The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘nature’. 

We know that being in nature is good for our mental health. It’s not some great new thing we’ve just discovered – it’s fundamental to who we are. Our health is our planet’s health. Our planet’s health is our health.  

Mental health is something we think about at Rebel, in terms of customers and employees (as far as we know, we’re the only energy supplier in the UK that offers each and every employee a paid wellbeing day once a month, to be spent however they wish). 

We’re particularly keen to talk about mental health and nature together, as interconnectedness is our favourite topic – the interconnectedness of us and nature, and of our problems and solutions.  

So bear with us while we explain what our approach to the carbon market has to do with mental health.  

When we started Rebel, we started work on Rebel Restoration. This is our foundation set up to support carbon-removal projects (mostly) in the UK.  

You’ll notice we don’t say ‘carbon offsetting’, and that’s because we think the phrase is misleading. We don’t really believe we can just offset carbon emissions from fossil fuels by paying somebody else to plant trees, and think everything will be ok.  

But what we can do is back projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere, restore biodiversity and empower local communities. While transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards renewables and electrification.  

The more holistic our approach, the better for our landscapes, and, in the end, for our own wellbeing.   

Take one of those projects closest to our hearts: seagrass.  

The ocean is good for us. Walking beside it, listening to the waves, swimming in it. Even just seeing the ocean has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. These benefits are so clear that time in wetlands is now being prescribed for people with mental health issues.  

So, for our own wellbeing, we need healthy oceans. And healthy oceans are oceans filled with seagrass.  

Seagrasses occupy 0.1% of the seafloor, yet are responsible for 11% of the organic carbon buried in the ocean. Seagrass meadows, mangroves and coastal wetlands capture carbon at a rate greater than that of tropical forests. 

Planting meadows of seagrass means more biodiversity, thriving native species, more bountiful fishing, engaged local communities, better places to visit.  

Or, put simply, healthier oceans equal healthier us. 

This is why we like the ‘nature’ theme of Mental Health Awareness Week. We’re trying lots of things in the interest of good health – from those wellbeing days for our employees to a customer approach that’s caring rather than merely transactional.  

But at the heart of it is a belief that everything is connected. That when we restore our oceans (and peatbogs, and forests), we restore our own health.



It was Earth Day a couple of weeks ago. We could have posted a picture of a tree and said ‘it’s all of our responsibilities to look after our planet and that’s why we supply 100% renewable electricity’.  

But we all know that that’s not good enough. 

Green is no good if it’s the preserve of the already well-off. Renewable energy shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be the default. Every piece of toast that pops out of a toaster on a fair British morning should have been cooked by renewable electricity. Every electron on the grid should be generated from UK-based renewable energy sources.

Anything less means we’re not trying hard enough.

Because we have bigger problems: gas and carbon-offsetting.

Our country is plumbed for gas. All of those emissions go into the atmosphere, and we can’t simply subtract them again…it’s not that simple. Don’t believe anyone that tells you it is. The only real solution is not to burn fossil fuels at all.

So, we need to move away from gas and towards heat pumps, electrification and fuel-efficient houses. And we need to do it urgently.

Until we get there, the whole carbon-offsetting conversation needs to change. Because the system that we have right now does not work. This market is so dysfunctional that a major company recently purchased carbon credits (a carbon credit is a certificate that allows you to claim you have removed X tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, you can learn more about it here), and it did this not by planting trees but by *not cutting them down*.

This is a failure on pretty much every level.

But the good news is that there are better, more effective ways of doing it. Like: investing in community-led projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere and restore biodiversity.

That’s why we, as a UK energy supplier, are backing UK carbon-removal projects. We will also back projects overseas where we believe the carbon, biodiversity and social impact merit it, but we will not forget our own fair isles, where 25% of our mammals are at imminent risk of extinction, where we have vast carbon removal potential, and habitat loss on land and in the sea has reached terrifying levels – 97% of our meadows on land, and 92% of our seagrass meadows are gone.

As we think about Earth Day 2021, we know we’re not doing enough yet. But we are working towards that. And we have built our company so we are legally obliged to get better, and better, and better.