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Daily Actions for Climate Change



DAILY ACTIONS 
FOR CLIMATE CHANGE
As we all become aware of the urgency of taking action to address climate change and global warming, people are asking what can I DO practically to help the planet. Here's a list of things that not only help the environment but also save time, money and energy.


Click here to download this article as a PDF


General Principles of Eco-Friendly Actions

·      Do What You Can Do – we all have unique individual circumstances and are subject to different socio-economic systems depending on our locality eg: rural areas are less likely to be well served by public transport than cities.  Some eco-friendly options are not yet widely available and/or affordable.  It’s more important to focus on what we can do than what we can’t. If we each choose just a few achievable daily actions, together it adds up and makes a difference.

·      We’re all in it together - it’s a waste of time and energy to compete and make divisive judgements about lifestyle choices.  Better rather to be the change, encourage each other and remember that we are all doing our best to make changes whilst living in a society that is currently running unsustainably.

·      Make Do and Mend – it’s often more creative and less costly to our purses and the planet to make or mend something – eg A big home-made pot of soup can feed a family for several days, and will cost less in money and packaging than individual portions.

·      Recycle & Reuse - many items can be cost effectively reused or recycled either via schemes or amongst our own social networks.

·      Share & Circulate – keeping objects and energy moving makes social and economic sense – eg swop books with a friend, offer a neighbour a lift.

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·      Consume Mindfully – regularly asking the question do I really need this? can really help cut consumption. As the song goes, we may not get what we want (short term gratification) but we get what we need (a healthier self, society, planet)




“The one thing we all have to do is simply not to waste.

 Don’t waste plastic. Don’t waste food. Don’t waste power.

Live within our means without inflicting damage on our planet.”Sir David Attenborough



Energy Supply Facts
·      C02 makes up 82% of greenhouse gases emissions in the UK

·      Energy supply and power stations are the largest cause of C02 emissions.

·      In 2018 the total UK C02 emissions was 43.5% less than 1990 and 2.5% less than 2017. This is due to the decline in emissions from power stations (9.9% less than 2017) and the movement away from coal and towards renewables.

·      C02 emissions from the use of fossil fuels has fallen by 38% since 1990 and consumption by 22%. 

·      Use of coal for energy generation has dropped by 65% since 1990.  Emissions for electricity generated by coal are nearly twice as high as electricity generated by gas. 

·      Nuclear and renewable forms (low carbon usage) generated 47% of electricity generation in 2018, an increase of 20% since 1990.

·      There was also a 2.6% decrease between 2017 and 2018 in transport emission due to changes in traffic volume or improvement in fuel efficiency

·      In 2018 there was increase in residential emissions due to colder winters. The residential sector accounted for 18% of carbon emissions which is mainly the use of gas for heating and cooking.

Ideas to reduce househould energy consumption

·      Support campaigns to increase renewables and devolve away from fossil fuels, nuclear power and fracking.

·      Use sustainable energy providers eg - Ecotricity

·      Make sure your home is well insulated to keep fuel usage and bills down*

·      Make sure your boiler is running efficiently and has good heating controls *

·      Avoid heating empty spaces – eg corridors/ spare rooms.*

·      Make use of your council’s energy advice service or organisations like Heat London * which offer grants to help make your home more energy efficient.

·      Use a smart thermostat

·      Choose energy-efficient appliances – eg check your fridge / freezer uses environmentally friendly refrigerant.

·      Check out the ethics of brands and suppliers at The Good Shopping Guide

·      Turn off radios, TVs, lights, computers, plug sockets when not in use.

·      Use LED and energy saving lightbulbs and use natural light wherever possible.

·      Let hair dry naturally instead of using a drier.

·      Install solar panels / a wind farm!

·      Wash laundry on eco settings - uses less time, water and energy.

·      Dry washing on a line not in the drier.

·      Repair electronic appliances before you bin

·      Recycle electronic appliances via friends, online schemes or local waste depots

·      Don't upgrade your phone until necessary

·      Switch off/ put your phone on airplane when not in use

·      Recycle/ recharge batteries

·      Refill print cartridges

·      Unplug and go for a walk

*Thanks to Malcolm Bell, Energy Officer at Croydon Council for these ideas


Money

Money is energy and investing in green suppliers and financers helps grow a more sustainable economy - thanks to Rebecca Trevalyan at Library of Things for these ideas:

·      Move your money to a bank that invests in businesses with environmental/ community impact eg. Triodos, Ecology Building Society

·      Try your hand at green investment through platforms like Abundance, Ethex

·      Switch your pension to a green scheme recommended by ShareAction
·      Look up your local council / university - if they don’t have a fossil fuel divestment commitment, write to them or join a campaign





Transport

·      In 2018, the transport sector accounted for 33% of UK C02 emissions.  The largest contributor is road transport. 

