As part of the Great Big Green Week, Stamford Arts Centre is screening the film…
1. Cut consumption and waste
Everything we use as consumers has a carbon footprint.
Avoid single-use items and fast fashion, and try not to buy more than you need.
It’s estimated that a third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted. Do your bit by eating up leftovers and use any ingredients you have spare to make interesting meals. Try to waste as little food as possible, and compost the organic waste you can’t eat. Shop around for second-hand or quality items that last a long time.
Put your purchasing power to good use by choosing brands that align with your new green aspirations.
Everything we use as consumers has a carbon footprint.
Repair and reuse.
Give unwanted items a new life by donating them to charity or selling them on.
2. Eat sustainably
What we eat contributes around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions and is responsible for almost 60% of global biodiversity loss.
Avoiding meat and dairy products is one of the biggest ways to reduce your environmental impact on the planet. Studies suggest that a high-fibre, plant-based diet is also better for your health – so it can be a win-win.
Eat fewer or smaller portions of meat, especially red meat, which has the largest environmental impact, and reduce dairy products or switch them for non-dairy alternatives.
3. Fly less
If you need to fly for work, consider using video conferencing instead. For trips in the same country or continent, take the train or explore options using an electric car.
When flying is unavoidable, pay a little extra for carbon offsetting.
For leisure trips, choose nearby destinations, and fly economy – on average, a passenger in business class has a carbon footprint three times higher than someone in economy.
4. Leave the car at home
Instead of getting in the car, walk or cycle – and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits, and the money saved. For longer journeys, use public transport, or try car-sharing schemes.
Not only do cars contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, but air pollution caused by exhaust fumes from traffic poses a serious threat to public health. It has been shown to affect the health of unborn babies and increase the risk of dementia.
When you have to drive
When behind the wheel, think about the way you drive:
Avoid idling for long periods of time and switch off the engine as soon as you park up.
Make sure the tyres are fully pumped, and that the oxygen sensors are in good order – this can improve the cars fuel mileage and efficiency by up to 3% and 40% respectively.
5. Be energy efficient
Small changes to your behaviour at home will help you use less energy, cutting your carbon footprint and your energy bills:
Put on an extra layer and turn down the heating a degree or two.
Turn off lights and appliances when you don’t need them.
Replace light bulbs with LEDs or other low-energy lights.
Make simple changes to how you use hot water, like buying a water-efficient shower heater
Make sure your home is energy efficient. Check the building has proper insulation, and consider draught-proofing windows and doors. If you are in rented accommodation, lobby your landlord to make sure the property is energy efficient.
Switching energy supply to a green tariff is a great way to invest in renewable energy sources – and could save you money on bills too.
6. Conserve water
The little things can make a big difference. Every time you turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth, you’re doing something good.
Water and sewage treatment accounts for around 8% of Britain’s carbon footprint – so the less you use, the better. Installing a water meter is a big help with this. Then cut down on baths and showers, put a brick in your cistern, and only set the washing machine off when it’s full.
Got a leaky tap? You might be dripping as much as 90 gallons (340 litres) of water down the drain every day. So fix it! It’s easy and cheap.
Stop drinking bottled water. Switch to filtered tap water. You’ll save a ton of cash and help reduce a ton of plastic waste in the process.
7. Respect and protect green spaces
Green spaces, such as parks and gardens, are important. They absorb carbon dioxide and are associated with lower levels of air pollution.
They help to regulate temperature by cooling overheated urban areas, can reduce flood risk by absorbing surface rainwater and can provide important habitats for a wide variety of insects, animals, birds and amphibians.
They also provide multiple benefits to public health, with studies linking green space to reduced levels of stress.
What can you do?
Plant trees, or support those who can
Create your own green space. Add pot plants to your window sill or balcony, and if you have your own outdoor space, don’t replace the grass with paving or artificial turf.
Help to protect and conserve green spaces like local parks, ponds or community gardens. Organisations like Fields In Trust and the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces have advice and resources on how you can get involved in areas local to you.
Check out TCV. If you don’t have direct access to open spaces, this community volunteering charity brings people together to connect to nature, and create healthier and happier communities
8. Invest your money responsibly
Find out where your money goes. Voice your concerns about responsible investment by writing to your bank or pension provider, and ask if you can opt-out of funds investing in fossil fuels.
There are also a number of ‘ethical banks’ you can investigate.
Banks, pensions funds and big corporates often hold investments in fossil fuel companies. However, the discussion around responsible investment – weighing up environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and taking them into consideration when investing money – is growing.
9. Give Composting a try
It would help reduce the amount of solid waste you produce, and what eventually winds up in your local landfill. Plus, compost makes a great natural fertilizer.
10. Spread the word
Conversations are a great way to spread big ideas.
As you make these positive changes to reduce your environmental impact, share your experience with your family, friends, customers and clients. Don’t be a bore or confrontational. Instead, talk positively, and be honest about the ups and downs.