Make an impact


On this page, we’re signposting to some great ideas and initiatives that can help people have a positive impact for our planet – not just about climate change, but many related global issues including biodiversity, food production, sustainability, waste and pollution.

To get started, here’s a great video by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell which explores the issue of individual action about climate change:

Although governments and organisations have a huge role to play, there are loads of ways that individuals can make an impact. Here’s an excellent resource from the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, 9 things you can do about climate change:

“We spoke to our scientists at the Grantham Institute and drew up a list of the most achievable ways you personally can make a difference. While individuals alone may not be able to make drastic emissions cuts that limit climate change to acceptable levels, personal action is essential to raise the importance of issues to policymakers and businesses.

Using your voice as a consumer, a customer, a member of the electorate and an active citizen, will lead to changes on a much grander scale.”

The Grantham Institute, Imperial College London – ‘9 things you can do about climate change’ webpage
Image from the Grantham Institute resource page here.

Get involved locally

Next, let’s see what people can do locally. There are many initiatives going on in Exeter and across Devon – get involved!

Tree. Image credit: David Vig on Unsplash:

Protecting nature:
– Devon Wildlife Trust does some fantastic work across the county to protect wildlife and enhance biodiversity. Have a look at their volunteering roles and current campaigns to get involved.

Moor Trees aims to increase native woodland across Dartmoor and South Devon – there are loads of ways you can get involved, including tree planting days!

– North Devon Biosphere have a number of volunteering opportunities as well as helpful resources on their website. How about making a pledge for nature?

– If you’ve got a garden (even on a windowsill!) you can play an important role in providing food and habitat for wildlife. Have a look at the Devon Wildlife Trust’s gardening for wildlife advice – and if you’re in Exeter, why not see if you could put forward your wildlife-friendly patch to the Exeter Wildlife Gardening Award and check out the Exeter Seed Bank!

Zero waste store. Image credit: Benjamin Brunner on Unsplash

Avoiding waste:
There are a number of great zero waste stores across Devon – see if there are any near you!

There are also a number of Facebook groups and pages set up in Exeter on this theme, here are some of them:
Denis the Dustcart (recycling & waste musings and advice from Exeter City Council’s charismatic dustcart!)
Compost connections (request or share waste/resources/advice for composting)
Swap plants, produce and seeds (sharing out surplus seeds / crops or making swaps)
Exeter journey to zero waste (advice, support and discussion on sustainable swaps / purchases / lifestyles)
If you’re not based in Exeter, check if there are similar initiatives where you live. If there aren’t – why not set them up? Every great initiative starts with someone making it happen!

Beach clean. Image credit: Surfing Croyde Bay via Unsplash:

Tackling pollution:
– We love the work that Surfers Against Sewage are doing to raise awareness of the issue of water pollution. Get involved with their beach cleans to make a direct impact!

– Have a look at Plastic Free North Devon‘s website for resources and ways to take action against plastic pollution.

Active travel:
– There are lots of initiatives and inspiration on the Active Devon website to help you get more active – good for you and the planet!
– Check out Ride On – a local charity who upcycle bikes, provide workshops and run initiatives to help get everybody cycling. You can volunteer with them too!
Exeter Cycling Campaign are a volunteer-led charity that run projects and campaigns to make better cycling infrastructure in the city.

Image credit: Kenan Kitchen on Unsplash:

Local fruit + veg, less meat and dairy:
– Visit a local vegan market to try new food and produce, like Exeter Vegan Market.
– Community growing initiatives can be found across Exeter (via Food Exeter website) and the UK (via the Good to Grow initiative).
– Want to cut down on meat and dairy but not sure how to get started? Check out the Vegan Society’s 30 day pledge, and get ideas, recipes and support to help you give it a try.

Image credit: Frankie Lopez on Unsplash:

Sustainable transport:
– If you only use the car occasionally, then a car club could be a more environmentally-friendly solution. Have a look on the CoMoUK website for links to national, regional and community car clubs.
– CoMoUK also have advice on setting up community shared transport schemes – if you need one in your community, why not set one up?
– If you need your own car, moving away from fossil fuel vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) is a good move for air pollution and carbon emissions. Read more about the embedded carbon in EVs here, and check out the South West EV Owners Group for advice, events and inspiration.

More resources

  • In our pop-up exhibition in March 2022, we showed a summary of these local actions / sources of inspiration (see right). You can download and print this here.
  • We also displayed the UN ActNow poster in the pop-up – you can find out more about their campaign and access more information and inspiration here. The posters can be downloaded here.
  • Our simple home energy and carbon audit might be helpful to quantify how much energy and water you use at home, and how you could make savings. You just need your energy + water bills!
  • Devon Climate Emergency has lots more useful advice and resources on their website.

If you have suggestions for what else to include on this page, please get in touch! We’re a small team and can’t display every possible resource here, but we’re keen to pick out the best ones and highlight the great initiatives in the South West.