·      Across Europe, transport accounts for about 25% emissions and is the main cause of air pollution in cities, road transport accounts for 70% of this. 


Ideas for Reducing Road Transport Usage

·      Walk, run, cycle instead of using transport

·      Walk to pick up shopping or take-aways instead of getting deliveries.

·      Write to your council and ask for more safe cycle/walking routes

·      Use public transport instead of driving

·      Lift share

·      Use a car-pool service – such as Street Car.

·      Use an electric car

·      Use biofuels or fuel additives in the car

·      Drive efficiently - combine multiple errands into one trip

·      Shopping online – can decrease the number of shoppers on the road because items are delivered in bulk.  Ordering multiple items from one place and opting for standard rather than next day delivery reduces transportation and costs.


Aviation

·      European flight rose by 80% between 1990-2014 and are anticipated to rise by a further 45% from 2014-2035, resulting in the same rises in percentages of C02 emissions.

·      Due to technological advances, fleet renewal, increased Air Traffic Management efficiency and the 2008 economic downturn, the number of flights, emissions and noise exposure in 2014 are at the same levels as 2005.
·      Fuel – aviation accounts for 2% of global carbon emissions and 20% of global oil consumption. The first flight on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) – the use of biofuels- took place in 2008 and was approved for commercial flights in 2011.  NASA estimates use of 50% aviation biofuel use could cut air pollution by 50-70%
·      In addition to C02, aviation emits air pollutants which are damaging to human health, agriculture and wildlife.

·      Exposure to noise pollution has been shown to impact sleep, cardiac health and stress levels. Technological developments and noise pollution regulation can help reduce airplane noise pollution.

Ways to make air travel more eco-friendly

·      Take a train or a boat instead of a plane where possible - eg internal or intercity flights.

·      Fly with an airline with a transparent environmental policy including - using SAF, recycling waste, limiting single use plastics, carbon offsetting and reducing noise pollution.

·      Carry less luggage - this reduces the weight of the plane and the fuel used.



Domestic & Household Waste Facts
·      Household waste accounts for 12% of the UK’s waste.

·      By 2016, 48.5% of household waste was recycled and 24.4% was disposed in landfill.

·      In 2017, 70% of packaging waste was recycled or recovered – this includes metal, paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and wood.

·      Biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) is waste that decomposes in landfill, emitting methane gases, including food and green waste, paper and cardboard.

·      In 1950, the global population 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic.  In 2016 more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is expected to double by 2034.


Ideas for Reducing Household Waste

·      Recycle using your councils recycling scheme

·      Repair items before binning

·      Refill food, cleaning products and toiletry containers at local reuse stores / health shops – my local favourites include The Store Cupboard & Roots & Cycles in Crystal Palace Food Market. A UK wide list is available here: -https://thezerowaster.com/zero-waste-near-you/

·      Give your jam jars to people who make jam
·      Share/ borrow items that are seldom used rather than buying new - eg garden equipment etc.  Use or create a local Library of Things.

·      Make agreements about gift giving with family at birthdays and Christmas to avoid buying more stuff that no one wants.

Ideas for Reducing Plastic Waste

·      Carry a cloth/ recyclable bag instead of using plastic bags

·      Reuse plastic bags multiple times and recycle them at your supermarket

·      Pick up, bin and recycle plastic litter - do a community litter pick

·      Carry a portable water bottle, cup & cutlery to avoid using single use takeaways

·      Avoid single-use / disposable items - eg razors, nappies etc

·      Boycott/ lobby the leading brands in plastic packaging – a Greenpeace & Break Free From Plastic audit of a plastic cleanup of 187,000 items across 42 countries found that Coca Cola, Pepsi and Nestle are the top 3 and generate 14% of ocean litter. 


Toiletries

·      Use soap/ shampoo bars instead of products in plastic bottles – available from Lush or your local health shop.

·      Make home-made toiletries from natural products

·      Avoid products containing harmful, polluting chemicals such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & Parabens

·      Choose fairtrade/ organic/ human friendly brands which don't test on animals


Menstruation

·      The average woman uses 11,000 menstrual products in a lifetime - approx 200kg of products which are thrown away.

·      Most pads are 90% plastic and the average packet of sanitary pads contains the equivalent of 4 plastic bags.

