You must be living under a rock if you haven’t understood the urgency of climate change and the need to act NOW. I am by no means an ‘eco warrier’ and I definitely don’t want to preach but there are lots of things I do in my every day life to play my part in helping the planet and here are some simple things you can do too.
In my professional life though, I work in the charity sector and so I thought I’d share 12 environmental charities in the UK that are working hard to improve our world for both present and future generations. I hope they will inspire you to support them – whether that’s by donating some money to help them continue their important work, volunteer your time and skills or get involved in their policy campaigns – calling on policy makers and the government to take action or to hold them account to the promises they’ve already made.
In addition to these 12 sustainability charities, here are some UK charities that focus on marine conservation – helping restore and protect our oceans.
The Climate Coalition
The Climate Coalition is a charity made up of over 130 organisations across the UK and 22 million people strong, who are all dedicated to action against climate change. Their sister organisations are Stop Climate Chaos Cymru and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland.
Watch some of their achievements below!
When you think of WWF, you would be forgiven for immediately thinking of their Adopt an Animal campaign because after all, it’s wildlife (and pandas) that springs to mind. But did you know that they are the world’s leading conservation organisation? Their global work spans a huge range of conservation areas, from making our food system sustainable to tackling climate crisis to putting nature first, which is about protecting forests, oceans and more.
They even have a bunch of learning resources for teachers and children. In fact, they’ve been working with schools for over 30 years to provide classroom resources and inspiration to children, helping to build a brighter future for us all.
If you’re interested in what your Carbon Footprint is, they have a questionnaire you can take. Clearly mine still needs some work…
UK Youth Climate Coalition
The mission of UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC) is to mobilise and empower young people (18 -29 years old) to take positive action for global climate justice. They don’t want to just tackle climate change at its core but to look at the root causes and to challenge them. One of their recent campaigns is Talking Won’t Cut It: Your MP’s Climate Record – a website where you can find out your local MP’s voting records when it comes to climate and just how green they really are.
Since 1946, the Soil Association has been setting organic standards, supporting farmers and promoting organic food as being kinder to the environment, promoting wildlife and producing better food. Globally, around 30% of greenhouse gas emissions stem from food and farming so it’s vital we transform farming to help mitigate climate change.
The Wildlife Trusts
The Wildlife Trusts is made up of 46 Wildlife Trusts, which are independent charities with a shared mission: To bring about living landscapes, living seas and a society where nature matters. Right now, nature is in trouble as more than half of the UK’s species are in decline. Currently, climate change is the second most significant factor affecting wildlife populations in the UK.
The Wildlife Trusts work to save our wildlife and wild places through influencing and developing policies, looking after 2,300 nature reserves, creating Living Spaces, saving species at risk, undertaking important research on wildlife and habitats to help guide conservation, and much more.
I may be a foodie, but I hate food waste! I have a food waste bin at home but really I try to limit my food waste as much as possible by eating leftovers and buying only what I need. So any charity that’s trying to solve the food waste problem is one close to my heart.
Not only is Fareshare a charity that is fighting hunger in the UK, it’s tackling food waste too. Far too many of our restaurants, supermarkets and food chains throw away food that could go to people who need it. Fareshare is made up of 18 independent organisations who take surplus food from right across the food industry to then distribute it to almost 11,000 frontline charities and community groups. Almost a million meals are created every week for vulnerable people from the food Fareshare provides.
This surplus food would otherwise go to landfill where it would rot and create methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. The Food and Agricultural Organisation in the United States estimates that the carbon footprint of food waste equates to 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually. So it’s vital we stop this unnecessary waste.
The history of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) dates back to 1888 when it was founded by Emily Williamson at her home in Manchester. The fashion of the day was for women to wear plumes in their hats, leading to the destruction of birds and so the charity was founded to counteract this trade. The mission of the RSPB today is to save nature.
By 2025 they want they want to ensure that at least 20% of UK land is well managed for nature so that bird species in trouble can recover. The charity even has a Centre for Conservation Science where they look for important problems, understand the causes, test for potential solutions and then ensure that they work when implemented.
Zero Waste Scotland
Zero Waste Scotland aims to inspire Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where they can have the greatest impact on climate change. They aim to inform policy and to motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the economic, environmental and social benefits of a circular economy (where everything has value and nothing is wasted). They encourage people to re-use and repair, instead of landing up in landfill. They encourage reducing food waste, saving energy and more.
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth is an environmental campaigning community who have been around since 1971. They are dedicated to the protection and wellbeing of the natural world and everyone in it. Their Big Ask campaign in 2017 was instrumental in bringing about the historic Climate Change Act by the UK government. This law commits the government to cutting CO2 emissions by 3% year on year, bringing about an 80% cut by 2050.
The charity has also been instrumental in helping to save British bees in the UK. Since 1900, 13 bee species have become extinct in the UK and a further 35 are on the threatened species list. Bees pollinate 75% of our main food crops worldwide and it’s estimated that it would cost over £1.8 billion a year to pollinate UK crops by hand. You can do your part in saving British Bees by getting a Bee Saver Kit.
Greenpeace is a campaigning organisation that uses non-violent action in creative ways to confront the systems that threaten our world and to pave the way for a greener society. In 2021 their priority is to remove fossil fuels and put the industry out of business.
Climate Outreach is a charity that focuses on helping people to understand this complex issue in ways that resonate with their sense of identity, values and worldview. They believe that real change happens when people across society and around the world creates what they call a social mandate for climate action, through informed consent and support.
When you think of Oxfam, the environment or climate change is probably not something you’d necessarily equate them with but actually they have been campaigning in this area for 12 years. In fact, you can read how they’re tackling climate change which includes framing climate issues as human rights issues.