You can make a difference

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with news of the climate emergency, and to think that our own actions wouldn’t make a difference. To untangle ourselves from the oil machine, we need to act on individual, collective, and systemic levels. 

The film THE OIL MACHINE shares the voices of contributors from all angles, from oil workers to young activists, from scientists to investors, from oil companies to advocates. After THE OIL MACHINE, we've gone back to all of them and asked them for ways to make a difference. Here are 10 of them:


1. Use your finances to defuse the oil machine 

Your personal finances have the power to shape a future after the oil machine — and the film’s Steve Waygood asserts that shifting your pension to a fossil-free fund is proven to be among the most effective changes individuals can make to tackle the climate emergency. Make My Money Matter has created an easy-to-follow 10-step guide on how you can take action to green your finances today.

2. Invest in a sustainable future

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Many people who own shares don’t realise that they have a democratic voice within the companies that they own, yet the firms listed on the London Stock Exchange are currently on track to produce a catastrophic three degrees of global warming. Steve Waygood recommends ShareAction, a movement that aims to stop this trajectory by offering a benchmark for responsible investment.

3. Demand others divest too

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As with our pension and shares, we all have a say in how our city, town or region spends the money we pay in local taxes. Find out how your council is investing these funds in pensions for its workers and demand change. Here is a useful tool to help you find our how much your local authority is investing in fossil fuels and steps for what to do next. You can also look into how your employer makes decisions for large investments. If you study or work in academia, ask what your campus is doing to divest.

4. Drill deeper into the oil machine

The oil & gas industry is facing a lot of criticism at the moment. They have committed to transitioning away from fossil fuels in the long term – but where is that actually at? Let’s do our homework first and drill a bit deeper into the industry’s own assertions. Still called 'Oil & Gas UK' in the film, the now-rebranded Offshore Energies UK recommend that we read their own reports, those of the North Sea Transition Authority, and the UK Government’s Digest of UK Energy Statistics

5. Tell your MP to stop new oil and gas licences  

Campaigners like climate lawyer Tessa Khan in the film say the industry’s efforts to decarbonise fade in comparison to continued oil and gas exploration. Many are worried about the UK’s energy security, yet Tessa points out that only a small amount of North Sea oil and gas is used for domestic consumption, and licensing for new fields will not solve supply issues. Plans for new fields include the vast Rosebank project. The #StopRosebank campaign, advocated for by Tessa, provides a tool to help you email your MP to tell them to put an end to the project.

6. Tell politicians to address the cost-of-living crisis

As the film’s Ann Pettifor states, a new way of thinking about our economy and ecology is needed urgently if we are to move beyond fossil fuels. The rising cost of food, energy, and housing is making life impossible for many workers on the frontlines. In the face of such insecurity with basic needs, thinking about climate change falls down the list of priorities for people everywhere. Tackling the climate emergency starts with building resilient communities and public services and supporting those on the frontlines. This campaign tells politicians that Enough Is Enough.

7. Support a Just Transition

The Just Transition Partnership (JTP) is a coalition of environmentalist groups and trade unions in Scotland advocating for a planned shift away from oil and gas. This planning is urgent across all sectors and especially for oil & gas workers, as outlined in the film by Jake Molloy. Progress is happening, with the Scottish Government just announcing its first year of newly funded projects that will support the Just Transition. Find out more about JTP’s work and contact them about membership for your union

8. Start a conversation

The consequences of rising carbon emissions are laid out starkly in the film by two climate scientists. They've each been conversation starters, Sir David King with his Climate Crisis Advisory Group focusing on science-based policy, and Professor Kevin Anderson as co-founder of Climate Uncensored, challenging the expert community to live up to the urgency of the challenge. You, too, can learn how to host a Climate Conversation in the place where you work, study or live to discuss what happens after the oil machine.

9. Make informed choices 

How do we get to Net Zero? What needs to happen and how? As the film’s James Marriott asks, how can we consider climate in every action that we do, and how can we put pressure on our government, colleagues, family, and neighbours? A great way to start linking up personal choices with wider changes in society is to make use of the Climate Calculator, a tool that allows you to make accurate choices about how the UK can meet its 2030 emissions targets.

10. Get involved in your community

The young activists in the film know that taking steps towards a fossil free future at a grassroots level can be a great way to deliver tangible change and can also help engage people in your area. Find groups near you that are working on the issues you care about most in Scotland or England & Wales. Then help take things to the next level with these excellent resources from Climate Action.

Bonus step:
Host a screening of THE OIL MACHINE

Work with our campaign team to bring THE OIL MACHINE to your area. The film can act as a vital tool for opening up discussions after the credits roll, on the options we face in order to live After THE OIL MACHINE. Find out more about what we can do to help you host a screening and discussion in your community, workplace, campus, or local cinema. 

Host an event