Posts tagged as: Sustainability

Talking To Our Young People About Climate Change

At Compass, we value the voice of our children. We’re proud to place child welfare at the heart of everything we do.

However, we also understand that for our children to make the most of their futures, action must be taken to preserve the planet and combat climate change.

April is our Sustainability Month. Throughout the month, we’ve been looking at the impact that climate change has on young people. We’ve also been looking at different ways our community can reduce their carbon footprint and help preserve the planet.

As our Sustainability Month draws to a close, we thought we’d take the time to speak to some of our young people about climate change crisis and its real impact. We asked them their thoughts on the future, and the impacts of climate change on the world.

Some of our young people chose to speak to us in person (please see our climate change video above), and some wrote to us with their thoughts (below).

This is what they said.

What Does Climate Change Mean to You?

“Climate change is very important as it’s caused by a major gas in the sky. This is important as it’s like a blanket over the earth. It’s making the cooler places vulnerable as its destroying animals’ habitats. This will cause extinction which is not good for the planet.”A picture of the sea.

“The earth is getting hotter, this affects everything. The sea and the icebergs which will melt, and the sea will take over some land.”

“In the future I know that there could be very extensive issues regarding the land and sea levels. This will cause floods as well which will destroy homes and will cause refugees. This is really bad as we eventually will not have enough space in the world for 7.6 billion people and rising.”

When You Think of The Future, What Does the World Look Like?

“I think there will be a lot of droughts and islands will be swallowed by the ocean. Also, there may be incredible devastating changes of time length in seasons.”A picture of a wind turbine.

“In the future we might all drive electric cars and power turbines driven by wind. Houses will have solar panel on the roofs to get their energy and electric cars being charged at supermarkets and other points will be a common sight.”

“The climate is going to get hotter which will affect the whole planet and the melting of ice caps.”

How Does Climate Change Affect People and Animals Around The World?

“Rain forests are becoming extinct, which is affecting the animals on the planet. There are also more forest fires because of the rise in the earth’s temperature which are killing precious forests and their habitat.”A picture of a rainforest.

“The rise in temperature is causing droughts in some countries, like in third world countries who already suffer from food shortages.”

“In the future I know that there could be very extensive issues regarding the land and sea levels. This will cause floods as well which will destroy homes and will cause refugees.”

How Does Climate Change Affect You and Your Future?

“I’m not really sure but I think it could mess up my job and the vehicles I use. It could end up were humanity ends from the rising sea.”A picture of the sun and some clouds.

“If the ozone layer was to collapse this would have a huge effect on the planet and the sun would pass harmful rays to us increasing in skin cancer to adults and eventually this could wipe out life on the planet.”

“I think we eventually will not have enough space in the world for 7.6 billion people and increasing population.”

If You Could Say One Thing to Older People About Climate Change, What Would You Say?

“I’d persuade them to agree and make a difference like Greta Thunberg. I would also make a huge difference myself.”A picture of a person planting a seedling.

“Older people could be blamed for the damage done to the planet. Maybe older people need to be a bit more educated on the way they can change and make small changes like recycling, using less energy. “

“Plant more trees and cut down on the number of flights to cut down on the CO2 emissions.”

We are so pleased to see our young people engaging in discussions about climate change and raising some excellent and insightful points.

As our Sustainability month wraps up, we’d like to remind our community that even the smallest changes make a big difference. Making small sustainable swaps in day-to-day life and around the home is a great place to start.

A healthy planet is essential for the future of our children, which is why we promise to continue to promoting fair and sustainable practices across our organisation. You can more about read about our ESG Report here.

To check out some of our other articles from our Sustainability Month, click here.


Ecosystems, Plants, Animals and Humans: Exploring the Effects of Climate Change

For many children and young people, the information on climate change they see in the media can be worrying. A 2021 study found that 84% of children and young people felt sad, anxious, powerless, and angry about the current climate crisis.

We want to help our children and young people better understand climate change, without increasing their feelings of climate anxiety.

That’s why we’ve put together a guide exploring the impact of climate change on ecosystems, plants, humans, and animals globally.

We hope this guide empowers children with the facts on the effects of climate change, while minimising any anxiety they may have. It’s also useful for parents and foster carers who are looking to brush up on their knowledge, too!

A picture of a tundra biome, a picture of a rainforest biome, and a picture of a desert biome.

Biomes & Ecosystems

Around the world, there are many different types of biomes.

Biomes are large areas of land that each have their own climates, landscapes, plants, and animals. Different types of biomes are told apart by:

  • How wet or dry they are
  • How hot or cold they are
  • How well things can grow there

These factors affect what kind of plants and animals can live in each biome. Different biomes might include rainforests, woodlands, grasslands, deserts, or tundra.

Each biome also has its own unique ecosystems. An ecosystem is the way living and non-living things interact with each other in nature. Living things, like plants, animals, and insects, interact with non-living things, like soil, water, and air. All these things rely on one another to sustain life.

However, because of climate change and greenhouse gases, the characteristics of biomes are changing. As the world gets warmer, so do biomes. Their weather is rapidly changing, making some biomes wetter than usual, and some biomes dryer.

In the tundra – some the coldest places on earth – ice is melting and changing the landscape. In rainforests, warmer temperatures and deforestation mean that trees cannot produce as much rain as they used to. Changes in temperature and moisture like these affect the ecosystems in each biome, making it harder to sustain life.

A collage of different plants.

Plants

Each biome has a variety of different plants living in it. Some biomes have more plant varieties, and some have less. This all depends on the climate of each individual biome, and how well plants can grow there.

The plants that do live in each biome have adapted well to their environments. This means they can deal with the different temperatures and conditions.

In Grassland biomes, the plants growing there are adapted to deal with high levels of wind and dry soil. Meanwhile, in Tropical Rain Forest biomes, plants have adapted to warm, dark and very wet conditions, such as growing pointy tips or larger roots.

Adaptation takes many years, and, unlike animals or humans, plants cannot move to find a new environment that suits them better. They are rooted down, and rely on air, water, and animals to disperse their seeds.

So, when the conditions of a biome change due to global warming, plants can suffer. Some plant species can tolerate changes in environment, while other plants can go extinct if there are too many changes in temperature, water and sunlight.

