Growing up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I didn’t have too much of a grasp of the damage that we might be causing to the place we call home, Earth. The term ‘climate change’ was never banded around. My only memory of protecting our planet was being told to never drop litter, a lesson I preach to my kids now, but I think that’s as far as our education on helping our planet went. Television news and the odd episode of Blue Peter might have occasionally mentioned some gaping hole in the ozone layer and even scared us with the frighteningly labelled ‘acid rain’, but little did I know, that thirty years later, perhaps we should have all been doing a little more than just not dropping our empty Space Invaders’ packets wherever we fancied.
Fast forward to now and ask a young child about protecting the planet and they’re likely to be far more savvy than previous generations. Indeed, my daughter, at only six-years-old can reel off a list of dos and don’ts around plastics, water, diets, waste and much more. Whilst her knowledge of what’s required to help slow climate change is extremely impressive, it’s also incredibly sad. Our generation and the generations before that have created a mess that if we don’t act now will, shamefully, be left to our children to try and sort out.
I think becoming a parent makes you more aware of this critical responsibility. As a family we’ve been doing our bit to help where we can; we recycle everything where possible, we’ve massively cut down on single use plastics, we drive less, we use reusable water bottles, coffee cups, bamboo toothbrushes, we avoid palm oil, we’re all vegetarian and we even use beeswax sheets instead of non-recyclable clingfilm. More recently we’ve started to think about our energy supplier too.
For years we did what most people do, punch a few details into a comparison site and plumped for the cheapest option, with no real concern of how the energy is sourced or the values of the company providing it. But recently I’ve had to ask myself, what kind of a parent – or citizen of the planet – am I if I’m not making a more responsible and considered choice to protect my children and the planet.
With that in mind I’m now proud to say that I’ve recently switched to Octopus Energy.
Here’s the caveat – I’m aware that this is going to start sounding very ‘ad-like’ from here on in, but in this instance, I think everything I tell you about Octopus will gain your respect and get you thinking more consciously about your energy supplier. Since being in touch with them and learning more about what they do, they’ve certainly gained mine.
First up, all of Octopus’ tariffs use 100% green electricity and have a Super Green tariff to carbon offset the gas. Brilliantly, they also work with Renewable World who tackle poverty through renewable energy, another initiative linked to their huge focus on carbon offsetting.
In its simplest terms, carbon offsetting is a balancing act that cancels out the carbon emissions produced through the natural gases used in your home. So, Octopus measure the carbon footprint of the gas used by their Super Green customers and then make steps to reverse the effects by implementing initiatives such as planting trees to help remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Octopus also provide low carbon energy alternatives in places that would otherwise be reliant on fossil fuels with high emissions levels.
As a parent, I’m also delighted to see Octopus donate £50 to a school if you sign up through their link. The school doesn’t even have to be an Octopus customer (but why wouldn’t they be if they’re keen on benefitting their pupils’ futures), they just need to have generated a link. If your kids’ school is not on the list you can drop an email to Octopus and they’ll get the energy-saving ball rolling.
And it’s not just the schools who could be seeing a £50 windfall. Octopus have a referral scheme that rewards you and a friend £50 each when switching. It takes a couple of minutes to get a quote and only a couple more minutes to complete the switch (they’ll do all the hard work for you). Then, once you’re a customer, as an extra bonus, you can play the Wheel of Fortune each month, where you get the opportunity to win anything from £1 to £512 credit on your account.
So there’s my sales pitch over, but whilst I was tapping away at my keyboard, I actually felt a huge surge of passion for what Octopus are doing; something also acknowledged by the Renewable Energy Association earlier this year when Octopus won the British Renewable Company of the Year.
Now’s the time to be considering the future of our planet and the future of our children. With worrying reports such as this one from the New York Post and this from The Guardian, it’s paramount that we do all we can to protect our oceans, our land and our air. I’m sure most of us are recycling and making conscious decisions around other preservative measures already, but switching to Octopus’ green energy is also a huge, and in my opinion, necessary step.