Home activist


In the first of a two-part rebel guide for the home activist, Wanstead Climate Action member Tina Nieman Da Costa explains how your food and finance choices can help save the environment

In these uncertain times, now that Covid is back (or never left), it is easy to become overwhelmed by a feeling of powerlessness. The tentative – and sometimes confusing – urgings of the government are not helping, and occasionally, they need to be reminded of the issues that remain unresolved.

Taking your carefully worded, attention-grabbing placard on the virus-riddled Tube and onto the virus-riddled streets of Westminster to be a visible reminder of dissatisfaction of the establishment may add to the growing infection rate, and you don’t want to be that guy. But this does not mean you, as an activist, are now restricted to angry ramblings on social media, the modern equivalent to shouting down the Tower of Babel. Instead, take flight into new avenues of civil disobedience. Here are a few ways to make an effective statement of rebellion and take on the man from the comfort of your home office.

Eat well and exercise
The hard facts are in and it’s true the food industry – including transport, production and waste – impacts heavily on the climate. Small changes to your eating habits can drastically reduce your carbon output. Eat local, eat organic and if you can, have vegan days or go plant-based completely. Combine this with a healthy diet and regular exercise to live a healthier life for longer.

Obesity is the second-highest impacting factor on GDP, costing the UK £27 billion a year in services, the main causes being food and inactivity. By making good choices now, you can guarantee extra resources for future generations, reduce pollution and stick it to a food system that prioritises profit over health.          

Reassess your money power
Money matters may be boring, but money matters matter. On 10 January 2019, The Guardian published “UK councils invest £566m in arms firms linked to the Yemen war,” an article by Rob Davis detailing lists of local councils using pension funds to invest in Saudi armament sales. Do you know what your money is doing? Pensions make up £3 trillion of investments in the UK, which include funds supporting fossil fuels and tobacco, as well as arms trading.

Exert political and economic pressure on institutions by divesting. Speak to your money manager or visit makemymoneymatter.co.uk to see what your options are and how your money can make a difference. Ethical funds have seen a steady rise against recent trends, so moving your money makes sense. Make your pension an effective weapon against climate change and all manner of shady dealings. Or as one money manager put it: “Why would you invest in your future, in funds actively working against you actually having a future?”

For more information on Wanstead Climate Action, visit wnstd.com/wca