By: Kelly Fenn – Updated: 23 Oct 2017
The onset of climate change has come about following over 200 years’ worth of unchecked manmade activity that’s had a negative impact on the world around us – from deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels to driving cars or throwing away perfectly useable materials.
Now, we’re beginning to feel the effects of climate change around the globe. Scientists estimate that by the end of the 21st century, temperatures in the summer of over 40 degrees Celsius could be commonplace in the UK.
While we can’t undo the damage caused to the environment, we can help decelerate the rate of change – and long-term, change the fate of the planet altogether. Half the problem for us as individuals, however, is the knowing where to start.
To help you get to grips with climate change, we’ve identified several key areas we should all be addressing in our day to day lives to help you get started. We hope you’ll find that becoming more environmentally friendly isn’t as difficult as you might think!
Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
Our homes contribute a large proportion of the UK’s overall carbon emissions – and it’s down to individuals to make a change to reduce their property’s environmental impact. Here are a few quick tips to reduce your home’s CO2 emissions, as well as lowering your energy bills:
- Invest in double glazing in your home
- Turn off all appliances (from the socket) when not in use
- Replace domestic and electrical equipment with energy efficient recommended models
- Insulate your home: loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, and simple draught excluders
More recently, Home Information Packs have been introduced in England and Wales, and within them, an energy performance certificate which gives your home an energy rating between A to H. This should make energy efficiency a more important factor to take into consideration when buying a home.
Make Your Lifestyle Greener
Everything we do in our day to day lives emits CO2 into the atmosphere. That means that even making small changes in what we do, or how we do it, can have a positive impact in preventing the onset of climate change. Collectively we can make a difference. Here are a few tips:
- Holidays: don’t fly, take a train or alternative transport method
- Shopping: minimise the number of shopping trips you take by planning ahead and writing a list
- Nightlife: walk to your local facilities rather than taking the car
- Sport: try cycling, walking or running to get from A to B
Change Your Habits At Work
Don’t leave your good environmental habits at home – take them into the office too. Take public transport to work or walk rather than take your car, or share car journeys with colleagues. Turn off appliances, equipment and lights off when you’ve finished using them, and, importantly, shut down your computer rather than just logging off. And for the things you can’t change – speak to the person who can to see if your employers have a green and environmental policy in place.
Eat less meat
According to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute, 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture. The release of methane and nitrous oxide (from manure, and urine from farmed animals) into the atmosphere are both contributory factors. Therefore, one of the most effective steps we can take is help combat climate change is to stop eating meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Educate Future Generations
Preventing climate change in the future is down to the actions and opinions of future generations – meaning now is the time to start educating our children about climate change and its effects. This can be done at school, by parents and every simply through leading by example. If you have children, get them involved in making your lives greener. Give them the responsibility to make sure lights and plugs are turned off in their rooms each time, get them involved in recycling and other green initiatives, rewarding them for their good work.
Get Involved In The Fight Against Climate Change
If you want to take your green ambitions to the next level, find out about climate change events, at a local and a national stage, which you’re interested in. There are plenty of fundraising and awareness-raising events you can get involved with, or simply sign your name on one of the many environmentally themed Downing Street petitions