A picture of a camel, a picture of a tiger, and a picture of a polar bear.

Animals

There are also hundreds of animals and plants living in each biome. Each animal has evolved over time to be able to survive in the conditions of their biome.

In the tundra, polar bears’ white appearance and thick layers of fat and fur help to camouflage them and protect them from the cold. In contrast, camels living in desert habitats grow large humps of fat on their back that provide them with energy when they cannot access water or food.

Like with plants, changes in climate affect the way animals survive in their biomes. If plants struggle to grow due to changes to their environment, then animals may not have enough to eat. They may also not have enough vegetation to build homes or nests, meaning they cannot reproduce safely. Changes in temperature might also mean that some animals are waking from hibernation sooner than they usually do.

Unlike plants, some animals can migrate or move to new habitats that better suit their living needs. However, this is not always possible, and many animals who cannot migrate might go hungry, or even extinct.

A collage of different cities.

Humans

Unfortunately, scientists believe that humans are the main cause of climate change.

Our activity over the last few hundred years has caused a rise in greenhouse gas emissions, which heat up the earth’s atmosphere. Not only do the effects of climate change have an impact on animals, plants, and ecosystems – they also have an impact on humans too.

While we might find it easier to adapt to changes in climate and heat waves –we can wear thinner clothes when it’s warmer – we are also at risk. Because of climate change, new human health risks and diseases will steadily emerge as time goes on.

The health effects of climate change could include more infectious viruses and diseases, as well as injuries and/or deaths related to extreme weather events. Changes in food availability (because of plants not being able to grow) will also likely affect humans in the future.

A picture of a monkey, a picture of a tree, and a picture of humans planting a seedling.

How Humans Can Help

When it comes to climate change, while it might seem scary, not all is lost!

There is still plenty that humans can do to help reverse the effects of climate change. If we act soon, we can preserve the environment for ecosystems, plants, animals, and humans.

Humans can relocate plants and animals that are struggling in their environments, moving them to areas that are better suited for their needs. This helps to keep plant and animal species from dying out and becoming extinct but is not a permanent solution.

Another way that humans can help climate change is by preserving natural environments. For example, conserving a forest might involve making sure that a limited number of trees can be cut down per year. Or, making sure that humans are not allowed to interfere with certain parts (or all) of the forest.

One of the ways you and your family can help climate change at home is by being more eco-conscious in your choices. This might include using a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic water bottle or walking or cycling instead of driving to places. You might also wish to volunteer for or donate to some climate-change charities.

Further Resources

For more information and resources on climate change, take a look at:
• Young People’s Trust For the Environment
• Fridays For Future
• Practical Action

You can also check out these children’s books on climate change to find out more about the environment, and how we can help it.

At Compass, we work hard to promote sustainable practices across our community. Our community is dedicated to combating issues relating to sustainability and fair practice.

You can find out more about our sustainability commitment here.


Make A Difference: Supporting the Charities Fighting Climate Change

Global sea levels are rising faster today than ever recorded before, and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is higher than it has been in three million years.

When it comes to fighting climate change, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or lost. Knowing where to start can be challenging and can even lead to feelings of worry. You might even experience some climate anxiety.

However, it’s not all hopeless! Across the UK (and the world) there are various climate change charities dedicated to reducing humanity’s carbon footprint. These charities work hard to reverse ecological damage and the effects of global warming.

One of the best ways you can show your love for our planet is by donating to one of these charities. Your donation will support them to continue their work in preserving the environment.

We’ll be making donations to each of the charities listed below, and we encourage our community to do the same. Together, we can contribute to building a better, brighter and more stable future for all our children and young people.

The Wildlife Trusts.

The Wildlife Trusts

Based in the UK, The Wildlife Trusts are responsible for protecting and preserving a wide range of natural environments. The Wildlife Trusts tackle the issues involved with climate change, hoping to restore at least a third of the UK’s land and seas for nature by 2030.

A grassroots movement, The Wildlife Trusts have more than 870,000 members and 32,500 volunteers. Each individual Wildlife Trust ensures their local area can flourish and be as “wild” as possible.

Donate to The Wildlife Trusts here.
Blue Marine Foundation.

Blue Marine Foundation

Focused on saving our seas, Blue Marine Foundation enable marine conservation to happen in a speedy and effective way.

The charity secure marine protected areas and help develop new models of sustainable fishing that don’t impact marine life or local communities. They also restore marine habitats and revive threatened species. Any donations made go toward ensuring they meet their goal of protecting 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030.

Donate to Blue Marine Foundation here.
Friends of the Earth.

Friends Of the Earth

Campaigning since 1971, Friends of the Earth spread information and awareness about climate change throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The climate change charity leads various campaigns. These include reducing air pollution, plastic waste, and saving the bees. The international community is dedicated to protecting the environment, and all those living within the natural world. They are driving real, practical solutions to the environmental issues involved with climate change.

Donate to Friends of the Earth here.
Keep Britain Tidy

Keep Britain Tidy

Since 1954, Keep Britain Tidy has been working tirelessly and campaigning to keep the streets of Britain rubbish-free, fighting against the damage done to local environments and ecosystems by litter.

With the help of volunteers across Britain, Keep Britain Tidy aims to cut litter, end waste, and improve public places. They also educate future generations on the importance of taking care of the environment and properly disposing of litter.

Donate to Keep Britain Tidy here.
British Ecological Society

British Ecological Society

The oldest ecological society in the world, British Ecological Society’s want to see nature and people to thrive.

They have over 6,000 members across the world and hundreds of volunteers committed to helping their cause. British Ecological Society research various ecological scientific issues. They hope to better inform the world on how to deal with issues of climate change, preserving the planet for future generations.

Donate to British Ecological Society here.

Donating to one of these climate change charities is just one of many ways in which you can show your support in the battle against climate change.

If you’re interested in sustainability and topics surrounding climate change, and want to switch to a  greener lifestyle, check out our Sustainable Swaps for an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle here.

Alternatively, if you’d like to read more about our sustainability mission, including our sustainability commitment and our ESG Report, you can click here.


5 Positive News Stories About Climate Change

As of 2021, the planet’s temperature has risen by 2.12 degrees since the late 19th century, with most of this warming occurring the last 40 years. But it’s not too late to help reverse some of the effects of climate change!

