Climate crisis? Try this!

It’s a prob­lem that every­one runs into every now and then. It is a anoth­er day at the office, you are just get­ting into the flow of work­ing won­ders for human­i­ty, med­ical progress, eco­nom­ic growth — and then your plan­et sud­den­ly turns out to have a cli­mate cri­sis. What to do?

I dis­cuss five home made reme­dies that I have tried out recent­ly. With free tips!

1. Eat plants

The pro­duc­tion of meat and dairy prod­ucts con­tributes a lot to the emis­sion of green­house gas­es. The good news is that we do not need meat or dairy to eat good food.

Con­clu­sion: After stick­ing to a plant-based diet for 5 years, dur­ing which I gave birth to a healthy nine-pounder whom I’m still breast­feed­ing, I can­not dis­cov­er any down­sides to this method.

Tip: Don’t for­get to take vit­a­min B12.

2. Go zero waste

There is too much plas­tic in the world. Col­lect­ing plas­tic waste sep­a­rate­ly does not solve every­thing. The UK exports a lot of plas­tic waste to Malaysia, where it runs a high risk of end­ing up in nature. The Nether­lands does the same in Indone­sia. There’s sim­ply not a lot you can make from low qual­i­ty plas­tic (such as bags).

So we’re try­ing to ban sin­gle-use plas­tic from our life. It’s quite easy to find veg­eta­bles and bread with­out it. I try to avoid buy­ing food that needs pack­ag­ing, like soy yogurt, tofu and bis­cuits. We’ve also tried plas­tic-free tooth­brush­es, dish­wash­ing sponges and deodorant.

Con­clu­sion: Once you have tack­led the obvi­ous things (bring your own shop­ping bag and water bot­tle), the rest can some­times feel like an obses­sion or a hob­by. Does my deodor­ant real­ly have such a big impact on the environment?

Tip: Occa­sion­al­ly we pool togeth­er with some friends and order 10 kilo­gram bags of beans, nuts, rice and pas­ta, which also saves pack­ag­ing. Who Gives A Crap are great for toi­let paper.

3. Take to the streets

This was in May, when we took part in the Moth­er’s Day March in Lon­don (fathers were wel­come too). The logo is from Extinc­tion Rebel­lion. I sup­port this organ­i­sa­tion because their demos ensure that nobody can ignore the facts.

The mass extinc­tion of species, peo­ple drown­ing or los­ing every­thing in floods, regions becom­ing too hot to live, caus­ing more peo­ple to get dis­placed. Behind our dikes and with the air con­di­tion­ing on full blast, we will be the last to notice, but at the same time we’re the ones who can exert the most polit­i­cal pressure.

Con­clu­sion: It is a bit of a has­sle and seems very indi­rect, but a demon­stra­tion of thou­sands of peo­ple sends out a clear sig­nal. And in the UK, it seems that the demands of Extinc­tion Rebel­lion are slow­ly being met.

Tip: Attach poles to your plac­ard, because hold­ing a piece of card­board above your head for a few hours is a pret­ty tough workout.

4. Eating cake in town

With few­er bis­cuits in the house (see rem­e­dy 2), we have to eat more cake. And because we don’t have time to bake, we pay oth­ers to do that. As a full-time moth­er, I’m hang­ing around cafes most of the time any­way, because our liv­ing room is old news for Y. And in town we come across all sorts of inter­est­ing people.

Con­clu­sion: The most pleas­ant way to tack­le the cri­sis, per­haps not the most effective.

5. Stop buying stuff

The dri­ving force behind the cri­sis is our urgent need to keep buy­ing new things. They need to be pro­duced, trans­port­ed and, after a while, processed as waste.

When I need some­thing, I always try to find it sec­ond-hand. In The Nether­lands, there are amaz­ing sec­ond-hand shops called ‘kringloop winkel’. I even came across a give­away shop last time I was there. That is bound to be the death blow to con­sumerism. A unique pho­to frame that you can take away for free sud­den­ly stops being so tempting.

Con­clu­sion: Not buy­ing any­thing is very bor­ing. If you can’t go shop­ping any­more, what is the point of liv­ing? Hur­rah for sec­ond hand and give­away shops.


There are of course many more tac­tics to bring a cli­mate cri­sis to a suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion. “Plant­i­ng a for­est”, “Becom­ing a her­mit”, “Sail­ing around the world with your house”, “Wait­ing till Tech­nol­o­gy will save us”, “Con­clud­ing that it’s all hope­less any­way and fly­ing to Spain for a hol­i­day” — enough ideas to try out!