In a transformative era marked by unprecedented global challenges, 2023 emerged with beacons of hope for our planet. Here we celebrate six climate triumphs that shaped the year – from landmark decisions at COP28 signalling the demise of the fossil fuel era to groundbreaking achievements in environmental conservation and sustainability worldwide – and look forward to 24 more ways to take our own action in 2024.  

Against the backdrop of climate consciousness, energy transitions, and biodiversity protection, these stories show that our collective efforts are making a tangible difference in safeguarding the future of our planet. Working together helps us overcome even the most daunting obstacles. 

Individuals across the globe are also seeking meaningful ways to contribute to a greener future. From simple daily adjustments to more profound lifestyle choices, the collection of 24 eco-friendly actions will help create a lasting impact in the key areas where we can help most towards the health of our planet. 

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Climate Triumphs of 2023  

  • COP28 COP28 marked a pivotal moment signalling the ‘beginning of the end’ of the fossil fuel era: In a groundbreaking move at COP28, world leaders representing nearly 200 nations have collectively committed to a historic transition away from fossil fuels, also pledging to contribute efforts to triple the capacity of renewable energy by 2030. Making real a Loss and Damage fund to provide compensation was truly significant, especially for developing countries on the front line.    
  • Cities The Buildings Breakthrough was officially launched at COP28: This has set out a target that ‘near-zero emission and resilient buildings are the new normal by 2030’. Many major cities around the world are at the forefront of new approaches to infrastructure and smart energy use. 28 countries including Egypt, Senegal and UK, and European Union (EU) have joined this important collaboration so far.  
  • Energy Energy generated by fossil fuels in the EU hit a record low in the first half of 2023: As reported by Carbon Brief, the 27 member states of the European Union witnessed a 17% reduction in the burning of fossil fuels for electricity compared to the corresponding period in 2022. Fossil fuels accounted for only 33% of electricity generation, marking their lowest-ever share in the EU’s power mix.  
  • Forests Brazil experiences a six-year low in deforestation: Following President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s announcement of over 20 environmental policies, including a commitment to ‘zero deforestation’ in the Amazon, the BBC article shows deforestation rates had decreased by 66% since August in July 2023 compared to the same month in 2022.  
  • Nature and Bio-diversity UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) sign up by 188 nations: This achievement at the end of 2022 has committed the world to address biodiversity loss, restore ecosystems and protect indigenous rights by 2030. Indigenous-led conservation models are now being used as the standard for meaningful biodiversity action in recognition that Indigenous Peoples safeguard 80% of Earth’s biodiversity. Here are a few other examples of restoring biodiversity last year:  
    • Humpback Whales’ population has rebounded thanks to collaborative global conservation initiatives such as the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. Their population has surged from a low point of 10,000 to 15,000 to almost 80,000. 
    • 29 species removed from Australia’s endangered list: Good News Network happily reported that 15 mammals, 8 birds, 4 frogs, a reptile, and a fish were de-listed last year, including humpback whales, yellow-footed rock wallabies and the growling grass frog.  
  • Oceans High Seas Treaty is agreed, Plastics Treaty is in motion and ocean action is happening: Global agreement to protect two-thirds of our oceans by 2030 gave ‘new life and hope’ said UN Secretary General, whilst positive talks in Kenya mean that a similarly legally binding commitment on plastics is likely in 2024. Here are just two examples of action to protect and restore our oceans and coastal areas around the world: 

24 Actions for 2024  

Each conscious choice made in 2024 has the potential to create a ripple effect, contributing to a healthier planet for us and generations to come. Remember, the power to effect change lies within our daily actions. See our Action Themes page for lots of supporting organisations and choose from amongst this table or try all 24! 

Community of action 
Sign up for a FREE Climate Action Survey with ICN: Our team and other experts will support you to put together well thought through campaigns to help engage everyone in school climate action.   

Share your passion: Talk about what you’re doing to inspire and encourage others to join in climate friendly actions.  

Participate in community clean-ups: Join local environmental initiatives to clean up parks, beaches, and public spaces.   

Challenge yourselves: Use competitions such as a ‘Zero-Waste’ Week with a useful (or tasty!) reward for everyone who takes part. 

What we buy, use and re-use  
Invest in reusable water bottles and bags: Cut down on single-use plastic by opting for reusable alternatives.   

Practise mindful consumerism: Choose products with minimal packaging and support eco-friendly brands such as sustainable fashion.  

Choose biodegradable alternatives: Switch to Bamboo Toothbrushes to reduce plastic waste.  

Upcycle and repurpose Items: Get creative with repurposing old items instead of discarding them.   

Host a swap event: Exchange clothes, books, or household items with friends or in school, giving items a new life.   

Contribute to E-waste recycling: Recycle old electronics responsibly to prevent hazardous e-waste.  

Chemistry at home: Create your eco-friendly cleaning solutions using simple natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda to reduce chemical pollution.  
Food & food waste  
Embrace Meatless Mondays: Dedicate one day a week – it doesn’t have to be Monday – to plant-based meals to decrease your carbon footprint.   

Support local farmers and markets: Choose locally sourced and seasonal produce to reduce the carbon footprint of your food.   

Start a composting system: Convert kitchen waste into nutrient-rich compost for your garden or in school.       

Introduce indoor plants: Improve air quality and bring nature indoors with air-purifying houseplants.   

Plant and care for a tree: Contribute to reforestation efforts by planting and caring for trees in your school or local community.  

Create a bee-friendly garden: Plant native flowers and herbs to attract pollinators and support biodiversity.   

Try rainwater harvesting and conservation: Collect rainwater for watering plants, reducing dependency on treated water.  
Travel & transport  
Choose sustainable transport: Walk, cycle, share lifts, or use public transportation to reduce your carbon footprint.  

Be calm and happy: Use Living Streets’ My Walking Week seven-day journal for a path to happiness!  

School streets: Ask your school and local council about this increasingly popular scheme that makes it safer to walk and cycle to school by limiting traffic at both ends of the day.                  
Utilise solar chargers: Charge devices with solar-powered chargers to harness renewable energy.  

Find out what your home’s energy costs: Look at your home’s utility bills from last year and see how reducing energy consumption can save money.   

Switch to renewable energy: Ask school to consider switching to a renewable energy provider or to access grants to install solar panels.      

“The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change“.

Greta Thunberg