Climate change: We need to change our lifestyle

by | 14 January 2022 | Community Focus, Environment, Group meeting, Sherwood, Wildlife

We need to be prepared to change the way we travel, eat, what we buy, how we live and what we do if we hope to achieve the level of reductions in emissions we need to see. Everyone can help limit climate change and tackle the climate crisis, and we can make a difference. Starting with the following actions:

Save energy at home

Much of our electricity and heat is powered by coal, oil and gas. We must all start to use less energy by lowering heating and cooling. We need to switch off appliances and lights that we are not using and switch to LED light bulbs and energy-efficient electric appliances. Consider washing laundry with cold water or at a cooler temperature and hanging things up to dry instead of using a dryer.

Change your home’s source of energy

In addition to reducing energy consumption in the house we should ask our utility company if our home energy comes from oil, coal or gas. If possible, switch to renewable sources such as wind or solar, or install solar panels on your roof to generate energy for your home. Alternatively, investigate the installation of a heat pump. Ministers have announced plans for £5,000 grants to allow people to install home heat pumps and other low-carbon boiler replacements as part of a wider heat and buildings strategy.

Walk, cycle or take public transport

Too often people idle in traffic jams or outside school etc waiting for the traffic to move or someone to come out, all the time they are pouring emissions into the atmosphere. Walking or riding a bike instead of driving will reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and help your health and fitness. For longer distances, consider taking a train or bus. And carpool whenever possible.

Eat more vegetables

Eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and less meat and dairy, can significantly lower your environmental impact. Producing plant-based foods generally results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions and requires less energy, land and water than meat. You don’t have to go vegetarian or vegan to make a difference: cut down gradually and become a ‘flexitarian’. By reducing your consumption of animal protein by half, you can cut your diet’s carbon footprint by more than 40%.

Look at your travel

Aeroplanes burn large amounts of fossil fuels, producing significant greenhouse gas emissions. That makes taking fewer flights one of the fastest ways to reduce your environmental impact. Conduct meetings online where possible, take a train or skip that long-distance trip altogether. Have a staycation or stay within the UK for your holiday instead of flying abroad.

Waste less food

When you throw food away, you’re also wasting the resources and energy that were used to grow, produce, package and transport it. And when food is left to rot in a landfill, it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. So use what you buy and compost any leftovers or make use of them in the meal for the following day. It’s amazing how inventive you can be with your menus.

Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle

Electronics, clothes and other items we buy cause carbon emissions at each point in production, from the extraction of raw materials to manufacturing and transporting goods to market. To protect our climate, buy fewer things, shop second-hand, repair what you can and recycle.

Switch to an electric vehicle

If you plan on buying a car, consider going electric, with more and cheaper models coming on the market. Even if they still run on electricity produced from fossil fuels, electric cars help reduce air pollution and cause significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions than petrol or diesel-powered vehicles.
For more information about Sherwood Forest Friends of the Earth, we’re on Facebook at: Sherwood Forest FoE, or email sffofe@btinternet.com.

Pauline Meechan
Sherwood Forest Friends of the Earth