April is our Sustainability month at Compass. We’ve been looking at the different ways our community can reduce their carbon footprint. This includes making combatting climate change at home, or teaching children about climate change with these activities and books.

However, we recognise the need for balance when it comes to discussions about climate change. We want to empower our community with the knowledge to act against climate change. However, we don’t want to induce feelings of hopelessness, doom, or climate-related anxiety.

That’s why, in this article, we’re taking the time to celebrate 5 positive new stories about climate change. These stories feature successful action that is being taken to combat global warming around the world.

The Empire State Building is Powered by Wind

The Empire state building and NYC Skyline
Standing for 100 years, the Empire State Building is a symbol industry and economic power across the world. But it’s recent switch 100% renewable energy has now made it a symbol of sustainability and climate-positive action too!

At the beginning of 2021, Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) (the skyscraper’s owner, alongside 13 other office buildings in NYC) signed a deal that ensured the buildings were powered entirely by wind.

The 3-year contracts will provide an estimated 300 million kilowatt hours of electricity for ESRT’s buildings, The deal makes ESRT the nation’s largest real estate user of renewable energy! This has been influential in encouraging other industry leaders to use more sustainable energy to power their buildings.

Renewable Energy is Becoming Affordable

A wind turbine.
Throughout the years, the cost of electricity from renewable energy sources has fallen dramatically.

In 2009, building a new solar farm was 223% more expensive than building a new coal plant. However, efforts to promote sustainable energy have led to a rapid decrease in the price of renewable energy, This makes it more accessible for use across the globe.

In the past 10 years, the price of solar energy has dropped 89%, while the price of onshore wind energy has dropped 70%. What’s more, a 2019 report from the Rocky Mountain Institute found that, overall, it was cheaper to build and use renewable energy sources, rather than build new fossil fuel plants that harvest natural gas – which shows promise for the future of renewable energy.

CO2 Removal Technology Exists

A chemical plant polluting the air.
Known as ‘Orca’, this new carbon capturing plant built by Climeworks and installed in Iceland captures an impressive 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.

The technology pulls carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, heating it and mixing it with water. It then pumps the mixture deep underground into Icelandic basalt caverns, where it cools and turns to stone. In this state, the CO2 does little harm to the environment or atmosphere.

This technology, similar to the Direct Air Capture (DAC) plants seen in Texas and other spots around the world, is promising. Its development represents an important step in the reduction of harmful greenhouse gases. The technology helps to reverse CO2 emissions and combat the effects of climate change!

Fiji’s Coral Reefs Are Bouncing Back

A colourful coral reef.
In 2016, the tropical cyclone, Winston, caused devastation to Fiji both on land and under the sea, costing up to 1.4bn US dollars in damage.

Recognised as the most destructive cyclone ever recorded in the Pacific, the damage done to the coral reefs of Fiji was deeply worrying for conservationists and scientists, with much of the reef reduced to rubble. Scientists worried that the reef may never recover as, across the world, coral reefs are in decline due to climate change.

However, 4 years on, scientists have been delighted to find that the coral reefs have recovered far beyond their expectations. Once again full of colourful fish, scientists attribute the coral’s recovery to the overall health of the reefs. They now continue to provide an essential habitat for many marine species!

Greenland Has Stopped Oil and Gas Exploration

A landscape shot of Greenland.
Greenland has recently announced it will suspend all new oil and gas exploration efforts. The country is now placing climate change concerns at the heart of its legislative programme.

Greenland’s Government, Naalakkersuisut, has decided to cease issuing any new licenses for oil and gas exploration across the country. This is in an effort to preserve nature and direct their business toward more sustainable practices.

Greenland’s natural resources minister said that the environmental impact of oil and gas extraction was ‘too high’ to continue. This decision is influential, and one that Greenland hopes will encourage other countries to do the same.

This collection of positive news on climate change is sure to lift your spirits. It’s also among lots of other positive climate change news stories that are worth celebrating! If you’re interested in sustainability, and want to know how you can adjust your lifestyle to make it greener, check out our Sustainable Swaps for an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle here.

Alternatively, to read more about our sustainability articles, including our sustainability commitment and our ESG Report, you can click here.


Hands-On Climate Change Activities for Teaching Kids About Sustainability

Understanding climate change and the need for sustainability can be a difficult topic to tackle when it comes to children.

If these topics are not explored or introduced in a safe, child-friendly manner, children run the risk of developing climate anxiety – creating feelings of helplessness, powerlessness and a sense of impending doom.

At Compass, we are dedicated to combatting issues of sustainability throughout our community, committed to promoting sustainable and fair practices across our organisation, in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We feel it is vital that children are empowered with the knowledge and information regarding climate change, as the implications of global warming directly concern their futures.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of some climate change activities for kids that will support your child’s learning and facilitate various discussions about climate change, including what we can do to keep our planet healthy for years to come.

A young boy litter-picking in the woods.

Go Litter Picking

Litter picking is a great place to start when looking for climate change activities for children, helping them to feel proactive in the fight against climate change.

Try telling your children to look under, around and behind various things – just as if they were on an easter egg hunt, or a treasure hunt. Litter picks will encourage your child to take pride in their local community and the environment.

While litter picking, explain to your child how removing litter helps to preserve the natural ecosystem, ensuring wildlife can continue to live there happily – as well as making it a better space for humans to enjoy too!

Check out this advice from Keep Britain Tidy on litter picking safely.

A child making a terrarium.

Make A Closed Terrarium Together

Fun to make and beautiful to look at, closed terrariums are a great tool for demonstrating the way ecosystems work, as they start to develop their own miniature climates once planted.

Sealed terrariums work a little bit like a greenhouse, with sunlight entering through the glass and warming the air, soil, and plants – the same way sunlight enters Earth’s atmosphere and warms our planet.

Try planting a terrarium with your child and observing how it grows over the next few months, considering how the plants might grow differently if the glass was thicker, or the air inside hotter – just like global warming.
A group of children drawing posters.

Design Climate Change Posters

Art is great for children’s development, helping children to gain confidence, develop skills and learn how to deal with and express thoughts and emotions in healthy ways.

Why not ask your child to design a poster on a climate-related topic of their choice? They could design a poster on the proper way to recycle, or why walking and cycling is better for the environment than driving.

