved in things like signing petitions and emailing your MP. The WinACC Discussion Forum[BS2]  also has an area about national petitions and other campaigns you may wish to support.

Find out what your political representatives, local and national, are doing about climate change - it’s up to us to make sure they are taking it seriously. The “WriteToThem” site tells you who your local representatives are and helps you email them. It also gives information on the voting record of the Member of Parliament. You could write a letter to the Hampshire Chronicle which has a circulation of about 13,000.

CO2 impact

You may sometimes feel frustrated that neither local nor central government is doing enough to tackle climate change. There are all sorts of ways government can encourage or force businesses and individuals to reduce their carbon footprints. However, in our democratic society, they won’t do this without voter support, so make your views heard.

Money aspects

Most lobbying can be done by email these days, so it doesn’t even cost you the price of a stamp!

Other benefits

This is an easy and quick way to “do your bit” – campaigning organisations will do much of the work on your behalf.

Back to the top

5. Invest your money “ethically”

Put your savings where your mouth is: find out about your bank’s environmental policy and if it’s not up to scratch move to one that’s better. Ethical Consumer has free buyer guides for a range of financial products.

If you have money to invest, consult the Ethical Investment Association or the UK Social Investment Forum for information about “green” funds and environmentally conscious financial advice. EIRIS produces a Green & Ethical Funds Database which provides detailed information about green and ethical investment funds available to UK individuals.

If you belong to a “money purchase” pension scheme, enquire about investing your contributions in a “green” or "ethical" fund. If you belong to a “final salary” pension scheme, ask the scheme trustees about their policy on Responsible Investment and how they take climate change into account in their investment decisions.

CO2 impact

This is rather like buying green products. Your bank and pension fund invest your savings on your behalf, and a key way they do this is through buying the shares and debt of other companies. Do you know what these companies are doing to reduce their carbon footprint? Probably not - most people don’t even know which companies their money is invested in. However, you can change this by investing in “green” funds. Companies need people to invest in them, as well as buy their products, and so investing your money wisely is another way of influencing businesses.

Money aspects

A key question people ask is how investing their money ethically will affect the rate of return they earn on it, but this is a hard question to answer. Research into the past performance of ethical funds compared to non-ethical funds seems to have shown mixed results. Moreover, it is future performance which matters and past performance is not necessarily a good guide to future performance.

As with all investments, make you sure you do your homework first, to understand the risks you’re taking with your money, and don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Other benefits

“Ethical” investment is often about more than just climate change, covering the full range of social and environmental issues. As with shopping, it’s up to you to decide what “ethical” means to you.

Back to the top

If you would like to give feedback on this site, or have any suggestions for improvement, please contact us. We are particularly keen to hear about other organisations and initiatives in and around Winchester which can help people reduce their carbon footprint.

The information on this page is provided in good faith and reflects our understanding of the underlying science and technology at the time of writing, but we cannot guarantee that it is wholly accurate. All figures for costs, savings and other matters are estimates: the actual figures will depend on your particular circumstances and may differ (perhaps significantly) from those shown. Although we have included links to various organisations, we are not recommending these organisations: it is your responsibility to check that they are suitable for your needs. Nonetheless, if you experience difficulties with any of the links or organisations, or believe that any of the information presented here is inaccurate, please let us know and we will update this page if we consider it necessary.

Using your influence is potentially the most powerful way you can combat climate change. Spread the word among family, friends and colleagues. And remember that governments and businesses do take notice of what their voters and customers want - make your voice heard!

Your influence tips:

1.     

Encourage others to follow your example

2.     

Buy green products and support businesses that are trying to reduce their carbon footprints

3.     

Get involved in environmental groups

4.     

Lobby politicians about climate change

5.     

Invest your money “ethically”

Overview

People sometimes say they feel powerless to do anything about climate change: how can one person make a difference? and isn’t it the responsibility of government and businesses, rather than individuals, to take the lead in combatting climate change?

