Resources

How to Take Action to Stop The Cambo Oil Field Going Ahead

Feeling overwhelmed by the latest IPCC report? Here’s how to take action to help stop the Cambo Oil Field from going ahead to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and limit planetary warming.

Every few years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the United Nation’s climate science body – produces a major report on the state of the climate crisis. On 9th August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its most recent report. What it told us was that we need to halve global greenhouse gas emissions and we need to half them fast to help limit planetary warming to 1.5°C.

From the report, it is clear that global emissions need to peak by around 2025 and then plunge rapidly towards zero. However, just this month Boris Johnson made it clear that he would not block plans to create a new oilfield in the North Sea, known as Cambo. Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon has not called for it to be blocked either.

Quite a few people that I have spoken to said that the IPCC report has made them feel anxious and angry, and feeling helpless in the face of crisis.  I say put those feelings to good use.  Below I’ve set out concrete steps that you can take to oppose the Cambo Oil Field that the UK Government plans to develop.

crowd shot of climate change protest, with red banner in centre that says "climate action now" in response to Cambo Oil Field

How To Take Action on Cambo Oil Field

Whilst the pandemic has meant that in-person protests are not as accessible as they once were, there are still many ways that you can take action on the Cambo Oil Field plans:

Email Your Local Elected Official

Whether it’s your local Member of Parliament (MP), Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP), or Member of the Senedd (MS/AS), writing to your local elected official is incredibly important. This lets them know that their constituents are concerned about these issues and holds them to account.

It’s easy to forget, but elected officials work for us. They are there to represent the views of their constituents in parliament. If they don’t know the views of their constituents, they can’t voice these views.

If you’ve never emailed your local elected official, then don’t worry, it’s really easy. The Write To Them website is a useful resource that lets you pop in your postcode to find out who your elected officials are. You can then choose who you send your email to, and also send it directly via The Write to Them website.

Sample Letter To Your Local MP

A sample email to your local MP might look like this:

Dear [insert name of your MP here], I am writing to you as a constituent of [insert your constituency here] because I am concerned about climate change.

Through the publication of the IPCC Climate Change Report, climate scientists have stated that it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land.  What’s more, we need to halve global greenhouse gas emissions and we need to half them fast to help limit planetary warming to 1.5°C.

In order to meet the goal of keeping global temperature rises beneath 1.5oC, it is clear that we need a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. Cambo Oil Field is not compatible with this rapid requirement to halve global greenhouse gas emissions to help limit temperature rises.

With extreme heat and record-breaking temperatures, deadly fires across Europe, the United States, and catastrophic floods in Europe and China, this summer alone, we are already seeing the deadly effects of global heating. Therefore, every fraction of a degree of heating that we can avoid, the more lives that can be saved. With this information in mind, and in the year of COP26, allowing new oil exploration at Cambo would simply be inexcusable and reckless.

On behalf of everyone in [insert your constituency here], I am directly asking you to champion policies in parliament that ensure that the Cambo Oil Field does not go ahead. Can you please also reassure me that, as my local elected official, that you will not support Cambo Oil Field exploration?

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Yours sincerely,

[your name]

On behalf of [insert local organisation(s) if relevant]

Postcode

Feel free to copy and paste this template to email your elected official, or edit as you see fit. You can also share this text with friends and family, and encourage them to write to their elected officials too.

Sign Cambo Oil Field Petitions

Signing Stop Cambo Oil Field petitions is also a great way to add your voice to collective climate action.

There are a few going about right now, but Friends of the Earth probably have the most authoritative petition. You can sign the Friends of The Earth open letter to tell the UK government to reject plans for oil extraction in the Cambo Field. Remember to share the petition with your friends and family, and encourage them to sign it, to help amplify its reach.

Paid to Pollute is also a great campaign to support. Here a group of UK citizens is taking the UK Government to court to bring to an end unfair tax breaks for fossil fuel companies.

According to Paid to Pollute, oil and gas companies like BP and Shell have paid zero tax in the UK, whilst also receiving hundreds of millions in handouts from the UK Government. In fact, figures show that from 2015-2019 the UK government paid:

  • Shell £374 million
  • BP £675 million
  • Canadian Natural Resources £584 million
  • Exxon Mobil £458 million & £374 million

To repeat, UK taxpayers have paid oil companies millions to keep drilling for oil, yet received nothing from the big polluters in those years.

If you would like to see the end of public money being used to prop up the oil and gas industry and instead see public money being used to support a managed phase-out of oil and gas production, decent green jobs and a just transition for workers and affected communities then you can sign the petition here, to show your support to their case. You can donate to the campaign here to help support legal costs.

Move Your Money

One of the lesser-known links to fossil fuel extraction is the link between fossil fuels and your bank account and pension scheme.

It’s really important to switch to an ethical bank because the money that we deposit into our bank account doesn’t just sit in a vault until we need to withdraw it.  Banks use the money that we deposit in our current and savings accounts to fund their other profit-making banking activities. From loans to investments, your money supports that.

It’s important to understand that the banks aren’t just investing their money, they’re investing our money that we deposit in our accounts. This means, depending on who you bank with, your money could be funding all sorts of projects that you don’t agree with and don’t necessarily know about. This could potentially include the Cambo Oil Field.

Did you know that between 2015 and 2018 alone, the world’s biggest banks have invested $1.9 trillion into fossil fuel financing?  Edie reports one of the UK’s worst offenders is Barclays. Barclays has reportedly provided £91 billion in funding to fossil fuel companies during this period.  This includes companies involved in coal, tar sands, Arctic oil projects, and fracking, as well as the major players in the extraction and use of fossil fuels. 