This artsy activity will encourage your child to think about some sustainable lifestyle choices and how they might benefit the environment, whilst also engaging their creative side.

Please note – if you’d like to put up the posters in public, you’ll need permission from property owners or your local authority. Otherwise, you could be fined for fly-posting.
A boy and a girl inspecting their bug box.

Make a Bug Box

Another great outdoors activity, building a bug box invites children to consider the various delicate ecosystems that exist all around us.

Building a bug box, or bug hotel, provides a fantastic opportunity for children to learn about a world they can’t always see – the world of insects. Creating a habitat for insects will also have a positive impact on the local environment, encouraging biodiversity and providing a safe, natural habitat for insects to live.

Check out this video guide on making bug boxes from recycled plastic water bottles.
A boy and his caregiver planting a tree together.

Plant a Tree

Planting a tree is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Trees are essential for the climate, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. However, since 1990, 420 million hectares of forest have been lost due to deforestation.

Planting a tree – no matter how big or small – is a meaningful way for you and your child to give back to the environment, providing the perfect opportunity for them to get their hands dirty and appreciate everything that trees do for us!

If you don’t have the space or facilities to plant a tree, why not take a walk in the forest instead, and encourage your child to guess the age of each tree and how long it has been stood there.
A collection of plant pots made from recycled cups and bottles.

Get Crafty With Recycled Materials

Recycling means reusing materials again, rather than throwing them away, and it one of the most important things we can in the mission for sustainability.

This craft activity encourages your children to think about how everyday rubbish could be turned into something new, stressing the importance of sustainability for kids. The recycling bin is a great place to turn for inspiration; is there something new they can make from something old?

Some of our favourite ideas include making recycled paper, turning mason jars into flower vases or transforming tin cans into pencil organisers!

These are just a few simple suggestions for helping your children learn about climate change and sustainability in an engaging and hands-on way, encouraging them to leave the planet in a better condition than they found it in.

Read more about our sustainability mission, including our sustainability commitment and our ESG Report, you can.

You can also check out our recommendations for children’s books on climate change.


Going Green: How Can You Fight Climate Change at Home?

When it comes to climate change, it’s easy to feel helpless, anxious or even powerless.

The seven hottest years on record have all occurred since 2014, with human activities cited as the main cause for climate change. In the UK, 40% of harmful greenhouse emissions come from domestic households.

For those looking to adopt a greener lifestyle, it can be hard knowing where to start, and how to fight climate change at home.

Although the magnitude of climate change may make individuals feel helpless, individual action is critical for meaningful change.

Mia Armstrong.

Individuals alone can’t make the drastic changes necessary to reduce global warming. Tackling major climate-change contributors like deforestation and fossil fuel is a big undertaking requiring lots of support.

However, personal action is essential in reducing the localised effects of climate change, helping to reduce your carbon footprint, and preserve the climate for future generations.

Fortunately, there is plenty that individuals can do to fight climate change on a day-to-day basis. In this guide, we’re looking how to help climate change at home, and the steps you can take to reduce your impact on the environment.

Have Your Home AssessedA man testing insulation in a house.

Making sure your home is as energy-saving as possible is one of the chief ways individuals can contribute to the fight against climate change. As well as reducing their impact on the environment, individuals whose households are optimised for efficient and sustainable energy usage benefit from lower energy bills throughout the year.

The UK Government Green Deal scheme supports UK homeowners in making energy-saving improvements to their homes, including finding the best way to pay for them, such as a Green Deal loan (which must be paid back).

These home improvements range from new insulation, to improved heating, to draught-proofing and double glazing – all of which help homeowners save money on energy bills and contribute toward the reduction of carbon emissions.

The UK Government recommends talking to a Green Deal assessor or provider to find out if your home could benefit from energy-saving improvements.

Use an Energy Efficiency CalculatorAn energy meter.

Another way that you can ensure your household is using energy as efficiently as possible is by consulting the Energy Efficiency Calculator.

The Energy Efficiency Calculator uses data about your property and the information you give about your general energy usage to provide personalised advice that will help to reduce your energy consumption.

Working in conjunction with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy, the Energy Efficiency Calculator is a useful tool for individuals looking for insightful and actionable information regarding energy efficiency and consumption.

Seek Out Sustainable EnergyA wind turbine.

In addition to ensuring your home is using energy efficiently, choosing a renewable energy provider is important in fighting climate change and going green.

Across the UK, there are various energy providers that offer clean, renewable energy to their customers.

Renewable energy refers to energy that is sustainably sourced and does not run out. Unlike traditional energy sources, such as coal, renewable energy production harnesses the power of nature to produce eco-friendly energy that does not impact the environment.

Some examples of renewable energy production include solar energy from the sun, wind energy, or hydropower generated from flowing water.

Ditch the DryerSocks drying on a washing line in the sun.

Though undeniably useful, tumble dryers draw an awful lot of energy when in use – roughly 4.5 kWh per cycle. This costs the average tumble dryer owner 4p per cycle. Depending on how much you use your tumble dryer, the costs certainly add up.

What’s more shocking, however, is the impact that tumble dryers have on the environment. One tumble dryer emits 432kg of carbon dioxide a year, which is more than a tree in the UK can absorb over the course of the first 50 years of its lifespan.

Air-drying clothes not only saves homeowners money, but also greatly reduces the impact that doing your laundry can have on the environment.

Clothes horses or washing lines can be used both indoors and outside, are better for the climate, and even come with a wealth of additional benefits, such as increasing the longevity and quality of your clothes.

Cut Your Water WastageA young boy brushing his teeth.

In the UK, the average person uses 150 litres of water each day. Though there aren’t necessarily any water shortages in the UK, household water usage has a startingly big impact on the environment.

Cleaning wastewater on a national scale is an energy-intensive process. Wastewater treatment plants consume between 1 and 3% of global energy output, making it problematic when it comes to sustainability.

Taking shorter showers or turning off the tap when you wash your hands or brush your teeth are easy, productive ways to reduce your individual environmental impact.

According to the Eden Project, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth saves 6 litres of water per minute, while showering uses anything between 6 and 45 litres of water per minute – which is why showers should be kept short and sweet if individuals are concerned about climate change.

Bike or Walk to WorkPeople cycling to work.