However, you can make a difference as an individual. Even though each action on its own may only have a small impact, the sum of lots of actions by lots of people can make a real difference. Just as importantly, governments and businesses do take notice of what their voters and customers want, so make your voice heard. You can do this simply by refusing to buy products or patronise businesses you know to be environmentally unfriendly!

The simplest thing you can do is to tell the people around you about your actions to combat climate change and yet this is also one of the most effective things you can do. Word of mouth is powerful!

“Campaigning” can sound serious or time-consuming but what it really means is speaking up for the things you care about. It can be as simple as asking for local food to be stocked in your supermarket, or finding out about your workplace’s environmental policy.

CO2 impact

Influencing others has the potential to be your biggest impact on climate change – persuading just one person to make the same changes to their lifestyle as you have made to yours can double your impact.

Money aspects

Using your influence needn’t cost you anything – it’s up to you. For example, you can do voluntary work for an environmental group for free, but if you aren’t able to spare the time, you might choose to donate money to them instead.

Other benefits

This is an easy way of “doing your bit” for the environment and feeling good about the contribution you’re making. By engaging with others, you will feel part of a bigger movement for social change and your influence will grow.

Back to the top

1. Encourage others to follow your example

The first step is simply to tell those around you (friends, family and work colleagues) about the ways you’re “greening” your lifestyle. You needn’t actively encourage them to follow your example if you don’t feel comfortable doing so – just talking about climate change helps to raise awareness.

If you want to do more, then lobby your employer to introduce an environmental policy or improve their existing policy. For example, encourage them to contact the Carbon Trust to find ways of saving money through reducing their energy bills. If businesses realise that there’s demand from their employees, they’re more likely to take action. Businesses that are certified to the ISO14001 environmental management standard may attract more customers.

Help the voluntary and community organisations to which you belong reduce their impact on the environment, tackle climate change and improve their local area by encouraging them to become an organisational member of WinACC.

CO2 impact

Influencing others has the potential to be your biggest impact on climate change – persuading just one person to make the same changes to their lifestyle as you have made to yours can double your impact. Think about the number of people you know and you’ll quickly realise how big your impact could be, especially if they go on to influence others in turn.

Persuading your employer to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions can be particularly effective. Offices typically produce up to 1.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide per employee per year, which is over 10% of the total annual emissions per person in the UK. This is due to high heating and air-conditioning costs and inefficient use of lights, computers and other electrical appliances.

Money aspects

This action costs you nothing and can save money for others. Even if they aren’t interested in climate change, they may be keen to reduce their energy bills, especially if money is tight and/or energy prices are high.

Other benefits

Talking to others about climate change can be fun and rewarding. It will help you to feel part of a bigger movement and feel good that you’re doing your bit for the environment.

Back to the top

2. Buy green products and support businesses that are trying to reduce their carbon footprints

Today we live in a consumer-driven society and this means that you have the power to influence businesses with every purchasing decision you make. Every time you buy products and services, it’s like voting for the businesses which make and sell them, so use your vote wisely! You may even decide not to make a purchase and make do with what you have.

At the simplest level, this includes selecting goods with less packaging, buying products made with recycled materials and choosing food and other perishables which haven’t been transported by air. By choosing these products, you help to create a market for them, meaning that more companies will make them and stock them in future.

To learn more about the factors to take into account when deciding what to buy, and for ratings of individual companies and products, try the online Good Shopping Guide at Gooshing.

CO2 impact

Most products you buy will have involved some carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions in sourcing their consitituents, their manufacture and their transport. These emissions form part of your “indirect” contribution to climate change – they are hard to measure, but important nonetheless because indirect emissions make up just over half the average total emissions of a UK citizen.

As consumer pressure grows, and demand for “green” products increases, more and more businesses will look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and this will help to reduce overall carbon emissions. Your daily purchasing decisions form part of this consumer pressure.

