Leading an ethical and greener life is possible but not always easy to do, especially if you don’t know where to start. That is why we have put together 3 easy changes that you can make right now that will make a big difference.
1 – CHANGE YOUR ENERGY SUPPLIER to one that provides 100% renewable energy.
It is actually very easy to do.
Why? In the average UK home, Electricity is responsible for 10.4% of our households carbon emissions whilst gas contributes to 12.3%. Unfortunately, turning off your lights every time you leave a room isn’t going to cut back on those emissions if your energy is sourced from the depths of a coal mine. That is why, without elaboration, a quiet swap to a 100% renewable energy supplier will make a big difference. That is a whopping big change to your carbon emissions that can be made in a matter of minutes.
But, what will happen to my energy bills? Switching to a green energy supplier will save you money today and tomorrow (varying of course on what tariff you choose).
Here’s why – although there is still high demand for the finite supply of fossil fuels left on our planet, fossil fuels are running out. As oil, coal and gas supplies are going to become more scarce and sort after, the bills are inevitably going to go up.
On the other hand, renewable production is becoming increasingly cheaper and renewable energy is, well, renewable! Whilst there is sun in the sky, wind in the air and waves in the sea, we will have an infinite supply of energy.
Some suppliers offer green tariffs as an ‘optional choice’, are these genuine? Sadly today we have to beware of what is known as ‘greenwashing’. As good people scramble to decarbonise their lives there are corporations trying to make a quick buck out of us and our good intentions – it is criminal!
Research is key before you commit to a tariff – or alternatively you can trust the research of sources such as ‘Which?’ or ‘Uswitch’ who do a good job in breaking down what you are really paying for when it comes to buying ‘energy’.
Who is the best recommended energy supplier? The past 4 years have seen Octopus Energy wear the crown, which is great because they happen to be a 100% renewable energy provider. They have won awards for their customer service, great prices and the smoothest energy provider switch on the market without any exit fees. They also have the best SEG payments on the market which is great if you are exporting energy back to the grid thanks to Solar PV installed on your house.
Switch your energy provider now and slash your domestic carbon emissions by 10% in 5 minutes!
2 – CHANGE YOUR BANK to a bank, trust of building society that doesn’t invest in harmful practices.
Do you know what your bank is doing with your money?
How can my bank be really that bad? Sadly, if you bank with any one of the major UK high street banks such as Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC, Halifax, RBS or any of the other major UK banks (and yes that does include the CO-OP), then I’m afraid you are helping to support war through the arms industry and environmental destruction all over the planet – and I’m pretty sure wasn’t mentioned in your latest bank pamphlet.
Wow, that is quite a statement isn’t it? Just reflect on that for one moment … How dare they use our money to support such abhorrent practices that result in the death of thousands of civilians year on year.
Why would they do that? Short answer – Profit. Take the arms industry for example. The arms trade doesn’t care who wins the war, in fact many arms traders have been known to sell their arms to both sides of the same war.
Each of the above UK banks invests in, issues loans too and serves as principal banker for British and international arms companies.
Another highly lucrative investment that banks seem to love is in the extractive industries of gas, oil and mining. The more the Earth is ripped for its raw materials and the more fuel that is burnt and unless we act, the more profit will simply keep trickling back to the bankers greedy coffers.
Most high street banks invest in large food companies that promote GMOs, harmful pesticides, and unethical cattle and pig farming too. The list goes on…
Where can I learn more about my bank’s practices? Thanks to the rise in concern from good people, many investigative projects from activists have been created to help you find out just what the hell our banks have been doing with our money. Just take a look at the ‘2021 review’ by Rainforests Action Network on exactly how much each bank has invested in fossil fuels in the past financial year and the ‘War on Want’s research into the UK’s so called Blood Banks.
We can use these projects to help us find banks that are perhaps representing the general public a bit more in their spending, would that be such a bad thing?
Then what bank should I look too? – TRIODOS BANK, a pure sustainable and ethical bank (possibly the only one in the UK – please correct us if we’re wrong), whose mission is to ‘create a society that protects and promotes quality of life and human dignity for all’, providing ethical financial products to individuals and businesses.
It is an online bank and takes 5 minutes to set up. You can either switch your account(s) or set up a new one.
Switch your bank today, you literally could be saving somebody’s life.
3 – CHANGE YOUR SEARCH ENGINE to one that isn’t stalking you.
Google is great for finding things you need to know in a fraction of a second, but Google also knows everything about you.
Why, I have nothing to hide? Hey, and neither do 99.9% of the rest of us, but let’s reflect for a moment on what any corporation would want with all that information in the first place…
Under any other normal circumstances, if somebody you didn’t know presented you with a briefcase that was full to the brim with information about you and your families private life, your spending habits, your data, pictures of your home and aerial shots of your land and copies of your fingerprints and eyes … you would probably phone for the police in a heartbeat.
So what is all my information used for? Analytics, intelligent marketing and profit making. Google (and the other digital giants for that matter) use your data to boost your consumption.
What if you were sold something before you even bought it? Welcome to the world of ‘Surveillance Capitalism’. How many times have you picked up your phone or laptop recently only to be badgered by intelligent marketing software trying to sell you something that you don’t need! Sometimes you even find products advertised that you didn’t even search for, you just spoke too loudly.
Now, we’re not suggesting that we all apply some thick sticky tape over our phone cameras because they are watching us, but we really should all be aware of what is happening around us and why.
If that wasn’t enough to put you off ‘Google-ing’, then check this; a collection of public perspective opinion on Google’s ethics listed these points of concern;
- tax avoidance
- misuse and manipulation of search results
- use of others’ intellectual property
- that its compilation of data may violate people’s privacy
- collaboration with the US military on Google Earth to spy on users
- censorship of search results and content
- energy consumption of its servers
- concerns over traditional business issues such as monopoly, indexing and presenting false information
What is the best alternative to Google? Ecosia. Ecosia is a transparent green search engine that donates its surplus income to conservation organisations that plant trees where they are needed most, publishing monthly financial reports which show exactly how much money they made from searches, and what percentage of their revenue went towards planting trees that fight climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Ecosia may not be as powerful as Google, but sometimes transparency is more important than speed. Searches on Ecosia are also powered by 100% renewable energy.
Click here to make Ecosia your default search engine.
For clarity of information, I also have to mention that Ecosia use their own search algorithms together with Bing, which is owned by Microsoft (another digital giant also known for tax avoidance), but we personally think that Ecosia’s ethics certainly overtake this negative note.
Lets stop ‘Google-ing’ today and start ‘Ecosia-ing’ for tomorrow.
[Please note that Ideally does not receive any discounts, gifts or benefits from the companies we have recommended above – these are simply good companies that we found during our journey with whom we’d like to share with you – please support them if you share our good ethics.]