It’s no surprise that cars are bad for the environment. Running on fossil fuels – like petrol and diesel – and accounting for 22% of the total UK CO2 emissions, cars are a major contributor to climate change.

Air pollution caused by exhaust fumes pose a detrimental risk to the environment, and to public health. According to Imperial College London, thousands of Londoners are hospitalised each year due to harmful air pollution.

Opting for greener transport alternatives, like cycling or walking, not only benefits the environment, but your own mental health and wellbeing too. Alternatively, for longer journeys, try making use of public transport or sharing car journeys with colleagues and friends!

Try CompostingA young child throwing compost into a compost bin.

Across the globe, waste management strategies present an ongoing issue for the environment. Landfills generate high levels of methane gas and CO2 as rubbish rots in the ground, accelerating the process of global warming and releasing a variety of toxic substances, such as arsenic or mercury.

In 2018, the UK produced 222.2 million tonnes of waste. In the UK, each person generates around 170kg of organic waste each year.

Composting organic waste – waste that comes from a plant or animal – allows waste to be broken down aerobically, meaning it is a much greener alternative to landfills. Unlike when waste is sent to landfill, composting does not produce the same harmful greenhouse gas emissions, instead drawing on natural decomposition aids like microbes, insects, worms, and fungi.

Household compost bins are generally affordable and can even be DIY’ed, making them a good alternative for individuals looking to opt for more sustainable waste disposal practices.

Becoming eco-friendly and fighting climate change isn’t something that happens overnight. However, at Compass, we believe that even the smallest contributions go a long way in the fight against climate change. These individual ways to stop climate change will help reduce your carbon footprint and save you some money in the process!

If you’re interested in sustainability, and want to know how you can adjust your lifestyle to make it greener, check out our Sustainable Swaps for an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle here.

Alternatively, to read more about our sustainability articles, including our sustainability commitment and our ESG Report, you can click here.


5 Books to Help You Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change

At Compass, we feel it’s never too early to begin teaching children about the environment and the importance of protecting it.

Conversations about climate change are happening all around us in the media, so it’s likely that your child already has some understanding of what climate change means.

While it’s important that children understand the realities of climate change, it’s also important that they are introduced to the topic in a safe and controlled way. Otherwise, they may develop climate anxiety.

Books play an essential role in children’s development, helping to support their learning as a source of new language, concepts, information and life teachings.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 5 children’s books on climate change that will help you introduce the topic of climate change to your children in a safe, engaging and informative way.

These children’s books about climate change explore the different ways we can protect our environment and slow the effects of global warming, without scaring children or making them feel powerless.

We hope these books inspire and empower you and your children to take action against climate change and help preserve the planet for future generations.

Tidy – Emily Gravett Tidy - Emily Gravett

This endearing illustrated children’s book written by Emily Gravett tells the rhyming story of Pete, a badger, and his mission to be neat and tidy at all times.

Obsessed with tidying, Pete sweeps away dead trees, prunes flowers and bags stray sticks – none of which is enough. But what will happen when Pete’s tidiness goes too far, and he concretes over the entire forest?

A charming story, ‘Tidy’ highlights the importance of preserving nature, inspiring conversations about environmental conservation and keeping local habitats safe and rubbish-free.

Somebody Swallowed Stanley – Sarah RobertsSomebody Swallowed Stanley - Sarah Roberts

As read by Tom Hardy on Cbeebies Bedtime Stories, this thought-provoking children’s book. follows the tale of Stanley, the plastic bag who is lost at sea.

Stanley, a plastic shopping bag, is often mistaken for a Jellyfish because of his red stripes and handles. He’s not a jellyfish, but that doesn’t stop other creatures from mistaking him for a tasty treat, which creates all kinds of problems.

This fun, informative book teaches child and adult readers alike an incredibly poignant message about plastic pollution, touching on themes of sustainability and similar environmental issues.

What A Waste – Jess FrenchWhat A Waste - Jess French

Did you know that every single plastic toothbrush ever made still exists? Aimed at slightly older readers (7-9 years old), this educational book will teach budding environmentalists all about climate change and the impact that human activity has on the planet.

This lively kid’s book uses a mixture of illustrations and real-life photos to deliver facts and information about climate change, explaining to children what’s going wrong – but also, what they (and the world) can do to help.

Filled with fascinating facts, tidbits and advice, this book is ideal for empowering children who might be feeling helpless or powerless in the fight against climate change.

Charlie and Lola: Look After Your Planet – Lauren ChildLook After Your Planet - Lauren Child

You might be familiar with the much-loved sibling duo from Lauren Child, Charlie and Lola. In this rendition of the Charlie and Lola stories, Lola and Charlie are clearing out Lola’s room.

Surrounded by clutter, Lola wants to throw away as much as possible – until Charlie convinces her that she should recycle her things instead. With help from Charlie, Lola learns all about the importance or recycling and the way it helps our planet.

Already loved by children across the world, this illustrated book pairs the charming antics of Charlie and Lola with a powerful message about recycling, eco-friendliness, and climate change.

Clean Up! – Nathan ByronClean Up! - Nathan Byron

Illustrated by Dapo Adeola, this energetic tale tells the story of Rocket, who is visiting her grandparents on their Caribbean island home during the holidays.

But, while exploring the island, Rocket is horrified to find the island covered in plastic. Shocked by the pollution spoiling the island and endangering local sea life, Rocket and her friend Teresa comes up with a spectacular plan.

Charged with humour and filled with gorgeous illustrations, this children’s book delivers an important message about pollution in a thoughtful, sensitive, and age-appropriate manner.

The messages in these children’s books are a great place to start when introducing children to the topic of climate change. These books provide an excellent foundation for further conversations about climate change and sustainability, inspiring you and your children to take action in preserving the planet.

To read more about our sustainability mission, including our sustainability commitment and our ESG Report, you can click here.

Alternatively, why not check out our children’s book recommendations on racism, gender identity and being LGBT+.


“What is Fairtrade?” For Kids

Depending on their age, your children will have likely heard of the term ‘Fairtrade.’

They might have seen The Fairtrade Mark on certain foods in the supermarket or heard the term fairtrade being used in the news. But do they know what it means?

The security of our children’s futures relies on the preservation of the climate. The fairtrade system plays an essential role in promoting sustainable, ethical and climate-friendly practices.

