UK weather this week has been hot. Too hot. 40°C weather in the UK is now 10 times more likely because of climate change. The extreme temperatures across much of the UK are a stark reminder that climate change is already having an impact on us and our wildlife.

Fire at Snettisham Coastal Park, Les Bunyan

Wild fire at Snettisham Coastal Park, 19 July 2022 by RSPB Volunteer Les Bunyan.

Rising to the challenge

However, as temperatures rise, people like you are rising to the challenge of fighting climate change while protecting the wildlife we love. Here are some of the ways you can help from your own home.

1. Gardening to help wildlife and the climate

Nature can play a part in helping us fight back against climate change, we just need to give it the space and protection to do its thing. Here’s how you can help in your outdoor space.

View of peatland and mountains at Forsinard flows

Go peat free

Peatland covers 12% of the UK’s land but stores more carbon than the forests of the UK, France and Germany combined. One of the ways you can protect our peatlands from being dug up is to use peat-free compost. Most garden centres sell alternatives, or even better set up your own compost heap or bin.  

Grow a tree

There’s a wildlife-friendly tree for every size of garden, and even for patios and balconies. Trees offer shelter, nesting sites and food for wildlife, as well as storing carbon. They also provide cool, dappled shade to hide away from the midday sun.  

A blue tit splashes around in a bird bath, with water droplets flying around it

Just add water

Water is a magic ingredient in the garden. Even a small bird bath will attract visitors, while ponds are nature magnets. It’s easy to create a mini container pond, and you’d like a bigger project, dig a larger pond to create a wildlife haven. As our weather gets hotter, these sources of water will become even more important for the wildlife in your patch.  

With water generally becoming scarcer during summers in parts of the UK, saving water where you can is also a good idea. For your garden, you could cut use by installing a rainfall water butt - a climate-friendly alternative to using mains water, especially during hosepipe bans. Or why not water your plants with water you’ve used to wash fruit and veg, as well as cooled cooking water.

Let it grow

Keeping your outdoor space green helps both wildlife and the planet. Lawns left to grow are a great habitat for wildlife, as are beds full of native flowers and bushes. But a healthy soil is also a benefit, providing places to live for minibeasts as well as storing away carbon. Lawns also absorb rainwater a lot better than paving or decking, helping to reduce the impact of flash flooding.

Wildflowers in a garden lawn

Go organic

Pesticides and herbicides aren’t picky – most kill many different living things and damage the environment, despite what they say on the label. Going organic doesn’t have to be expensive or tricky. It's about learning to live alongside the wildlife in your garden and finding natural ways to control pests. Let wildlife-gardening expert, Adrian, convince you. 

Discover more ideas to help the Nature on Your Doorstep

2. Saving energy and reducing waste

Saving energy and reducing waste at home can be hard, especially in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis. Any steps we can take, big or small, will all help to fight climate change. Here’s a few starters for ten:

  • Walk or jump on a bicycle for short trips
  • Try eating less meat, and buy local and in season where possible
  • Take short, cooler showers (ideal at the moment!)
  • Think about installing a water meter if you don’t have one and check if your water company offers free water-saving devices
  • Look for green grants to help replace old windows with double or triple glazing
  • Investigate whether solar panels could save you energy and money
  • Buy second-hand and re-usable items, from furniture to fashion
  • Repair or recycle items, or seek out your local repair café

Find out more about green living at home


Fire damage, Snettisham Coastal Park, 21 July 2022

What we need the government to do

While we can do our bit, it’s also crucial for our governments to step up. The countdown is on to CBD COP15 - the biggest nature summit in over a decade. We're calling on UK governments to invest in nature-based solutions alongside decarbonising our energy sector. This is vital in the fight against climate change.

What are nature-based solutions?

Nature-based solutions are nature’s way of helping us deal with the climate crisis. By protecting, restoring and creating thriving natural habitats, nature can play a part in fighting climate change, as well as helping wildlife and people.

How do they help tackle climate change?

Natural habitats such as native woodlands, coastal wetlands, peatlands and green urban spaces are vitally important in our fight against climate change. They can absorb and store carbon, which we’ve emitted through burning fossil fuels, intensive farming and deforestation. By protecting, restoring and creating these natural landscapes, we can prevent more carbon reaching the atmosphere and further heating the planet. They can also help to reduce the risk of flooding by absorbing and slowing down rainfall and tidal surges.

Do nature-based solutions benefit wildlife?

Restoring and creating natural habitats provides vital homes, shelter and food for wildlife. With natural meadows and woodland declining in the UK, nature is finding it harder to find somewhere to nest, feed and rest. Nature-based solutions help to rectify that.

But nature-based solutions are also fantastic for humans, too. Being surrounded by green space can improve our health, cool our cities, and clean our air and water. These landscapes can boost our mental health and help us to appreciate nature and wildlife. They also create green jobs, benefit local communities and boost economies.

What we want from the UK Government

For nature-based solutions to work, we need the government to create new laws and funding to urgently protect, restore and create natural habitats. In the UK, nature-based solutions counted for 0.5% of the UK Government’s total spend in 2021.


How do we bring it all together?

These are big problems, but we have a big plan. All of us acting at home will create a tapestry of wildlife havens throughout the UK. With your support, we can push national governments to make global commitments for wildlife and our planet at COP15 this December.

We have the tools. Together, we need to put them to work.

Find out the latest news about COP 15 and how you can play a part here.

  • Climate change is undeniably reshaping our weather patterns. The scorching 40°C temperatures in the UK are not just uncomfortable; they're a clear signal of the urgent need for collective action. Let's use these extreme events as a wake-up call to prioritize sustainable practices and work towards a healthier planet for us and future generations

  • It's when we know that we're doing what we can as individuals but that's not enough that it becomes clear why we see people gluing themselves to things and vandalising The Sun HQ (for portraying the heat wave as a good thing)

  • "Only this".  No.  62% of global emissions were emitted by Europe and North America.  It is our refusal to even freeze our rate of consumption that has been the biggest problem.  Oil companies have long sponsored reports saying that addressing climate change will "impact the economy", yet for the UK we've done far more damage to our standard of living by leaving the EU than even the oil company predictions of doom.

    If we do nothing just saying that the only solution is to reduce population, then we're going to succeed in reducing it to zero.

  • We have done what we can in the garden. We put a pond in over lockdown. A wild grass area and wild garden area. We were amazed how much rain water we collected off the house, conservatory and shed all 6 containers. Trees have been planted over 20 years. Our garden is medium size. What else can we do?? Everything is tinder dry.

  • Best way of reducing the population is to educate girls and to give women and girls equal opportunities.  Unfortunately, often when people say reduce population they often mean that people of non-white races should have fewer children.  As it happens in developed countries the birth rate is low (because women tend to be better educated and have opportunities to have a career), but, of course, instead of welcoming immigrants to fill the jobs vacant due to there being fewer young people of working age some countries (e.g. Hungary) encourage women to have more children because they don't like immigrants.  

    However, the people in developing countries actually consume far fewer resources than those in developed countries.  The big problem is actually overconsumption by the fewer rather than consumption by the many  the richest 1% are responsible for more carbon emissions than the poorest 50% of the world population.

    If you want to reduce consumption there needs to be curbs on consumption by the wealthy and education, opportunity, equality and justice for all.