Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, people have been using Earth’s natural resources irresponsibly, and have been generating greenhouse gas emissions, waste and pollution as a consequence. There is a dire need for a change in our behaviour, and for the growth of low carbon communities, if we are to reduce our carbon emissions to a level required by scientific fact.
The objective of The Carbon Literacy Project is to create a the world’s first low carbon city, by raising awareness about climate change, [and other environmental issues], and encouraging every individual to take action. Carbon Literacy doesn’t stop in Manchester. We are creating a “low-carbon recipe” that other cities, communities and countries will adopt.
Whoever and wherever you are, you can make a difference.
To get you started, here are 10 things you can do without even leaving the comfort of your seat.
1. Switch your electricity and gas to renewable suppliers. This is probably the most effective thing you could do as an individual. It’s so important and so easy. Renewable energy companies don’t cost you any more, and they will give you much better customer service. They will do all the work for you too, just contact them. Two of the best companies offering 100% renewable electricity and gas are: Ecotricity or Good Energy.
2. Calculate your carbon footprint. There are a lot of online websites that help you to calculate your carbon footprint, one of simplest is this one from the Guardian. Carbon footprint calculators will allow you to understand how your footprint compares to others, and highlight where you can make simple adjustments to lower your emissions.
3. Opt in for paperless bills. Bank statements, phone bills, water, gas, and electricity bills all can be sent to your email now. Your details will be more secure, and you will be saving many tonnes of carbon because of it (greenhouse gasses are emitted during tree felling, paper processing and printing).
4. Have a look at your investments. Have you checked where your money is invested? Are you investing in fossil fuels? You can ask your pension fund how they are investing your money through this really simple website ShareAction. You can also opt for ethical banking. Websites such as triodos.com can help you to investigate where your money goes.
5. Consider your diet. If you stop eating meat, your food-related carbon footprint could plummet to less than half of what it was. And vegans and vegetarians also need to consider where their produce is coming from – is it UK grown, or is it flown in? Consider the packaging that your food is wrapped in – does it have unnecessary packaging? Is it recyclable? There are so many factors involved in reducing the carbon footprint of your diet. Read some helpful tips here.
6. Engage with online campaigns and have your say. You can follow environmental groups online and sign petitions for campaigns that you believe in. See websites such as Greenpeace, 38Degrees, Friends of the Earth, Avaaz.
7. Raise money for your chosen charity for free! If you shop for anything online, go to your favourite sites via Giveasyoulive and they will donate to your favourite environmental charities. You can also shop online via charity shops, such as Oxfam.
8. Plant a tree through websites. World Land Trust provides this service, and you can also plant trees for someone as a gift.
9. Help to save the planet at the click of a button. There are many websites that do this. You can save rainforests, the ocean, other habitats and help stop global warming all through a daily click of a button. Save these websites as bookmarks so you can click them day after day…
10. Start learning and take action. Get knowledgable. Surf the net. Do your own research. Get carbon in the conversation. Talk about climate change with your friends, relatives and random people at the pub. Watch some Youtube videos, or see our Top 5 TED Talks about Climate Change, or have your question answered by scientists.
Bonus number 11: Sign up to an online newsletter and stay informed about climate change issues. Stay up to date with climate change news and how our world is changing. Read our Top 5 e-Newsletters post for some of the best to get you started.
Got any more suggestions? We’d love to hear from you.
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