When teaching children about sustainability and climate change, it is important to also ensure they also understand the significance of fairtrade, and what it means for the world around them.

Below, we’ve laid out in simple, child-friendly terms what fairtrade means, and why it is important for the environment. We’ve also included some questions and conversation starters to help you and your children consider the importance of fairtrade in modern society.

A group of farmers carrying their produce through the fields.

Why Do We Need Fairtrade?

Around the world, there are millions of people who are not being paid the right amount of money for the work they are doing.

A lot of these people are farmers, who work hard to provide us with things like food, coffee, flowers and building materials – despite going hungry themselves.

Sadly, around 80% of the people living in poverty globally live in rural areas and rely on farming to make a living – living on as little as $1.25 (95p) a day. They may have to work in unsafe working conditions that might risk their health and safety. Some of the workers may also be children, who are too young to be working.

Often, when you pay for an item – like a banana – very little of the money that you pay actually goes to the person who grew the banana. This is because a lot of the food and goods that we buy are imported from poorer countries, where they have been bought by big companies and then shipped to our supermarkets.

Big companies and organisations try to spend as little money as possible when they are buying food and produce from farmers, so that they can make a profit and keep most of the money they make for themselves.

This means that they often pay farmers much less than they should for their produce – making it an ‘unfair’ trade.

  • How would you feel if you only received a little bit of the money for something that you worked really hard to make?
  • Do you think you and your family could live on 95p a day?

A farmer herding his sheep.

How Does Fairtrade Help?

Fairtrade exists to make sure that the benefits of trade (and the money made) is shared out more equally, making sure that farmers receive a fair price for everything they sell.

Fairtrade also makes sure that the farmers can work safely and in better conditions, making sure they are old enough and fit enough to do the job.

When working in The Fairtrade system, farmers and workers are paid fairly for the goods they make. Fairtrade workers have a minimum price that makes sure they cannot be paid anything lower than a certain amount for their produce. This stops big companies from underpaying farmers.

Fairtrade prices also make sure that farmers can grow their crops in a sustainable way. This means that farmers can use farming methods that are environmentally friendly and do not hurt the climate or local wildlife and ecosystems.

All the farmers and workers that work under fairtrade are also given something called a ‘fairtrade premium.’ This is extra money – a little bit like pocket money – that is paid on top of the money they are given for their goods.

This money is used by the farmers to invest in their business or can be used to improve their local community – such as building a children’s playground or helping to refurbish a school.

  • What are some ways that farming could hurt the environment?
  • What kinds of things would you spend your fairtrade premium on?

A farmer preparing their produce.

How Many People Work In Fairtrade?

Overall, there are 1.9 million farmers and workers that are involved in fairtrade worldwide.

These people live and work in 72 different countries and territories and produce more than 35,000 different products that we can find in our supermarkets.

47% if all fairtrade farmers produce coffee that is sold across the globe, while 41% of fairtrade farmers produce beautiful flowers and plants.

Fairtrade has a great impact of the lives of farmers and workers, as well as the environment. Fairtrade means that farmers can put food on their tables, afford healthcare and education, and take control of their lives and their futures.

  • Other than coffee and flowers, what kinds of things might these farmers grow?
  • If you were a farmer, what would you grow?

A farmer preparing his cropland.

How Can You and Your Family Support Fairtrade?

The fairtrade symbol.
The registered fairtrade symbol.

One of the best and easiest ways for people to get involved in fairtrade is to buy fairtrade products at the supermarket.

This means keeping an eye out for the fairtrade sticker, as this will let you know whether the food or product is fairtrade. The fairtrade sticker means that the farmer or worker who made that product was paid a fair price for their work.

Some of the easy-to-spot fairtrade foods and products include:

  • Chocolate
  • Flowers
  • Bananas
  • Mangos
  • Pineapples
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Sugar

You could also get involved in different fundraising activities to help support fairtrade and make sure that workers and farmers across the globe also have access to fair pay.

These points should help you explain fair trade for kids in an accessible and informative way, helping to explain the significance of fairtrade for both society and the environment.

However, we know that talking to children about climate change can be challenging at times. For our tips on talking to children about climate change, click here.

At Compass, we work hard to promote sustainable practices across our community. Our community is dedicated to combating issues relating to sustainability and fair practice.

You can find out more about our sustainability commitment here.

 


Climate Change For Kids: How to Reduce Climate Anxiety

Climate change makes many people feel anxious; we see, feel, and read about the effects of global warming every day.

Climate-related worry is often referred to as climate change anxiety, the ‘chronic fear of environmental doom’ that people feel when thinking about global warming and the future of the planet.

Because of the implications of climate change, children and young people are especially vulnerable to climate anxiety.

A 2021 study that surveyed children and young people from 10 different countries around the world, found that 84% of them reported being anxious about climate change. The study reported that children and young people were feeling ‘sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and guilty’ about the global climate crisis, with 75% saying they thought the future was frightening.

As a parent or foster carer, you might be concerned about the effect that climate change is having on your children. You might also be wondering how to start a conversation about climate change with your child.

In this handy guide, we’ve put together some suggestions and advice for talking to children about climate change. These tips and pointers will help you educate your child about climate change in a way that minimises worry, helping to soothe and manage any climate anxiety they may have.

Teens can get fearful of the future too, and they're more likely to be 'doom scrolling' on their phones.

Spotting The Symptoms of Climate Anxiety

If you’re concerned that your child might be experiencing climate anxiety, there are a few signs that you can look out for.Conversations about and depictions of climate change are coming increasingly common in the media. There is a strong chance that your child or young person has seen or heard about the effects of climate change in the media, which might be causing them some distress.

The symptoms of climate anxiety are very similar to the symptoms of standard anxiety in children. Symptoms include:
• Difficulty sleeping (Insomnia, bad dreams)
• Changes in appetite (overeating, or refusing to eat)
• Emotional outbursts
• Tearfulness
• Stomach-aches
• Headaches
• Feeling generally unwell
• Obsessive thoughts
• Fidgeting or restlessness
• Unusually clingy

If your child is suffering from climate anxiety or climate-related worries, you might also notice them making unusual comments about nature, animals, natural disasters, or the future.