·      Many sanitary products contain harmful, pollutant perfumes and chemicals.

·      Menstrual products are the 5th most common piece of litter found on European beaches.



Eco-Friendly Menstruation

·      Bin, don’t flush menstrual products.

·      Use reusable sanitary products - cloth pads or menstrual cups

·      Use cotton, plastic free options like Natracare


Ideas for Eco-Friendly Household Chemicals/ Maintenance

·      Use eco-friendly cleaning products such as white vinegar or bicarb

·      When decorating or making home improvements use eco-friendly materials - eg paint, cement etc

·      Re-use and share materials

·      Ask DIY stores for off-cuts or products that are being rebranded but are still usable.



Trees and Forest Facts

·      Forests cover 31% of the planet – providing important habitats for wildlife and people and helping to prevent flooding and soil erosion.

·      Forests absorb C02, using the sugars from carbon for growth and releasing 02 back into the air.  A young tree eats 13lb C02 per year growing to 48lbs aged 10 years. Every tree produces enough oxygen for 3 people to breathe.

·      Sustainable use of wood can be an alternative energy source to fossil fuels.

·      13.2 million people are employed in the forest sector and another 41 million have jobs in related sectors.

·      Over half the world’s forests have been cleared over 10,000 years, mostly within the last 50 years.

·      The planet loses 18.7 million hectares of forest per year which is about the size of Panama and the equivalent of 27 football fields per minute.

·      About 17% of the Amazon Forest has been lost in the last 50 years.

·      20% of greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation.

·      Wildlife is being destroyed at the rate of 137 animal, plant and insect species per day, 50,000 per year.

·      Causes of deforestation include mining, paper production, urban and housing development, agriculture, logging, cattle ranching.

·      Deforestation causes increased C02 emissions, loss of species, acidic oceans, flooding, erosion, loss of habitat and employment.

·      The Environmental Paper Network say 640 million trees worth of paper is thrown away annually.  If we recycled we would save 27.5 million tonnes of C02 emissions.

·      Recycling 1 ton of paper saves around 682.5 gallons of oil, 26,500 litres of water and 17 trees.

·      Scientistshave found that global reforestation of 11% of all land (1.7bn hectares of treeless land) could remove two-thirds of all the emissions from human activity.  It would take 50-100 years of tree growth for this to become fully effective.


Ideas for reducing your paper footprint

·      Only print/ photocopy when necessary

·      Use email for paperwork

·      Use phone apps for tickets/ loyalty schemes,

·      Opt for paper-free online bank statements, utility bills, newsletters, catalogues.

·      Save and reuse envelopes and Jiffy bags

·      Shred and recycle paperwork

·      Reuse scrap paper for shopping lists, notes, journaling, children’s drawing.

·      Return junk mail to senders requesting they stop sending unsolicited mail and save trees.

·      Use recycled paper, envelopes, cardboard and loo roll.

·      Read books, magazines and newspapers online or at the library.

·      Buy books second hand from charity shops or swop with friends.

·      Use recycled boxes from supermarkets when moving house

·      Recycle and reuse cards and gift wrap.


Ideas for Boosting Tree Life and Green Spaces

·      Plant a tree or support tree planting charities

·      Dedicate a tree/s to a loved one via the Woodland Trust

·      A tree is for life not just for Christmas - decorate the real tree in your garden / street or make a Christmas tree from fallen branches instead of chopping one down.  Buy a tree with roots and plant it after Christmas.

·      Garden - cultivate your own, join a community garden, become a guerrilla gardener

·      Plant wildflowers to encourage bees and butterflies

·      Plant more bamboo - it's a superstar carbon muncher

·      Put a bird feeder/ bee/ insect house in your garden

·      Grow your own food and share the goodies.

·      Grow a garden on your roof/ balcony/ drive/ verge

·      Avoid use of harmful pesticides and insecticides

·      Visit, protect and act mindfully towards local green spaces and parks (don't litter)

·      Turn into a tree when you die - there are lots of eco-friendly funeral options including using your ashes to grow a tree!




Food Facts

·      It takes large amounts of water to produce food and drink – 100 buckets of water are required to produce just one loaf of bread.

·      The estimated area of land required to produce food thrown away by UK households is 19,000 square kilometres.

·      Reducing food waste would save the equivalent of at least 17m tonnes of carbon dioxide – the environmental equivalent of taking 1:5 cars off UK roads.

·      Recent reports show that 2.2 million people in the UK experience food insecurity and Unicef cite 1:5 youngsters under 15 live in a food insecure home.

