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Green Great Britain Week blog series: Change is in the air

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Angela Terry, One Home.

As part of Green Great Britain Week, we’re celebrating leadership and action in Bristol and the South West to tackle climate change and drive clean growth in the UK.

Friday’s theme is ‘Climate action in communities’. Angela Terry, founder of One Home, shares her tops tips for taking action on climate change. One Home is a not-for-profit website to enable and encourage climate action by providing independent and impartial advice. It provides practical solutions on all things green as well as simple guides on mitigation and adaptation.

On Monday the 8th of October the IPCC’s special report on 1.5C of warming was released and two crucial things changed. Firstly, the window for staying within ‘safe’ limits of warming is rapidly reducing. The IPCC said oil needed to peak by 2020 – just over a year away and global warming of 1.5C could be reached as early as 2030. Secondly, the mainstream media responded to this news with surprisingly extensive coverage, which subsequently reached a significant proportion of the population.

Consumers want action on climate change

While we basked in one of the hottest summers on record, it seems the soaring temperatures, wildfires and super storms have heightened the public’s concerns about the impacts of global warming. This is also the message we are hearing from a number of public surveys released in recent months.

One of the most compelling pieces of research was carried out by environmental law organisation Client Earth which showed that people want urgent action on climate change and they want to take action themselves. For example, 62 per cent would install solar in their home if more assistance was available. Another survey found that sustainability was becoming more important than price amongst supermarket shoppers.

This groundswell of public opinion is exactly what is needed to make change happen. All climate actions, however small, are important. That’s why ‘Climate action in communities’ day as part of Great Britain Green Week should be a source of inspiration. By sharing what is being done at an individual, community and grass roots level, we can make bigger changes happen.

We all share one home. Let’s make it a better place.

Top 5 tips to combat climate change

For many of us, climate change weighs heavily and it can be confusing to get to grips with what we, as individuals, can do to help tackle it. Therefore, One Home has put together five climate actions that get right to the heart of fixing the world’s biggest problem.

1.Choose Green Electricity

Power your home with a green energy supplier. Making the switch means your home will be powered with electricity from sustainable sources, such as wind and solar. By supporting green energy, you’re enabling further investment into technologies that support a more sustainable energy system. The switch takes about 20 minutes, costs you nothing and involves no paper work or engineer call outs.

For people who are able to invest in their own renewable energy sources, solar is the one to choose. Generating electricity from the sun is free if you install solar panels on your roof. These cost from £5,000 and can pay back within ten years if you use a lot of the power at home, offering a better return than money sat in a bank. Solar power subsidies close for registration in April 2019 so now is the time to act. Find an accredited installer near you here.

2. Eat less meat 

The production of red meat, and processed meat in particular, consumes a lot of energy and has a significant impact on the environment. If turning vegetarian seems a step too far, try ‘Meat Free Mondays’ which is just one day a week when you choose to eat a plant-based diet. Go to https://www.meatfreemondays.com/recipes/ to get inspired to make delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes.

3. Holiday close to home to protect our one home

Choose amazing holiday experiences and enjoy all the benefits of flight-free trips – no queues, germs or jetlag. A family of four driving from Bristol to Cornwall produces 92 kg of CO2 for a return trip versus 2,720kg for a flight from London to Orlando, Florida. If you wish to travel beyond the UK, ferry routes to mainland Europe and the Eurostar offer a gateway to many fantastic destinations and are a great alternative to flying. Take a look at this Guardian article for inspiration.

4. Climate actions in the home

Insulate your home and cut out drafts. This simple low-cost action will mean your home is more comfortable in winter, heating bills are lower and lower carbon emissions. Insulation has the biggest impact on energy conservation in the home and measures that can make a big difference including topping up your loft insulation to 27cm, draft proofing windows and doors, using a smart thermostat set at 19C and installing thermal curtains. The payback for these measures is often two to three years but the insulation can last for twenty years or more so these measures are well worth doing. Or get in touch with the Cold Homes Energy Efficiency Survey Experts (CHEESE) Project, a Bristol-based not-for-profit community enterprise that aims to reduce domestic energy losses, at low cost, through their thermal-imaging surveys which identify where your home is losing heat.

5. Plug in not pump in

Switch to an electric vehicle (EV). Sales of alternatively fuelled cars such as electric and plug-in hybrids grew by 23 per cent in August compared to the same period in 2017.. An EV is cheaper to run than a diesel or petrol car and there are no tail-pipe emissions so the quality of the air we breathe improves. Bristol’s NextGreenCar provides a comprehensive guide to models on the market and the different types of EV that are available. A Government grant is available toward the cost of new all-electric cars.

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