These comments might sound something like:
• “Will polar bears exist when I am older?”
• “Is the world going to end?”
• “What if there are no trees left in the world?”
• “The future is scary.”
• “There is no point getting a job when I am older.”
• “I don’t think I will be able to have children.”
• “Why don’t more people care about animals?”

A concerned child looking out the window.

Don’t Dismiss Your Child’s Anxieties

Your first instinct might be to minimise your child’s anxiety by downplaying the realities of climate change. You might want to reassure your child by telling them that climate change is nothing to worry about.

While this is completely justified, this may actually do more harm than good for your child in the long term. Statements like these imply that your child’s anxieties are unreasonable or unwarranted, which might invalidate their feelings and, in turn, increase their worry.

Part of climate anxiety is the feeling that older generations and governments have responded inadequately to the climate crisis, making children and young people feel ignored or dismissed.

Try asking your child about their anxieties, and how they feel about climate change, being sure to validate their experience. If they don’t want to talk, reassure them that this is also fine; you are available to talk any time they might need it.

A woman comforting her child.

Find Balance & Perspective

While you should avoid minimising your child’s anxieties about climate change, it’s also important to ensure they do not become overwhelmed by the distressing realities of global warming.

Talking to your children about climate change involves finding a balance between honesty and reassurance. Being transparent about the effects of climate change often helps to alleviate anxiety, rather than increasing it, helping children to gain some much-needed perspective.

Ensuring your child is adequately informed about climate change provides them with the knowledge and understanding to cope with it.

Resources like this online children’s guide from NASA, or this article from National Geographic Kids, are full of child-friendly information and useful facts about climate change.

You can also educate your children about climate change by reading children’s books on climate change or watching nature documentaries together.

A group of kids reading.

Redirect Their Attention to Positive Action

Climate “Doomsday” Reporting is becoming increasingly prevalent in modern day media. You’ve likely seen various news headlines on climate change, reporting on the way in which climate change is affecting European birds, or that the Amazon rainforest is at its ‘tipping point’.

These headlines, while undoubtedly important, do little good for children and young people who are concerned about climate change. Unrestricted news consumption exposes children to some of the harsher realities of climate change, many of which they are not psychologically ready to digest.

To combat climate anxiety and reduce worry, focus on redirecting your child’s attention to more positive climate news, like the fact that cities across the world are working hard to become carbon neutral.

Positive, action-based climate news will keep your child informed, whilst also helping them to feel less hopeless. Good news about climate change is important for maintaining a sense of hope about the future, showing your child that the responsibility for climate change doesn’t solely rest on their shoulders.

Climate anxiety can look like the regular kind, but with emphasis on questions about the future.

Empower Them to Make a Difference

Many children and young people feel powerless when it comes to climate change.

Involving your child in climate-oriented activities will help to make them feel like they are making a difference. Consider the kinds of sustainable swaps that you and your child can take to reduce your environmental impact, like reducing meat consumption, turning off the lights and recycling.

You can also guide your child toward participating in community wildlife conservation and volunteering activities.

Encouraging your child to take individual action against climate change will empower them, reinstating them with a sense of control and purpose.

Further Resources

For more information and resources that will help you talk to your children about climate change, take a look at:
BBC Bitesize
Young People’s Trust For the Environment
Fridays For Future
Practical Action

Compass Fostering are part of Compass Community; we are dedicated to combating our own issues relating to sustainability and fair practice. We’re working towards becoming a carbon neutral service, guided by our committment to the UN’s SDGs in our fight against the climate crisis.


Sustainable Swaps for an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

At Compass, child welfare is at the heart of what we do.

We exist to improve the futures of hundreds of young people, supporting them to overcome trauma and lead rich and fulfilling lives. Our community of dedicated colleagues provide wrap-around support to ensure our children have safe, healthy environments within which to flourish.

A collection of rubbish floating in water.
Plastics consistently make up 80% of all marine debris studied. (IUCN, 2020)

However, we also understand that for our children to make the most of their futures, action must be taken to preserve the planet and combat climate change. As of 2021, the planet’s temperature has risen by 2.12 degrees since the late 19th century; most of this warming has occurred in the last 40 years. We recognise that the deteriorating condition of our planet’s environment directly correlates to the security of our children’s futures.

Over the past few years, Compass have been working hard to become an eco friendly family. We have been reducing our carbon footprint and promoting sustainable and fair practices across all our services. However, climate change continues to pose a significant threat to the future of our children, which is why, in 2022, we’re encouraging our community to take further action to preserve the planet for future generations.

We’ve come up with a variety of easy sustainable swaps that can be made around the home and in day-to-day life. These sustainable swaps will aid in reducing your carbon footprint, helping you to live a more eco-friendly, environmentally sustainable lifestyle.

These small lifestyle changes help to combat climate change by reducing your pollution levels, conserving water, and preserving natural resources and ecosystems.

Change Up Your Diet

The impact that the meat and dairy industries have on the climate is substantial. A direct cause of deforestation is agricultural farming, with tropical forestland across the world being converted into cropland and pasture.

Of all milk alternatives, Oat Milk has the lowest environmental impact, producing 0.18 kilograms of carbon emissions for a 200 milliliter glass.

An interactive Q&A from UK website Carbon Brief reported that producing 1 kilogram of beef generates a shocking 60 kilograms of greenhouse emissions. Furthermore, the meat and dairy industries annually produce 7.1 gigatons of greenhouse gases.

The damage of current global dietary trends also extends to the ocean, where fishing practices have lead to pollution and decline in ocean health.

That’s why switching to a plant-based diet and reducing meat intake is the single biggest action an individual can take to reduce their impact on the environment. Even if only the most harmful half of meat and dairy production was replaced by plant-based food, this would still deliver about 2/3 of the benefits of getting rid of all meat and dairy production completely.

The future of food is plant-based, with people across the globe – including royal family member Prince Charles – choosing to adopt a greener diet in order to reduce their environmental impact. With that in mind, here are our top picks for easy, affordable and sustainable swaps to make your diet greener.
1. Swap Cows milk for Oat, soy, almond or coconut milk alternatives 2. Swap Meat for Tempeh, Tofu, Vegetarian and Vegan Meat alternatives, like pea protein. 3. Swap eggs for Chia seed egg, flax seed egg, mashed banana. 4. Swap cheese for Vegan cheese alternatives, such as cashew or macadamia. 5. Swap Yoghurt for Vegan coconut, almond, oat, soy based yoghurt alternatives.

