Top ten tips on how to have a green home and reduce your impact on the planet.
If you want to put the planet at the heart of your Resolutions this year, and go green in 2019, here are 10 lifestyle actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint.
These top tips highlight ways to make your home more sustainable and are designed especially for those who are concerned about the impacts of climate change and want to make a difference.
Welcoming in a New Year is traditionally a time of hope and leaving behind bad habits so, rather than feeling overwhelmed by the scale of the problem of global warming, take action with these simple changes.
How do I start going green?
The most important thing, is the simplest. Talk to your friends and family about climate change. Raising awareness is a critical part of the transition to clean energy and leaving fossil fuels in the ground. Start a WhatsApp group - it's much easier to stay motivated when you can share your successes.
So here are One Home's top ten tips to help save the planet:
1. Buy and cook with as much seasonal, local food as possible and minimise those food air miles. Sprout and cabbage-lovers will be happy in January and there are a surprising number of other ingredients that are in season. Go to the BBC Food website for recipes and a seasonal food chart.
2. Commit to one community climate action per month. Hold a freecycle event where you can pass on second hand items rather than send them to landfill, share lifts to school or work, offer help to a local community garden or donate goods to charity shops.
3. Take fewer and shorter plane journeys. Be specific so you have a goal to work towards. For example, if you're planning a trip away at Easter, commit to going by train. Seat61 has some brilliant no-fly holiday ideas.
4. Go for a walk, get out in nature, recharge your batteries and explore the British countryside. The Ramblers, Britain's walking charity, can suggest winter walks near you via their website and cycling is another great way to get about, especially commuting to work by bike.
Insulate your home
5. Make simple changes in your home. Shut curtains from dawn until dusk to retain heat, keep a blanket by the sofa rather than reaching for the thermostat, set your thermostat to 19C. Check the insulation depth in your loft and if it's less than 27cm, top it up. You will really notice the difference to your home and your energy bill.
6. Test drive an electric car. Book an appointment at a garage and find out why people love them and why this technology is so much better for the planet and our health thanks to its zero tail pipe emissions and lower carbon footprint.
Reduce plastic pollution
7. Banish disposable plastic water bottles. This is easier than ever now thanks to the Refill app which enables people who are looking for water to find thousands of local businesses, cafes and public spaces where they can refill their reusable bottle for free.
8. Switch to green electricity. Your home will be powered with electricity from sustainable sources, such as wind and solar. It also means you are choosing a form of renewable electricity that has low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The switch takes about 20 minutes, costs you nothing and involves no paperwork or engineer call outs. Find a deal for you at www.bigcleanswitch.org
Speak up to save the planet
9. Most importantly, make your views heard. Politicians are far more likely to act if they know climate change is an important issue for their constituents. Write to your MP about your concerns. Even better, go to see them with a specific action you want to see taken. Write to local councillors too on environmental issues to encourage change at local level. Growing numbers of councils are declaring climate emergencies.
10. Easiest of all the steps is to stop waste. Wasting water, energy, food and stuff uses up precious resources and pollutes the planet. Buying things that you actually need rather than what is on sale or on trend is a good principle. Avoiding waste, saves you money, frees up time, avoids clutter and is good for the environment.
Act on climate change
There's a growing awareness of climate change and the urgent action we need to take. We want to do something which makes a difference, and the good news is that we can all make changes that have an impact and don't cost the earth.
For many, 2018 was a year in which the reality and immediate threat of climate change became clear following extreme weather events in the UK and around the world. An international report commissioned by the United Nations told us that time is running out for governments, businesses and communities across the globe to take urgent action to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Watch David Attenborough and President Obama discuss why it is so important to protect our One Home.
Going green is good for you
The most important thing is to act now. Talk about climate change with friends and family. Low carbon actions save you money in the long term and make our homes and surroundings more comfortable, so it's a winning choice for people and planet.
Use this year as an opportunity to do things differently, inspire hope and enjoy the benefits of a more sustainable lifestyle along the way.
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