What you can do to help tackle climate change
How big is your environmental footprint?
A great place to start is to work out how big your environmental footprint is. Use the WWF carbon footprint calculator to see WWF Footprint Calculator
What can I do to reduce my carbon footprint?
Make your home energy efficient
Find out how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your bills.
The Simple Energy Advice website has advice on ways to save energy, such as:
- insulating your loft and cavity walls
- draught-proofing windows and doors
- upgrading your boiler
- installing double glazing
- using alternative sources of energy, such as solar power
You can also find out if you're eligible for a home energy grant to help pay for things like loft and cavity wall insulation.
Use the Energy Efficiency Calculator for personalised advice on what you can do to cut your energy bills.
Walking and cycling
We all know the benefits of exercise, but for active travel - such as walking, running and cycling - the benefits also include
- it is a cheap form of transport;
- can help reduce congestion on the roads;
- can improve air quality;
- can reduce the number of cars on the roads, helping to tackle climate change
In South Ribble we have been working to provide residents and visitors with a range of safe and picturesque walking and cycling routes,to encourage physical activity and reduce reliance on cars.
Planting trees is just one way you can help. Trees provide carbon capture, provide shade to protect wildlife, protect riverbanks from erosion and promote biodiversity across the Borough. We are currently working towards our target of 110k trees being planted in the borough by 2025.
If you are fortunate enough to have a garden then growing your own fruit and veg offers a number of benefits -
- it can be grown organically, avoiding chemicals such as pesticides on your food
- it reduces your food miles to a few footsteps from the back door
- it provides great exercise
- the food grown is very fresh
- it reduces plastic food packaging
- many plants, such as nasturtiums and courgettes, have beautiful flowers so add colour and beauty to a garden
The BBC has been running a series called the edible gardener, showing how average sized gardens can be used for growing produce at home
If you are planning to grow your own, then it's a great opportunity to encourage wildlife into your garden at the same time.
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (more commonly known as JNCC), the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation.
The UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales) has a diverse mix of habitats and species for its small size (approximately 240,000 km2), with a marine area approximately 3.5 times the size of the land area. Some of these are of global significance, including:
- productive and varied seas which harbour globally significant numbers of fish, seabirds and sea mammals; and abundant and diverse wildlife along a great length of coastline comprising high cliffs and expanses of estuarine habitats which are of importance to a multitude of migrating birds.
- a wealth of terrestrial habitats including dunes, fens, grassland, heathland, and woodland, many of which are important areas for biodiversity, including important assemblages of mosses, liverworts, and lichens.
- an intricate web of freshwater habitats including rivers, lochs, freshwater lakes, waterfalls, coastal lagoons, reedbeds; the UK has approximately 13% of the world's blanket bog.
The JNCC reports that the impacts of climate change in the UK include -
- changes in abundance and distributions of species,
- changes in the timings of seasonal events and habitat use
- changes in the composition of plant and animal communities
- habitats and ecosystems are also likely to change character by, for example, showing altered water regimes, increased rates of decomposition in bogs and higher growth rates in forests.
A full copy of this summary report can be found at Biodiversity and Climate Change - a summary of impacts in the UK (jncc.gov.uk)
What can be done locally?
Whether you have a garden or a window box available, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has advice on what we can all be doing to make the most of these areas and help the local wildlife.
Collectively, private gardens in Britain cover about 270,000 ha (667,000 acres) so their potential as havens for wildlife is considerable. They provide food, shelter and breeding sites for a wide range of animals, which increases the interest and enjoyment of a garden.
A few small changes can make all the difference in attracting wildlife to the garden, including -
- choosing plants that provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and other insects - examples include hebes, buddleja, ice plants and marigolds. A full list of these plants, for planting throughout the year, can be found at RHS Plants for Pollinators - Garden plants
- growing a range of trees, shrubs and climbers, or a mixed hedge to provide food and shelter. The biodiversity found in the RHS our Urban Gardens project showed that larger plants, particularly trees, support more wildlife. As well as providing food, they provide cover and nesting sites for garden animals, from insects to larger species such as birds.
To protect the environment and eliminate waste the best methods of control are reduce, re-use and recycle.
To reduce waste use natural resources wisely. The less we purchase, the less energy is required to grow or manufacture these goods and transport them too.
Examples might include -
- turning off the tap whilst brushing your teeth
- using a water saving shower head (A range of water saving devices can be ordered free from United Utilities - United Utilities - Water saving devices )
- turning lights off when leaving a room
- and when it is safe to do so again, sharing a car journey to work, or walking or cycling instead
Materials can be re-used in their original form instead of throwing them away or passed on to others for them to make use of.
We're all now familiar with bags for life, which have largely replaced the single use plastic carrier bags.
Other examples include -
- donating unwanted clothes to charity shops
- using travel coffee mugs instead of single -use cups (though we know that's not always possible during pandemic restrictions)
Don't throw anything into your general waste bin if it can be recycled.
The Council offers residents the facilities to recycle garden waste (by subscription), paper cardboard, cans, foil, certain plastics and glass.
For details of what can be recycled see What goes in which bin? - South Ribble Borough Council
Consider your diet and how you shop
The committee on Climate Change (known as the CCC) advises the Government on climate change. The CCC have suggested measures that need to be taken in the UK to fight climate change. These measures include having more plant based meal options
The other consideration is how far your food has travelled before it gets to your kitchen - known as it's food miles.
As a general rule, the more local, seasonal produce we can buy - be that meat, dairy or salad, the less food miles it will have than an equivalent product that's been flown over continents to reach our plate.