Leo Jay Shire
Harriet has some life-saving tips for Bristol. Because if you want to save the world, you need to start local.
Moments after Donald Trump got inaugurated as president of the United States, the official White House website changed to reflect his key values. Controversially, he removed the climate change page. Trump’s views on climate change, most notably calling it a ‘hoax’ are worrying, given that we have factual evidence that the earth is warming – 2016 was the hottest year in history, marking it the third year in a row that set a global temperature record
Trump’s eco-unfriendly views are threatening our world. I believe that if individually we adopt small changes, collectively we could help to save the world and environment little by little. Here are five ways that you can help make the world a better place, starting with your local community:
1. Walk And Bike Around The City
Why not try cycling or walking to places instead of driving? Not only is it beneficial for your health and inexpensive (or free in the case of walking), it helps reduce the impact we make on the environment from car emissions.
I often listen to music or podcasts when walking, in order to switch off and unwind, rather than being stressed whilst stuck in traffic. Also you can stumble across things when walking – I happened to walk past this graffiti artist mid-act in Stokes Croft:
The great thing about Bristol is that you can walk between areas easily (if you don’t mind hills). There are loads of great sights to see whilst walking – you could make walking an activity, and do the Banksy tour walk, visiting his artwork around the city.
Cycling-wise, a great local initiative is the Bristol Bike Project, which repairs and relocates bicycles in the community that would otherwise be scrapped. It offers an alternative to buying new, by selling used bikes at affordable prices.
Alternatively, if your journey is too long for cycling, you could consider taking the bus, which damages the environment less as you are sharing your journey with others.
2. Support Local Businesses
By sourcing locally produced food, you are supporting local businesses and not buying food that has been flown halfway round the world, wrapped in unnecessary packaging. In Bristol, you’re spoilt for choice for places to shop. Gloucester Road, Europe’s longest row of independent shops is the go-to area for keen shoppers.
There is a great selection of weekly markets in Bristol, where you can buy fresh local produce and one-of-a-kind trinkets. St Nicholas Market Arcade is open Monday-Saturday, 9.30am-5pm and hosts a great range of independent retailers. The Bristol Harbour Market can be found on the Harbourside on weekends, offering stalls selling second-hand books, handmade products and local produce (not to mention a load of great food vans).
3. Try Veganism
Being a vegan has many ethical benefits, and one positive that is often overlooked is the environmental benefit that veganism brings. According to PETA, switching to a vegan diet is the most important step you can take to protect the environment – a vegan produces the equivalent of 50% less carbon dioxide than a meat eater.
I’m not suggesting that you have to become a full-time vegan, however even by adopting this habit occasionally, and encouraging others to do so, you are helping the environment. Why not adopt ‘meat-free Mondays’? Here are some vegan-friendly restaurants to tickle your taste buds in Bristol:
Café Kino: Located in the heart of Stokes Croft, Café Kino is a not-for-profit vegan café and community space. The majority of their produce is sourced locally, and I’ve heard that the veggie burger is the best in town.
The Canteen: Down the road from Café Kino, the Canteen offers plenty of ethically sourced, locally produced dishes. Their menu changes daily, depending on what ingredients are available from local suppliers.
Chris and Jo’s Kitchen: Situated on St Michael’s Hill, this restaurant is amazing. I went for dinner with two vegan friends here and they were shocked at the amount of choice – normally restaurants have limited choice for vegans however this restaurant had a separate vegan menu, which the owner was happy to talk us through. Here’s a photo of what I had:
4. Sell or Give Away Unwanted Items
Reduce your waste, and give your unwanted items to others rather than throwing them away. Gumtree allows you to buy and sell items in your local area. I managed to bag a £10 microwave off someone who didn’t want theirs anymore – it was a win-win situation, with a new cheap microwave for me, and an unwanted microwave taken off the seller’s hands with little fuss. With Gumtree you can sell things from the comfort of your own home without even having to walk out of your front door.
If you fancy venturing out a little further, and in turn helping those in need, you can donate unwanted items to your local charity shop. Empty out your wardrobe, and separate your clothes into two piles – keep, and give away. If you haven’t worn something in the last six months, chances are you won’t be wearing it anytime soon. Your clothes will be given to a good home and will be worn rather than sitting in your wardrobe, and money will be made for charity.
A great bookshop to check out is Books For Amnesty on Gloucester Road, where you can pick up reasonably priced second-hand books as well as donate your own. This could be done on a cyclical basis – buy a new book from a charity shop and donate back when finished. This way, you are giving money to charity, as well as getting a good read.
5. Volunteer Locally
You could even spare a few hours a week volunteering at a charity shop or a local Bristol charity that needs support. Bristol is packed with charities that warmly welcome volunteers. The website ‘Do It’ allows you to search by postcode for volunteering opportunities near to you. Ecojam posts ethical, environment and green volunteer opportunities in Bristol, and Volunteer Bristol similarly posts Bristol volunteering opportunities.
And there you have it: five ways to make a difference in your local community and help make the world a better place by doing your bit for the environment. As Obama said in his farewell speech: ‘I’m asking you to believe—not in my ability to create change, but in yours…’
Got any other tips for saving the world on a local level? Now’s the time to tell us: @rifemag