Our climate is changing. Every time you travel by car, charge your mobile phone, switch on the TV, run the washing machine or do many other everyday activities, you leave a trail of carbon dioxide and other gases – basically you leave a carbon footprint. These emissions build up in the atmosphere, drive up temperatures, contribute to global warming and speed up climate change.
These gases, primarily carbon dioxide, are known as greenhouse gases as they trap the heat from the sun in our atmosphere leading to a rise in global temperature.
The effects of this have led to more extreme weather patterns with more storms, stronger winds, heavier rainfall and also more droughts.
Climate change is a serious problem with severe consequences. It is warming the oceans and melting the ice caps. Some countries are at risk from flooding as sea levels rise, yet others suffer from almost permanent drought. Climate change also affects our ability to grow crops to feed a growing global population. We all need to help in preventing further climate change.
Think about your carbon footprint!
A carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases – primarily carbon dioxide – released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity. We all have a carbon footprint, but everyone’s footprint will be different depending on individual lifestyle
Transport is the biggest source of carbon emissions – if we walk or cycle rather than use a car, train or bus and never use air travel, then our carbon footprint will be a lot smaller than someone who uses all these modes of transport.
A lack of effective insulation in our homes not only costs more in heating bills, it also adds to our carbon emissions and our carbon footprint.
How can we reduce our carbon footprint and help slow climate change? Some tips:
- Download our Autumn Challenge (below) and see how many activities you can complete?
- Drive electric or other more efficient vehicles (or make sure that your current vehicle is properly maintained).
- Take public transportation.
- Use energy-efficient appliances.
- Use a green energy supplier for your gas and electricity.
- Insulate your home effectively to reduce heating and air conditioning costs.
- Consider fitting solar panels which provide green electricity and can also provide hot water.
- Reduce electricity usage – turn off unneeded lights and avoid leaving computers and phones on charge unnecessarily.
- Consider having a shower rather than a bath – it can save the average family about £400 per year.
- Consume food, ideally locally produced, that doesn’t require as much transportation.
- Eat less meat and dairy – these have a higher carbon footprint than fruit and vegetables.
- Avoid wasting food – freeze your leftovers. Food waste causes about 3% of carbon emissions. It costs the average family about £600 per year.
- Minimise buying new clothes.
- Recycle more.
- Consider planting a tree in your garden – they sequester (lock in) carbon.
- Collect rainwater in a barrel to water your plants and save water.