It’s the middle of Energy Saving Week and the Energy Saving Trust has come up with a range of themes to encourage people to reduce their energy consumption by 20%. The Trust is government and private sector funded and the website features calculators, space for comment and plenty of contact details, yet Combat Climate Change think that the event has attracted little attention and relatively few people have pledged to reduce energy usage. The latter organisation offers a no-nonsense approach to climate change information, and thinks that whether climate change concerns are real or not, we can all do our bit to improve the world we live in. They also suggest that if we switched to low-energy bulbs we could save £1.5 billion annually and reduce CO2 emissions by more than 7.6 million tonnes.
The National Energy Foundation also have a set of web pages entitled ‘Let’s reverse climate change’ where you can ‘learn about climate change and cut your Carbon (CO2) emissions.’ All of the above pages contain information on how to save energy and contain tips for individuals as well as organisations on the little things that make a difference.
While I’m talking about positive things we can do, the UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has conducted a Life Cycle Analysis which evaluated ‘the environmental impacts of recycling compared to incineration or landfilling for seven of the most commonly recycled materials.’ The summary of this work can be found here, and states that ‘The UK’s current recycling of those materials saves between 10-15 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year compared to applying the current mix of landfill and incineration with energy recovery to the same materials. This is equivalent to about 10% of the annual CO2 emissions from the transport sector, and equates to taking 3.5 million cars off UK roads.’
…And then there’s Freecycle, a global community of people trying to give things away rather than commit them to landfill, currently with 3,996,000 members in 4143 groups around the world. You join a group, post an ad for something you don’t want any more and someone who does want it collects it from you.
The above image was produced as part of a set to illustrate a quantity of something over a period of time, and to give more meaning to statistics; in this case the 60,000 plastic bags used in the US every five seconds. It’s really worth a look.
There really is no excuse for not doing something… anything. We’re causing climate change and could do something about it if we cared enough, or could be bothered… regardless of what everyone else is doing.