Knowing where to get started on your sustainability journey can be tricky, so here are some of the best ways to make a difference.
Know your carbon footprint
You can’t solve a problem without understanding what causes it. The first thing you should do to support CN28 is to understand your environmental footprint. By answering a few, simple questions, tools such as the WWF Footprint Calculator can help you understand where you most need to make changes.
It’s easy to feel your actions are insignificant, but we really can’t reduce the city’s emissions without everyone getting involved. Feel powerful and know you really can make a difference!
The carbon emissions from our everyday journeys as well as those occasional trips away all add up. Reducing the number of miles we drive is one of the most effective ways to reduce our carbon footprints. Living car free can save around two tonnes of carbon per year alone. Where possible walk, cycle, or use public transport.
There are loads of brilliant places you can visit close to home. Try travelling abroad by train or ferry rather than by plane. Research suggests that you should try to avoid flying short-haul more than once every three years or every eight years for a long-haul flight. If you do fly, stay for longer to make the most of your holiday abroad!
Make your home more efficient
Latest figures show 35% of Nottingham’s emissions are produced by the way we use energy to heat and power our homes. Whether you own or rent your home, there are things you can do to help keep energy use - and bills – as low as possible.
Switching to renewable power and heating sources is most effective, but improving the insulation of your home can also have a significant impact. Finding draughts and sealing them up can help reduce the need for heat and make you feel more comfortable. Choosing more efficient items like appliances and lightbulbs will also save you energy and money on bills.
Eat for the planet
Estimates vary, but on average, you could cut your carbon footprint by 20% by switching from a meat-based to a plant-based diet. Studies have also found that if every family in the UK swapped out a red meat-based meal for a plant-based alternative just once a week, the environmental impact would be equivalent to taking 16 million cars off the road.
Regardless of what you eat, avoiding food waste is hugely impactful. Take care not to over-buy, over-serve and keep an eye on use by dates.
Buy less stuff
Everything you buy has a carbon footprint. From clothes to electricals, reducing what you buy and reusing what you have is so important. Even when items are labelled as ‘eco’ or ‘sustainable’, the most sustainable option is to buy less. Rather than buying new, why not try to buy second-hand? There are lots of bargains to be found in charity shops or sites like eBay or Gumtree.
When an item comes to the end of its useable life, recycle it where possible. But remember, whilst there are lots of very good reasons to recycle, such as helping to limit waste and keep where we live clean and tidy, the carbon savings from recycling are low, so it shouldn’t be used to justify excess.
Talk about climate change
Talk to others about climate change, at work, school or with friends and family. This helps raise awareness and encourages others to take action too. Each climate change conversation you have with those around you shows that it’s an important issue to someone they care about. Talking also helps share ideas and shines a light on the actions people are taking.
You can also use your voice to show support for leaders who are committed to action on climate change and to back projects that will help address sustainability challenges.
The small actions all add up, so no matter where you start on your carbon reduction journey everything is worthwhile.
Want to get involved in with a group? Take a look at some of the opportunities available in Nottingham.