Current affairs

5 things you can do to lead a more climate friendly life

12 Sep 2022 | Written by By Sarah Blake

A photograph of a protest sign that's painted black, with planet Earth in the centre one 'One World' written across it in bold white writing.

Sarah Blake, Founder of Earthology, puts forward a compelling case for how being more environmentally friendly also helps us as individuals.

Climate Change is here. Now. Not in 2030 or 2050. It’s happening globally and everyone is affected. The good news is that you CAN change the future and that of your grandchildren. In the words of Greta Thunberg, ‘no-one is too small to make a difference’. 

The even better news is that what’s good for the planet is also good for you. From energy saving that lowers your bills, to eating less meat which can improve your health, there are things everyone can do to live a Climate Friendly life.

Buy better

Everything you buy has a carbon footprint, from clothes to your mobile phone. If you need to buy something, can you buy second-hand or reconditioned? Buying second-hand saves you money and carbon emissions! Buy local, well-made, energy efficient items that are built to last. When you no longer need something, can you resell it or give it away to someone who needs it? Reuse the things you have from jam jars for storage to worn out clothes for cleaning rags. 

Eat healthily

Add more fruit and vegetables to your diet and significantly reduce your meat consumption, particularly beef and lamb. Have meat-free days at least 3 days a week. Eat local and seasonal to reduce air miles, avoid things like strawberries at Christmas as it’s likely they will have been flown into the country. Check out the BBC food calculator for the carbon emissions impact of your food choices. Eat everything you buy. Food waste is in the top 10 solutions to reduce carbon emissions according to Project Drawdown.

Save energy and save money

Cut down on your energy bills by using less energy at home. Turn off lights, use power strips and timers, wash at 30℃, use the washing line not the dryer, and have shorter showers not baths. Turning down your thermostat by 1℃ could save you £500 a year. Read up on ways to save and generate energy at home with the Centre for Sustainable Energy. Start with attic insulation, drafts, windows and walls, then look at clever heating controls like thermostatic radiators. If you can invest, try solar panels and heat pumps once your house is well insulated.

Get fit!

Changing the way you get around can really make a difference. A large part of your carbon footprint comes from flying and driving. Take fewer flights – particularly long-haul ones. Remember what’s good for you is good for the planet, so get those trainers on and walk or cycle to get around. If you can’t ditch the car, then slow down. Driving at 60mph, instead of 80mph, will burn 25% less fuel. It’s also better for air pollution too, sections of the M4 in Wales have a reduced speed limit of 50mph to do exactly that. If you need a new car, buy an electric or plug-in hybrid but remember the embodied emissions of making the car means keeping your old one is a good idea too.

Chat to your friends.

Grab a Fairtrade cup of coffee and talk to anyone who will listen. Discuss what your Climate Friendly Life is doing for you, saving money, improving your health and cutting your carbon footprint. Maybe start with investments and consider where you put your money; are they doing the best for the planet? Make my money matter is a good place for information. We need to start conversations with everyone, everywhere. At home, at school, at work, at the allotment, at the coffee shop and in the pub, talk to your friends and family about your Climate Friendly Life.

So grab a notepad and pen and start today! 1% better everyday is better than trying to change habits drastically overnight. Making positive changes that impact the Climate Emergency is also a great way to send a message to those around us about the urgency of the situation and get cultural shifts in motion. 

As Maya Angelou once said, ‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’

After studying Sustainability at Cambridge University Sarah founded Earthology, a company committed to guiding people on a journey towards a greener life. Sarah has also been certified with the Carbon Literacy project in the UK.

If you’re looking to learn more about how to live more sustainably, come to tomorrow’s session ‘Tips and tricks to cutting your carbon footprint’ , which Sarah will be hosting. This will also be a great opportunity to ask Sarah any questions you may have about living a more Climate Friendly Life.

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