·      Whilst on a global scale, the Global Hunger Index indicates gradual progress is being made to reduce hunger. However extreme events including climate disaster means that global hunger has risen.
·      Meat and dairy farming has a high carbon footprint.  Livestock farming generates 18% of greenhouse gas emissions and is a major contributor to water and air pollution.  Industrial agriculture and overfishing are one of the prime drivers of the extinction crisis.  Feeding cattle requires huge amounts of grain and accounts for a third of all arable land. Decline in land quality and soil erosion is caused by overgrazing.  Cattle ranching accounts for 80% of deforestation of the Amazon.

Ways to Eat Eco-Friendly

·      Compost food /green waste in your garden or council waste collection scheme

·      Reduce food waste by meal planning, freezing and reusing left overs

·      Support foodbanks and food waste charities and schemes

·      Use a veg box scheme eg Abel & Cole

·      Make written and verbal requests of supermarkets, shops, restaurants, take-aways to reduce food packaging and waste. 

·      Put packed lunches/ refrigerated food in a box rather than plastic bags/ cling film.

·      Cook at home using good quality fruit and veg, boosting your health and reducing the packaging and transportation of processed and take-away food.

·      Shop fair trade and organic where possible

·      Shop at your local market or greengrocer - to reduce food transportation.

·      Explore vegan/ vegetarian options



Water Facts

·      In 2018, a single member household used an average of 54 cubic meters per year in the UK.  On average each person uses 141 litres of water per day.

·      A bath uses the highest amount of water - 81 litres, compared to a shower - 46 litres.

·      A washing machine cycle takes an average of 56 litres, dishwasher 24 litres and toilet flush 7.5 litres of water.

·      Customers with water meters use on average 133 litres per day compared to 167 litres without a meter.

·      According to WaterAid783 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in ten of the world's population. 5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, almost two fifths of the world's population. Around 700,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation - that's almost 2,000 children a day.

·      Approx 8 million pieces of plastic pollution enter our oceans daily.

·      Plastics account for 60- 90% of all marine litter.

·      Over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.

·      100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually. Marine plastic pollution has been found in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabirds.

·      Oceans have become 30% more acidic due to increased C02 emissions, putting many species at risk.


Ways to be mindful about water usage and pollution:

·      Install a free water meter and save money on your water bills

·      Use free water saving gadgets - eg shower heads - available from Thames Water

·      Take short showers instead of baths

·      Only use dishwashers/ washing machines for a full load

·      Don't leave the tap running whilst brushing teeth/ washing up

·      Don’t run the tap before filling a glass - it’s a myth that it needs to run clean.

·      Only use as much water as needed when filling the kettle or washing up.

·      Use a dual flush / water-saving gadget in the loo

·      Recycle bath/shower water to water the garden

·      Collect and use rain water on the garden

·      Be mindful not to litter the ocean/river/ beach

·      Support ocean/ river cleaning schemes

·      Support WaterAidto help bring lifesaving clean water and sanitation to those in need around the world.



Fashion Industry Facts

·      The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of the global carbon footprint and is the second greatest global polluter after the oil industry.

·      Every year the world consumes 80 billion items of clothing

·      In 2013 of 15.1 million tonnes of textile waste, 12.8 million tonnes was discarded.

·      The fashion industry generates 20% of global waste water

·      Textile clothing that ends up in landfill leaches chemicals into the ground.

·      Synthetic textiles such as polyester are made from fossil fuels and are non-biodegradable.  When washed, these textiles shed microplastics into our water supply and oceans.

·      The cotton industry uses 24% of global insecticides and 11% of pesticides. Using recycled cotton saves 20,000 litres of water per kg of cotton.

·      15% of fabric ends up on the cutting room floor.

·      The rights and working conditions of garment makers are described as slave labour in manufacturing countries across Asia.  Many workers do not receive a living wage and work 14-16 hour days, 7 days a week. They are exposed to toxic chemicals in unsafe buildings and face verbal and physical abuse.  Workers Unions are forbidden.  80% of workers are women.  Child labour is widespread.

·      The average consumer throws away 70 lbs of clothing and shoes annually.  Only 15% of consumer clothing is recycled, compared to 75% of pre-used manufacturing clothing.

·      Consumers in the UK have an estimated $46.7 billion worth of unworn clothes in their wardrobes. 

·      The average lifespan of a piece of clothing is 3 years. If this was extended by just 3 months per item it would reduce carbon and water footprints by 5-10%.

·      70% of the global population use second hand clothing

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·      Nearly 50% of used clothing is given to charity shops.


