It’s Valentine’s Day this week and love is all around… But this year, can you spare a little bit of love for our wonderful natural world? Show your love for nature, wear a green heart and cut down your carbon footprint with these four easy steps.

Show the Love

Show the Love campaign green heart

Show your love for nature and support the campaign by wearing a green heart. Photo: Jenny Tweedie (rspb-images.com)

In contrast to the sea of red hearts, the Climate Coalition’s Show the Love campaign is raising awareness of climate change with a green heart. This symbol is to raise awareness of global warming, and how climate change affects birds, animals and our natural habitats.

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There are many high-profile victims of global warming, such as polar bears starving as the Arctic snow melts away, and the mass die-off of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

But it’s affecting wildlife closer to home as well. Like the rest of the world we are experiencing a changing climate and more extreme weather events, such as increased winter flooding and last summer’s heatwave, which left wildlife struggling to find fresh food and water. The RSPB is taking action on climate change. Will you join us?

This month, from 5–24 February, we can all wear a green heart to Show the Love we have for nature and proudly do something to reduce our carbon footprint.

Here are four easy ways the Climate Coalition says we can all reduce our carbon footprint and combat the greenhouse effect.

1. Use fossil fuel free transport

Using fossil fuels to travel is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases, but is also one of the easiest changes to make. Driving a car full of people is better than driving a car each, but using public transport is better still.

Electric cars are also better than fossil fuel versions, too, especially if they’re recharged using clean and sustainable electricity. Last year, the number of electric cars on UK roads grew by 23%, and there are now more charging points than petrol stations!

Best of all, divest yourself of fossil fuels altogether by walking or cycling as much as possible.

Reduce carbon footprint by walking

Get fit, see more nature and save the planet by walking as much as you can. Photo: iStock

2. Reduce your energy usage

How we use gas and electricity at home is as important as how we use petrol and diesel for transport. Unlike gas, petrol and diesel, electricity can be generated sustainably without using fossil fuels, so an easy win is switching to a renewables-only energy provider. This helps send a strong message to the industry that we demand clean energy.

There are also lots of ways to cut down your energy use (and bills) to reduce your carbon footprint. Turn lights off when not in use, switch appliances off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby, install a smart meter to monitor your energy use, insulate your home, don’t over-fill the kettle. These will all save you money, too!

3. Eat responsibly

What we eat has a profound effect on our environment. Did you know that beef uses 160 times more land and 11 times more water than grain crops? Livestock farming is also a huge contributor to greenhouse gases.

You can feed many more people per acre with food grown in soil, without impacting your health. As s a rule of thumb, plant-based foods are better for nature than animal-based foods; local and seasonal foods are better than imported foods; and organic is better than intensively farmed. Why not make some simple changes to do whatever you can.   

Reduce carbon footprint by growing your own food

By locally and seasonally or grow your own to cut down the carbon footprint of your food. Photo: iStock

4. Reduce, reuse and recycle

Each year, the average person throws away a third of their food, 70lbs of clothing, and an estimated 80kg–100kg of plastic. Remember, when you throw something away, there is no “away.” Much of it will be shipped to landfill somewhere, or could end up being dumped at sea. Even recycling uses up precious water and energy, and most materials cannot be recycled indefinitely.

Why not use Show the Love February as the start of your journey towards waste reduction? Challenge yourself to shop more mindfully. Read up on recycling and reusing, and use your leftover food. If something in the fridge needs using up, prep and freeze it, or stick it in a stew. It helps your pocket as well as the planet!

Use the hashtag #showthelove to show off the meal you created out of leftover bits and bobs, the packaging you repurposed, or the clothing you upcycled!

Wear or make a green heart to show that you’re fighting climate change. Sign up at the Show the Love campaign site, email your MP to demand support, and use #ShowTheLove on social media to share the positive changes you’re making.

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