From changing your diet to offering refugees a room, here are five things you can do to help the Ukrainian people
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is another reason to hasten our breakup with fossil fuels. Governments must speed the rollout of renewables, but people can help too. Adjusting home thermostats by 1C could save 10bn cubic metres of gas a year.
At least that’s according to the International Energy Agency, which advised the measure as part of its 10-point plan for weaning Europe off Russian gas (Europe imports 155bn cubic metres from Russia each year). Most oil ends up being used in transport, so cutting car use may also make a dent.
Journalists on the ground in Ukraine are bravely covering developments as the conflict progresses. English-language news outlets there include the Kyiv Independent and the New Voice of Ukraine. Sharing their stories or supporting them financially improves people’s grasp of the war’s impact. Fact-checking sites include ukrainefacts.org, which is run by the International Fact-Checking Network.
Image: Engin Akyurt
Though beset by bureaucracy, one thing’s clear about Britain’s Homes for Ukraine sponsorship scheme: people are keen to help. Within five hours of its launch in mid-March, 44,000 UK-based people had registered their interest. The charity Positive Action in Housing runs the Room for Refugees network, which has housed refugees from many conflict zones in people’s spare rooms, and will now help displaced Ukrainian nationals.
Image: Minh Pham
Shifting to a plant-based diet is another action people can take, given how dependent global food supplies are on grain and fertilisers from Russia. More than half of the wheat grown in the UK and two-thirds of its barley currently goes to feed livestock rather than people. Replacing cattle with plant proteins – like beans and nuts – is much more efficient in terms of land, water and emissions.
Image: Olga Subach
Consider buying things you were going to get anyway from businesses that are trying to help. Most activity so far has been in hospitality. Eurostar is offering unlimited free tickets to Ukrainians travelling from any Eurostar station to the UK, and Airbnb has pledged to provide short-term housing for 100,000 refugees.
Meanwhile, a new organisation, Hospitality for Ukraine, is encouraging businesses to offer free accommodation for refugees.
Main image: Gayatri Malhotra