HSBC has also contributed £67 billion to the fossil fuel industry over the same period. Meanwhile, Greenpeace also reports that both companies own shares in fracking companies.

Switching who you bank with is therefore vitally important, to divert money away from the fossil fuel industry. Check out my guide to ethical banking, updated for 2021. This gives you the full guide to the worst-performing banks and the most ethical banks.

I haven’t covered pensions on the blog before, but financial institutions also use your pension savings to fund fossil fuels. I’d recommend checking out Make My Money Matter for advice on how to green your pension.

If you know of any other campaigns that seek to stop the Cambo oil field going ahead that need support, then please do share.

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

How to Descale A Kettle With Vinegar or Citric Acid

Don’t let limescale ruin a perfectly good cup of tea. Here’s how to quickly, easily, and naturally descale a kettle two ways – with vinegar or with citric acid – whatever you have to hand.

I blog about tea quite a lot. That’s because I’m pretty partial to a cup myself. Whether it’s herbal tea that I’ve grown by myself – such as mint tea or lemon balm tea – or helping you to find the best plastic-free teabags, tea is never far from my thoughts or my lips!

Whilst there’s nothing like the thought of plastic in your tea to ruin a perfectly good cup of tea, limescale is a close second. Let me show you how to descale a kettle naturally, two ways – one way with vinegar, and another with citric acid – so you never ruin a good cup of tea again!

What Is Limescale And Is It Bad For You?

Firstly, what is limescale? Limescale is a harmless chalky white residue that accumulates in appliances that use water, such as kettles, coffee machines, dishwashers, and washing machines. Limescale is particularly prevalent in hard water areas. Here, in this mineral-rich water, higher concentrations of calcium and magnesium dissolve in water, leaving limescale deposits as they evaporate.

Limescale is completely harmless to your health and isn’t bad for you to drink. Calcium and magnesium are both minerals found in the body, so consuming them in your water poses no risk.

The problem with limescale in your kettle is that it can spoil your tea a little. However, its greater problem is the effects of limescale on our appliances. Limescale can shorten the lifespan of your kettle because it can corrode the elements. Limescale deposits also negatively impact the energy efficiency of your kettle. This means it takes longer, and uses more energy and therefore money, to heat up the water, and also reduces your kettle’s lifespan.

In short, whilst limescale is not harmful to your health, it’s best to tackle limescale on a regular basis. Doing so will prolong the life of your appliances and save energy, particularly if you live in a hard water area.

How to Naturally Descale A Kettle

A green kettle on a white background with the caption how to naturally descale a kettle using vinegar or citric acid

Thankfully, it’s really easy to descale your kettle. You can buy expensive and chemically dubious kettle descalers. However, I say save your money and use these natural yet effective methods to descale your kettle.

How To Descale A Kettle With Vinegar

Descaling your kettle with vinegar is really simple and cost-effective. Simply buy a bottle of white vinegar and add equal parts water to equal parts vinegar (e.g. 500 ml water and 500 ml white vinegar) to your kettle.

Next, boil your kettle and then leave the vinegar/water solution to sit for an hour before tipping the water out. You may need to give your kettle a little scrub to remove any lingering limescale, but it should come off easily.

Finally, rinse out your kettle thoroughly, and then boil some water to remove any trace of vinegar.

If you are new to using white vinegar for cleaning purposes, then here is everything you need to know about cleaning with white vinegar.

How to Descale A Kettle With Citric Acid

Citric acid is, I have to say, my preferred method to descale a kettle naturally.

All you have to do is add 1 tablespoon of citric acid to half a kettle of water. Allow the water to boil and then leave it to sit for an hour. Next, tip the water out, and scrub away at any lingering limescale. Again, it should come away easily. Finally, give your kettle a good rinse out and the job’s done! Citric acid won’t leave an aftertaste, so there is no need to reboil the kettle again. Less faff equals more time for tea drinking!

New to the amazing superpowers of citric acid? It’s an amazing natural cleaning product that packs a mean punch against limescale. This is because it’s a highly concentrated fruit acid, and as such citric acid is a key element in my green cleaning arsenal. As well as being useful to clean your kettle, you can also use the leftover citric acid to make this amazing citric acid cleaning spray. This is a great natural cleaning spray, that’s especially useful if you aren’t into the smell of vinegar.

Worried about tracking it down? Worry not, citric acid is easily available in homebrew shops, Asian supermarkets, or online.

How To Prevent Limescale

If you live in a hard water area, then limescale is a fact of life. It’s just one of those things that you have to get in the habit of descaling your appliances, such as your kettle, dishwasher, or washing machine, regularly, to help prolong their life.

However, when it comes to your kettle, there are steps you can take to help reduce the need to descale it as often. One of these is to use a water filter to filter your water before filling the kettle. Water filters used to be pretty wasteful, however, you can now buy reusable water filters, meaning there’s no plastic waste. I wrote about this Phox water filter here some time ago, when they were in the fundraising stage, and it’s great to see it now available for sale.

You can also buy a reusable stainless steel limescale catcher* for your kettle. This clever product lives in your kettle and absorbs the calcium carbonate that causes limescale. Every so often, when it turns a white colour, just take it out and give it a wash. Once you’re done, pop it back inside your kettle and you’re good to go again.

Thanks for letting me chat through kettle cleaning with you! Now time for a good old (limescale free!) cuppa I think!