25 ways to reduce your carbon and ecological footprint
You’ve heard about the climate and extinction crises. You probably want to do something in your own life. Here at the One Planet Centre we’ve been working on the most effective changes that you can make. We present them below, broken down into categories.
In the coming year, make a difference. Why not try checking one each day during the month of January? Then use the calculators at the bottom of this message to check your progress throughout the year.
1. If you haven’t already done so switch to a renewable energy supplier. The best are those who build their own renewable energy generators – most don’t. These are Good Energy and Ecotricity. It’s not necessarily more expensive.
2. Use less energy: switch things off when not used. Turn the heating down a couple of degrees. Try to do tasks with hand tools that use no energy, for example manual whisks and mixers when baking. Only fill the kettle with the water you need to boil now. Do your washing on a day you can hang it out to dry. Buy fewer gadgets that use energy & make sure they have the highest energy rating.
3. Make sure all your lights are LEDs.
4. Try to ensure your home has no draughts and as much insulation as possible to reduce heating costs. Whenever you do any maintenance work improve the energy efficiency at the same time.
5. Use materials made of wood or other products that have captured carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (which all plants do when they grow).
6. Don’t use materials made of plastic because these emitted carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when made.
Travel and transportation
7. Combine the purposes of car trips to minimise them. Try not to drive faster than 55 mph or brake & accelerate unnecessarily.
8. Try to walk, cycle & use public transport more. Perhaps use car sharing: a carpool or community-owned vehicle.
9. If you can, buy an electric vehicle: cycles, motorbikes, scooters, small cars and vans are now available.
10. Don’t fly. Plan trips with seat61.com; offset essential flights with solar-aid.org.
11. Try to reduce the amount of animal-based products you eat by having more days during the week when you do so.
12. Choose food with less packaging, that is fresh, seasonal and locally grown or processed if possible. Organic if you can afford it because this way of growing looks after the soil, and healthy soil is responsible for our very survival.
13. Try to grow some of your own food if you have a little space – even bean sprouts help!
14. Buy less; repair more; buy from charity shops and swop shops; exchange more.
15. When buying a new product, pause and think about the effect of its whole lifecycle – because everything that passes through your hands has a story. Its components might have been mined and processed using lots of energy, shipped lone distances while being assembled, and delivered to you. Or it might have been simply made using little energy, nearby, in which case its environmental & social impact will be less. After you finish with it will it go to landfill, is it recyclable, or can it be made into something else?
16. Whenever possible, buy from local suppliers – not chains or the internet – so your money is spent locally again, benefiting local jobs.
17. Fit spray taps that use less water, especially on hot taps and showerheads, to reduce the amount of hot water you use while retaining the same level of cleanliness.
18. Collect rainwater in butts for watering the garden.
19. Insulate all hot water pipes both to taps and radiators.
20. Try to avoid and reduce waste in the first place making sensible choices when you buy.
21. In this order trying to firstly reuse things, secondly repair them when broken, thirdly send them to recycling, and only if you can’t do any of these send them to landfill.
22. Especially ovoid single use plastic!
23. Grow vegetables, flowers, and fruit and nut trees whenever you can, inside and out, avoiding artificial chemicals.
24. Oh, pets – remember that cats kill birds and both cats and dogs might have a high ecological footprint when their food is factory-reared meat.
25. If you like animals, and can do so, keep bees and chickens – they give you affection and eggs!
Measure and check your progress!
Use this handy calculator:
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