Ditch Single-use Plastics

According to the National Geographic, only 9% of plastic is recycled globally. If these present plastic consumption trends continue, by 2050, there will be 12 billion metric tonnes of plastic in landfills.

A 2021 report from Greenpeace found that the UK is one of the top contributors of global plastic waste, generating more plastic waste per person than any other country, except the USA. Single use plastics, like cling film, are typically only used once but take hundreds of years to biodegrade in landfills.

Beeswax wrap with a bee print.
Beeswax wrap is a sustainable, reusable alternative to plastic wrap. It is breathable and allows food to stay fresh for longer, reducing food wastage.

Plastic that is not sent to be recycled, incinerated or landfilled most often ends up in the ocean, killing wildlife, or creating large polluted areas of marine debris, like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Replacing everyday single use items, like nappies, toothbrushes, tampons, plastic bags, and cling film for greener alternatives can substantially reduce your waste production and is imperative for reducing your environmental impact.

A 2021 YouGov Survey revealed that 57% percent of grocery shoppers in the UK stated they didn’t mind paying more for products that were environmentally friendly. While the upfront cost of the replacements, like reusable water bottles, can sometimes be slightly more expensive, the long term investment in these products can actually prove to be more cost effective.

Our sustainable swaps for single-use plastics won’t break the environment, or the bank, and will go a long way in reducing your plastic waste production.
 1. Swap plastic bottles for reusable bottles made from stainless steel or durable plastic 2. Swap ziplock bags for Silicone sealing bags that are naturally water resistant. 3. Swap plastic straws for Metal straw alternatives that can be cleaned and reused. 4. Swap toothbrushes for Biodegradable bamboo brushes or buy from an eco-friendly company. 5. Swap Plastic wrap for Beeswax food wraps that are reusable, watertight and stylish. 6. Swap Plastic period products for Mooncups, period underwear or cardboard tampon applicators. 7. Swap Plastic Bags for Reusable fabric totes and recyclable paper bags for food.

Shop Sustainable Fashion

Charity shops offer a huge variety of second-hand clothing and items, all at affordable prices.

As clothing becomes more and more affordable, it’s difficult to resist the lure of fast fashion. However, fast fashion and cheap clothing comes with a far greater price to pay: a wealth of environmental consequences.

The fashion industry reportedly accounts for around 10% of greenhouse gas emissions, and nearly 20% of wastewater globally. Recent research published in the journal ‘Nature Reviews Earth and Environment’ suggest that the fashion industry produces over 92 million tonnes of waste per year, and consumes 79 trillion litres of water throughout the production process.

It’s safe to say that, from its environmental impact to its unsustainable waste production, to its unethical working conditions, there are myriad of issues when it comes to the current fashion industry model.

Investing in higher-quality clothing items and wearing the same items for longer is a guaranteed way to combat the carbon footprint from your wardrobe. In the UK especially, continuing to actively wear the same clothing garment for just nine months longer could diminish its impact on the climate by 20-30%.

Our sustainable swaps will help you adopt a more sustainable attitude toward fashion, helping you be more mindful in your shopping and reducing your environmental impact.
1. Swap Fast Fashion for Charity stores, apps such as Depop, Vintage and Thrifted clothing 2. Swap cheap materials for Sustainable cotton and fibres, and eco-friendly packaging 3. Swap cheap-labour for Worker-friendly conditions and manufacturing processes 4. Swap Occasion Wear for Borrowed or Rented clothing for special occasions rather than buying 5. Swap Leather, Fur and Wool for Sustainable vegan alternatives like recycled rubber

Clean ‘Greener’

One of the primary concerns when it comes to household cleaning products is the detrimental impact they have on the environment. Even after passing through water treatment plants,  a number of chemical compounds from cleaning products still find their way into local waterways.

A picture of a natural cleaning sponge.
This cleaning sponge is made from the the fruit of the Luffa cylindrica, and is fully natural and compostable.

Across the UK – and the globe – waterways like rivers, lakes and ponds are polluted with tons of chemical residues from household cleaning products. These residual chemical compounds have a detrimental impact on aquatic life, triggering the widespread growth of algae that saps away oxygen in the water and reduces biodiversity.

Cleaning products that come in aerosol spray cans also release harsh chemicals into the atmosphere. Research shows that the world population uses more than 25 billion aerosol cans per year, with aerosol products that are used in

A bar of soap from the Beeswax Company
This solid washing-up soap bar from The Beeswax Wrap Company is made in the Cotswolds, and is plastic-free.

the home releasing more harmful pollution into the air than all the vehicles in the UK.

In the past, buying eco-friendly cleaning products sometimes meant sacrificing cleaning efficiency for the sake of sustainability. However, fortunately, this is no longer the case!  The recent push for more sustainable life practices has given way to a whole range of cleaning products that can fulfil your cleaning needs without damaging the environment.

Products like Bio.D Toilet Cleaner, or Tru.Earth Eco Strips are free from nasty petrochemicals and phosphates, meaning they are kinder on the environment. Swapping harsher cleaning products for more sustainable products like these will help to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals polluting your local environment and atmosphere.
 1. Swap toilet cleaner for phosphate, petrochemical and perfume free alternatives 2. Swap Laundry Detergent for powder or concentrated, liquid-less detergent strips or tabs 3. For Grease and Grime, use products with plant-based and mineral ingredients 4. For Washing Up Detergent, use refillable products that come in recyclable packaging 5. Use sponges that are biodegradable and made from plant-based cellulose 6. Swap Liquid Handwash for natural ingredient bar-soaps, dissolvable pads or reduced-plastic refillable soap pouchesAt Compass, we know it takes time to build new habits. Becoming eco-friendly isn’t something that happens overnight! The hardest part of leading a sustainable lifestyle is building sustainability into your routine and learning to make more sustainable choices.

There are also various other factors that need to be considered, such as convenience or affordability, when thinking about becoming more sustainable.

However, at Compass, we believe that even the smallest changes can make a big difference. A healthy planet is essential for the future of our children. Making modest, sustainable swaps like these will go a long way in ensuring younger generations have a safe, stable world to grow up in.