An illustration showing a sign that reads 'yes you can'.

What you can do to help the planet: an illustrated guide

The future of humanity depends on the natural world. But we are facing a planetary emergency. We're losing green spaces, animals and plants to deforestation, exploitation, urbanisation and global warming. 

But hope isn't lost. If we act together, we can make a  positive difference. Here's how to do your bit to protect nature.

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Eat sustainably

  • Eat fruit and vegetables in season and grown locally - it helps to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Reduce the amount of meat and dairy you eat.
  • Buy food that is produced more sustainably, such as MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) fish and UK Red Tractor assured items.
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Reduce waste

  • Repair, reuse, donate or sell items rather than throwing them away.
  • Reduce the number of single-use items you're buying and swap them for reusable alternatives. Good items to start with include coffee cups, water bottles and bags.
  • Make sure you recycle according to your local authority's guidelines.
  • Batch cook and freeze food or get inventive with leftovers to use up fresh fruit and vegetables.
An illustration featuring a bat, some flowers and a bee hive.

Protect and enjoy green spaces

  • Plant a window box with nectar-rich flowers - even a small space can make a change.
  • If you have a garden or green space, try to include a wide variety of plants to lengthen the flowering season and support different kinds of wildlife.
  • Let your garden grow wild. Reduce the number of times you mow your lawn to encourage plants to grow - they are a good source of food for birds.
  • Help nurture a park or community garden near you.
  • Care for the wildlife that visits your space. Build a pond or hedgehog home, put up a bird box or a bee hotel and avoid using harsh chemicals.
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Reduce energy use

  • Turn off lights and electrical appliances when you're not using them.
  • Put on an extra layer before you turn up the heating.
  • Ensure your home is energy efficient.
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Travel responsibly

  • Leave the car at home and walk, cycle or use public transport wherever you can.
  • Cut back on flying and try to take the train if travelling around the UK or to Europe.
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Make your voice heard

  • Talk to friends and family about the changes you make.
  • Talk to those with the power to make change. That includes businesses, your local council, MP or school.
  • If you stop buying something because you have found a more sustainable alternative, let the shop know why they’re losing your custom. It might nudge them to clean up their act.
An illustration showing scientific tools.

Use and support science

  • Understanding changes to the environment can be confusing. If you want to find out more about what the science says, make sure you go to a trusted source like the Museum website or universities.
  • Share your interests by joining with other people and organisations. You can achieve much more together. 
  • Museum scientists are working alongside colleagues all over the world to understand and reduce the impacts of climate change. Your support, however small, can help us continue the work.
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Watch what you buy

  • Plan your meals. Make a list and stick to it when you shop so that you don’t over buy. 
  • Choose products with less packaging.
  • Ask yourself whether you need to buy something. The most sustainable option is using what you already own.
  • Buy sustainably sourced goods whenever possible. By doing so, you not only reduce your own environmental footprint, you also make a big difference to businesses that are trying to do the right thing.

Protecting our home

We're working towards a future where both people and the planet thrive.

Hear from scientists studying our life support system: nature.

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Our vision

We are creating advocates for the planet. Read our strategy to 2031.

Make a donation

£5 could help us digitise a specimen for climate research

£10 could help us freeze a bee for our collections

£20 could help us do a Red List assessment for a threatened species

£50 could help us fund a field trip to understand biodiversity loss

Or choose another amount

£

Buy a reusable coffee cup

Drink your coffee on the go in a way that's kind to nature.