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COP 26 - how going one step greener can help the planet

Image to promote #OneStepGreener

In the lead up to COP26, to mark the Together for our Planet campaign, we want to hear how you’re helping to tackle climate change. Whether it's cycling to work or eating last night's leftovers for lunch, get involved!

Around the world storms, floods and wildfires are intensifying. Air pollution affects the health of tens of millions of people and unpredictable weather causes untold damage to homes and livelihoods. But while the impacts of climate change are devastating, advances in tackling it are leading to cleaner air, creating quality jobs, restoring nature and at the same time unleashing economic growth. 

For nearly three decades, the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits called COPs, which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties.’ This year’s conference (which was delayed by a year due to the pandemic) will be the 26th annual summit - giving it the name COP26. From 31 October to 12 November, the UK, in partnership with Italy, will host an event in Glasgow. Many believe COP26 could be the world’s last good chance to get runaway climate change under control. 

Tackling climate change

In advance of COP26, the UK is working with every nation to reach agreement on how best to tackle climate change. More than 100 world leaders are expected to arrive in Scotland, and together with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens, they will gather for 12 days of talks. Not only is it a huge task, it  goes way beyond another international summit. Experts believe COP26 has a unique urgency. 

The UK is already leading the way on climate action. We have set a high bar for other countries to follow. The COP26 summit is the moment for other nations to come forward to share their ambitious plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

UK’s year of climate action

The Together for our Planet campaign is building momentum for positive action on climate change across UK society, ahead of the COP26 summit.

Image of man gardening to promote COP 26
Garden farming: We can all go greener

The campaign will showcase how individuals across the UK are making a difference in their daily lives and going #OneStepGreener - from the engineers working on offshore wind farms powering our homes and businesses, to local initiatives encouraging children and parents to walk to school. #OneStepGreener will show how ordinary people can make a difference, encouraging everyone else to do their bit, however large or small.

Going above and beyond

As part of the campaign, we will be working with 26 #OneStepGreener Ambassadors; extraordinary, everyday, people who are going above and beyond for the climate. #OneStepGreener Ambassadors symbolise the very best in UK climate leadership and will inspire the public to follow in their footsteps. 

Dame Jackie Daniel, NHS Trust CEO
Dame Jackie Daniel, NHS Trust CEO

One of our ambassadors is Dame Jackie Daniel, NHS Trust CEO. Dame Jackie was appointed Chief Executive of Newcastle Hospitals in March 2018 and was recently named as one of the top five chief executives of the year in the Health Service Journal Awards for 2021. Since then, the Trust has retained its outstanding Care Quality Commission status and has become the first NHS organisation to pledge to reach Net Zero Carbon. Find out more about the #OneStepGreener Ambassadors here

Mass movement

The intention of the Together for our Planet campaign is to create a mass movement of green steps across the country in the lead up to COP26, showing how small actions culminate in large collective action. 

Across government, departments have aligned their climate communications to boost engagement and spur the mass movement across social media channels all under the hashtag #OneStepGreener. 

The #OneStepGreener call to action was launched on 1 July at Wimbledon Environment Day, with the official launch of the search for #OneStepGreener Ambassadors on 24 July to mark 100 days until the start of COP26.

Major announcements such as the Department for Transport’s decarbonisation plan, BEIS’s  Funding for innovative smart energy systems and Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund linked into #OneStepGreener or #TogetherForOurPlanet. GCS Local was instrumental in amplifying comms to regional business groups and local authorities, with bulletins to almost 3,000 recipients. 

Small steps

Our individual actions may sometimes feel dwarfed, not to mention other factors that may constrain the choices many people can make in the first place. But we aren’t powerless - #OneStepGreener showcases that our choices do have an impact and do culminate in meaningful action against climate change. 

Everyone's capabilities are different. Overall, it's important to find the ways in which you can go one step greener that work for your lifestyle and within your means. 

We can no longer afford to wait to act against the threat of climate change. In the lead up to COP26, we must come together to protect our planet and people to ensure a greener, more resilient future for us all. We must all go #OneStepGreener. 

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  1. Comment by Frances Rooney-Mullen posted on

    What about the very simple step to help climate change- ban fireworks throughout the world. That will certainly help climate change, air quality, etc. It’s not rocket science!’nn

  2. Comment by Nicola French posted on

    A very well written and informative blog.

  3. Comment by MikeC posted on

    Over the last 5 years I have added solar to the house, started growing my own vegetables and moved to driving electric. One thing that would help a lot is understanding the governments plans to add solar panels and provide electric car charging at their offices as this would make a huge difference as well as showing leadership to the business around us.

  4. Comment by Richard posted on

    What's new? I've lived in my terraced house for 30 years and for 29 grown veg and soft fruit in my garden freezing it and offering the surplus to neighbours. I usually cycle to work & get my food shopping unless inclement weather means it's too dangerous. Food has never been just thrown out and a stew at the end of the week or stir fry is the norm. If it has to go everything except meat and bones goes into 2 bins to supply compost for the garden and the leachate provided by the worms becomes a liquid feed for tomatoes or veg in my green house. I grow rainbow Chard for about 9 months of the year. I've had solar panels installed since 2011 and because of a complaint from a neighbour & Bristol Council in 2019 had to take down in one set on a flat roof garage? They are not yet environmentally friendly enough to care about the long term future of our community! ... So what's new? If everyone just did one thing we would have a cleaner environment for all. Whether it be repairing, recycling or cutting down on pollution by walking or cycling short distances, reusing shopping bags etc.