Money aspects

Green products are often perceived as being more expensive, but this isn’t always the case. Even if you don’t want to spend more, there are still plenty of green choices open to you. Also, over time, green products should become cheaper as they become more in demand and more widely available.

Sometimes green products cost more initially, but save you money in the longer term, for example if they last longer or consume less energy in use. Don’t forget to take this into account!

Other benefits

“Ethical” shopping is often interpreted more widely than supporting reductions in carbon footprints. For example, avoiding products that contain toxic chemicals which damage the environment, buying Fairtrade goods which guarantee a fair income to third world producers and boycotting companies involved in abusing workers’ rights or that avoid paying UK tax. Your shopping choices can therefore influence a whole range of issues – it’s up to you to decide which ones you want to take a stand on. However, do beware of “greenwash” - there is an increasing tendency for some companies to market the environmental credentials of their products but their claims do not always stand up to scrutiny.

Back to the top

3. Get involved in environmental groups

You can get more involved in WinACC by joining one of our action groups or becoming a low carbon champion. Why not come along to one of our Open Meetings, held from 10:30 to 12 on the first Saturday of alternate months (February, April etc.) at St Lawrence Parish Room in Colebrook Street, Winchester or from 19.45 to 21.15 on the second Tuesday of alternate months (January, March etc.) at the Winchester Club, Highfield Lodge, Worthy Lane, Winchester (check dates here)?

You could also attend one of the regular Southampton Greenpeace or Winchester Friends of the Earth meetings to find out more about local campaigning on environmental issues. There are also several active greening campaigns in Winchester and surrounding villages.

Even if you don’t have much time to spare, you can support environmental groups by making a donation or taking out an annual subscription.

CO2 impact

This is another action whose carbon impact is hard to measure but has the potential to be very significant. By persuading others to take action, you can have a far bigger influence than by making changes in your lifestyle alone.

Money aspects

Environmental groups are always pleased to receive offers of time and/or money – it’s up to you to decide what you can spare.

If you do decide to make a donation, consider whether you can make it a regular donation as it helps charities to know they can rely on a regular stream of income. If you pay UK tax, make sure you “gift aid” your donation – the charity can reclaim basic rate tax on your donation at no cost to you, and if you’re a higher rate tax-payer you can reclaim the difference between basic rate and higher rate tax through your tax return.

Other benefits

Joining an environmental group is a great way of meeting new people with a similar outlook and having some fun. Some groups (for example, those involved in conservation) can also help you to get fit or learn new skills.

Back to the top

4. Lobby politicians about climate change

“Campaigning” can sound serious or time-consuming but it just means speaking up for the things you care about. It needn’t take up much time and you don’t even need to leave home.

Sign up for a campaigning newsletter such as Friends of the Earth’s Climate Online email list, or 350.org

[BS1]

 .  They’ll keep you informed of their latest campaigns and make it easy for you to get involved in things like signing petitions and emailing your MP. The WinACC Discussion Forum

[BS2]

  also has an area about national petitions and other campaigns you may wish to support.

Find out what your political representatives, local and national, are doing about climate change - it’s up to us to make sure they are taking it seriously. The “WriteToThem” site tells you who your local representatives are and helps you email them. It also gives information on the voting record of the Member of Parliament. You could write a letter to the Hampshire Chronicle which has a circulation of about 13,000.

CO2 impact

You may sometimes feel frustrated that neither local nor central government is doing enough to tackle climate change. There are all sorts of ways government can encourage or force businesses and individuals to reduce their carbon footprints. However, in our democratic society, they won’t do this without voter support, so make your views heard.

Money aspects

Most lobbying can be done by email these days, so it doesn’t even cost you the price of a stamp!

Other benefits

This is an easy and quick way to “do your bit” – campaigning organisations will do much of the work on your behalf.

 

[BS1]

CHRIS - This needs a link.

 

[BS2]

CHRIS  -  I can only find it by searching for it!! Is it still alive?