1. Choose renewable energy
The Big Six energy companies – like British Gas and NPower – have a history of tax dodging, price-fixing and terrible customer service. Scandal after scandal comes out, yet millions of us still buy our gas and electricty from them.
We should turn our backs on the Big Six and choose a better energy company that only uses renewable energy. They are out there – energy companies who don’t dodge tax, don’t rip off customers, and don’t spend big money lobbying for weaker environmental laws. 38 Degrees are teaming up with energy switching specialists, The Big Deal, to switch away from the Big Six to better, cleaner – and cheaper – energy.
Would you like to be involved? Just click here to say you’re interested. You’re not committing to anything just yet – 38 Degrees will then bargain the best deal, then you choose whether you want to take it or not.
2. Insulate your home
Well insulated houses use less energy to keep them warm. This means that less carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere from burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). Simple.
3. Be energy efficient
You already switch off lights — what’s next? Change light bulbs to compact fluorescents or LEDs. Unplug computers, TVs and other electronics when not in use. Wash clothes in cold or warm (not hot) water. Dryers are energy hogs, so hang dry when you can. Install a programmable thermostat. Look for the Energy Rating label when buying new appliances.
4. Green your commute
Transportation causes about 21% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, so walk, cycle or take public transport whenever you can. You’ll save money and get into better shape! If you can’t go car-free, try carpooling or car sharing, and use the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle possible.
5. Eat wisely
Agriculture is a significant driver of climate change and causes 15% of all emissions, half of which are from livestock. Buy organic, seasonal, locally grown foods. Avoid processed items. Grow some of your own food. Try going vegetarian, like I have, or even better, go vegan! If that’s a step too far for now, try cutting out beef & lamb or cut down on your meat to once a week or at least one meat-free meal a day.
Each person who replaces beef and lamb with pork or chicken for a year saves 6 short-haul flights’ worth of CO2, says according to Climate Action Network
Food writer Michael Pollan sums it up best: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
6. Trim your waste and buy less ‘stuff’
Rubbish buried in landfills produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Keep stuff out of landfills by composting kitchen scraps and garden trimmings, and recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass. Let supermarkets and manufacturers know you want products with minimal or recyclable packaging.
Before you buy something new, have a think about whether you really need it. Do you need another pair of shoes when you have 57 pairs already? Don’t buy cheap tat. If you do need something, can you buy second hand. Or if you do have to buy new, pay a bit more to make sure it is good quality and will last, and that it has been produced in a sustainable way. Buying a pair of jeans? It’s just like buying food. Think organic. Think locally produced. I recommend Howies.
7. Make polluters pay
Carbon taxes make polluting activities more expensive and green solutions more affordable, allowing energy-efficient businesses and households to save money. They are one of the most effective ways to reduce our climate impact. Write to your MP and ask them to support a tax on carbon.
8. Fly less
Air travel leaves behind a huge carbon footprint. Before you book your next airline ticket, consider greener options such as buses or trains, or try vacationing closer to home. In the business world, you can arrange meetings with people by videoconferencing / webinars, which saves time as well as travel and accommodation costs.
9. Get informed & get involved
Take a few minutes to contact your MPs and councillors and the media to tell them the action you want on climate change. Remind them that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also build healthier communities, spur economic innovation and create new jobs. And next time you’re at the polls, vote for politicians who support effective climate policies.
10. Support and Donate
Many organizations are working hard on solutions to climate change and rely on financial support from citizens like us. Consider making a regular or one-off donation.