Ideas for reducing clothing waste and consumption

·      Avoid putting clothing in landfill

·      Buy/ give clothes to/from charity shops

·      Swap clothes with friends or local clothes swap shop/scheme

·      Use your council clothes, textiles and shoes recycling scheme

·      Upcycle and refashion old clothes and textiles

·      Sew, knit, darn, make and mend clothes
·      Turn old clothes into cleaning rags
·      Reduce use of synthetic textiles

·      Call on fashion brands to act ethically over waste and labour conditions

·      Find ethical brands which have a transparent environmental policy and fair working conditions for labourers - eg: Ethical Superstore

Ideas for Addressing Climate Change in the Workplace

·      Involve everyone in discussing and setting sustainability and CSR goals and policies

·      Calculate the workplace carbon footprint, set a carbon neutral target and invest in carbon offsetting

·      Have a clear recycling policy for all workplace waste

·      Have a no-print policy for paperwork and emails

·      Recycle office furniture and electronics - donate to schools, hospitals or schemes

·      Use human and eco-friendly chemicals

·      Reduce use of product packaging and single use plastics.

·      Encourage everyone to bring their own coffee cup rather than using disposables

·      Sustainable use of transport – eg have a cycle rack at work, encourage lift sharing or carpools, reduce transportation where possible.

·      Create a workplace garden (could be on the roof /side of the building) and/or sponsor a local community garden

·      Run a workplace choir to build a sense of connection and community

·      Contribute to environmental charities and organise workplace fundraisers

·      Turn off lights, appliances, equipment when not in use especially overnight.


Community Action

·      Be neighbourly and share resources - social isolation has more impact on our health than smoking and drinking - so you are helping keep people happy and out of hospital by being friendly!

·      Build community networks - resilient communities are better placed to support each other and be resourceful during climate change

·      Get involved in your local Transition Town Network or local environmental group to tackle community issues together – eg doing a community clean up



Global Actions


Climate Justice


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·      Colonisation, slavery, plunder and industrialisation by white Western patriarchal societies has created gross global socio-economic inequality and lasting environmental damage.  To give just one example, Africa produces 75% of all the cocoa in the world, yet only receives 2% of the $100 billion revenue from the chocolate industry.

·      The brunt of climate change is carried by BAME, women, low income communities and developing countries.  Climate disasters hit harder and with more impact on communities in the Global South.
·      In cities, BAME and low income communities experience higher rates of noise, transport and industrial pollution and are excluded from decisions which impact their living environment.  Poor housing, inadequate healthcare, less access to green spaces and social facilities reduce the ability of these communities to cope with climate change.

·      The territories of indigenous peoples are continually invaded and destroyed by mining, pipelines and deforestation.

·      Slave labour, child labour, violent and unethical working conditions exist in many of the western industries responsible for environmental pollution and damage.

·      Women face exclusion or reduced access to healthcare, education, political power, earning capacity and career opportunities. Two thirds of the worlds illiterate are women. In Africa, women produce 90% of basic foods whilst earning 1% of arable land.  In areas of water scarcity, women are responsible for 70% of water chores.

Ways to take action globally

·      Support environment charities - eg Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace

·      Support schemes that are acting to protect endangered species - eg WWF

·      Support global reforestation NGOs and charities eg those working in the Amazon

·      Support, donate or volunteer on relief schemes/ NGOs and charities working in areas impacted by climate change after natural disasters particularly in the Global South

·      Support the land rights of indigenous peoples

·      Support the movement for climate justice

·      Support the education and empowerment of women worldwide - an increase in education is accompanied by reduced birth rates and less population growth.  Plan International and The Circle are working to empower women and girls worldwide.



Raise your voice

·      Talk and discuss issues with friends, family and colleagues

·      Sign petitions about the environment/ climate change

·      Write to your MP

·      Protest Peacefully – Extinction Rebellion/ Global Climate Strike

·      Use social media to spread the word and share ideas and inspiration.

·      Sing!


Kids and Schools

·      Educate and be educated by your children

·      Encourage and support climate friendly action in schools – eg recycling school waste

·      Encourage outdoor learning and play for yourself and your children - Forest Schools have lots of resources.

·      Encourage children to learn to garden and grow their own food at school

·      Be inspired and moved to take care of the future for our children and grandchildren.





Written by

Katie Rose October 2019

www.therosewindow.org


Links

UK statistics on Greenhouse Emissions

Europe Transport Stats

European Aviation

UK Waste

Environmental Impact of Meat Production

Deforestation

Fashion Industry Waste Statistics

Report on women, gender equality and climate justice

Ghana Business

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