Live More Sustainably, and Help to
Combat Climate Change
1). Use the car less often. Walk when possible, or use a bike -- it's much better for your health anyway! Use public transport -- it may seem more expensive, but it isn't actually, because using the car has many hidden costs.
2). Drive more gently. Above about 55mph, the faster you go the more fuel you use per mile. Cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph, which in turn uses up to 15% more than at 50mph. Every time you rev up hard, and every time you brake, you are wasting energy. So accelerate more gently, and be aware of the road ahead so that you can avoid sudden braking. This involves looking well ahead so that you can anticipate changes before they occur, and then just allow the car to slow down naturally. Change your aim, from "getting to your destination as fast as possible", to "saving as much petrol as you can"'!
3). Insulate your house thoroughly -- most of your heating is wasted replacing heat lost to the outside. Grants are available through the Energy Saving Trust . Line your curtains, and draw them to keep the heat in. Only heat the rooms you use most, and keep doors shut between heated areas and unheated areas. Eliminate draughts, since these allow the warm air to escape, being replaced by cold air.
4). Use fewer electrical appliances, and turn them off when not in use. We have got into the habit of using electricity as though it were free. It isn't -- it costs you a lot of money, and causes climate change into the bargain! It's perfectly possible to use a knife for chopping vegetables, a hand whisk instead of a food processor, and a broom instead of a Hoover! Hang washing out to dry rather than using a tumble drier [if it's raining, use a warm part of the house, or hang it over the bath]. And don't forget, leaving things on standby uses a lot of electricity.
5). Only boil as much water as you need -- if you heat more, the excess energy is totally wasted. Use lids on pans -- it uses a quarter less energy.
6). Buy a Saltash Discount Card, and save money when using many local shops. The SALTASHCARD only costs £2 from the Guildhall, Library or Bookshelf. There are over twenty shops in the scheme, many offering 10% discount, e.g. Cornish Farm Produce, Palfreys Bakery, and Evans Hardware.
7). Make your own compost. This is very easy, and has three advantages: it is very good for your garden, making your own saves you from the expense of buying, and it saves the peat that is dug up to make most bought compost. This latter is particularly important, because the over-depletion of the peat bogs releases huge quantities of the stored greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
8). Waste less food. Research has shown that most people throw away a lot of food. This costs you lot of money, but it has many other bad affects -- it is a terrible waste of good food; we are running out of landfill space; and unlike composting, sending food to landfill causes it to rot, producing the very powerful green-house gas methane. We should also try to use more in-season fruit and veg, instead of buying expensive foreign-grown or out of season produce, which uses vast quantities of unnecessary energy, flying it in from abroad or keeping it chilled for long storage -- and not having them all the time makes them seem even nicer when they are in season.
9). Save water. Saving tap-water means saving all the energy, chemicals etc used in purification. This may not actually save you money, unless you are on a water metre, but it's very important for the sake of the environment. Turn off taps whenever not in use -- for example, while cleaning your teeth. A running tap uses vast quantities of water, so never let it run to waste unused down the drain. If you have to leave the tap on for a moment, always run it into a bowl and save it for future use -- for example, for rinsing vegetables or watering the plants. Have a shower rather than a bath; shower less often -- and strip-washing uses even less water.
10). Reduce, Reuse, Recycle -- in other words, reduce the products you buy to a minimum, reuse old things instead of buying new, and recycle when you really have no more use for them. Don't replace things just for the sake of it -- everything you buy has a heavy carbon footprint. Don't keep changing your mobile phone for a new one when the old one still works. Repair rather than buy new. Shop at Charity Shops -- if you choose carefully you can buy really lovely clothes there, and many sell household goods as well. Then donate unwanted items to them rather than throwing them away. Use the Worldwide Freecycle Network -- a grassroots movement of people giving (and getting) stuff for free locally. Freecycle groups match people who have things they want to get rid of, with people who can use them.
All these tips may sound a bit of a chore, but they soon become second nature -- look on it as a kind of game as to who can save the most! For further information, see "Low Impact Living" post on this blog.