Summer 2023 has demonstrated the type of severe climate events that ongoing global warming is likely to make commonplace rather than exceptional.
WE all need to think about the food we eat, the car and air travel we undertake, and the use of heating and cooling in all buildings, including our homes.
The first aspect is to reduce our use of carbon-based fossil fuels. Each one of us produces about 7 to 10 tonnes of climate changing gases every year. One tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (the measure of these gases) is the size of a full hot air balloon. It is national policy guided by international agreement that each one of us reduces this burden by half by the end of the decade.
Some of this removal is being achieved by technology. This is making it more efficient to use energy and to provide more energy from renewable sources (wind, sunshine and natural gas releases from organic matter). More innovative means for emission elimination are in the offing. All of this is slow to realise in practice, and costly to create.
We all need to cut down on massively increasing expensive energy. We will wish to reduce our consumption of carbon-based fuels for home heating and for warming our parish buildings. And we will try to reduce our travel involving fossil fuels so as to cut down on the release of climate changing gases.
Norfolk ALC are partnering with a carbon tracking website giki zero in a campaign called Save Energy, Save Money, Save Carbon. The aim of this campaign is to get people to think more actively about their day-to-day activities and things that we could all do as individuals to reduce our carbon production and the associated costs.
Norfolk ALC is also working with transport interests to reduce the dependency of transport on carbon. This translates into the encouragement of (renewable based) electrical charging points to ensure they are available as widely as possible. However electric vehicles are not only expensive, they are also environmentally damaging to construct (because batteries, and car components are made with highly toxic and dangerous materials). Therefore, there must also be opportunities to provide flexible electrical minibuses for local use. Ideally this arrangement should be reasonably available on demand so that the private vehicle is no longer as essential as it is today in rural Norfolk.
Diet, or what we eat, also carries carbon intensive features. Moving to appetising more plant-based food will need to be encouraged in homes and schools; as will a greater awareness of the distance much of our foodstuffs travel and a move towards more locally established food chains
Simple things we can do to cut carbon:
- Ditch the tumble dryer
- Turn the power off to appliances when you’re not using them
- Ditch the tumble dryer
- Lower the temperature when you wash clothes
- Turn the lights off when you don’t need them
- Always use the dishwasher eco settings
- Only boil the water you need
- Switch to renewable electricity
- Choose seasonal fruit and veg
- Turn your thermostat down
- Turn off radiators in unused rooms
- Take a shorter shower
- Try to swap car journeys of less than a mile for a walk for a month
- Drive more efficiently
- Don’t idle your car
- Try cycling or walking to work
- Reduce your meat consumption, particularly red meat
- Go plant based for a day
Making these sorts of changes will not only reduce carbon, but will also save money and some will make us fitter and healthier.