As I write this in mid July the Meteorological Office has put out a heat alert for the coming weekend, and predicts that temperatures may exceed the British record of 38.7oC, and possibly even exceed 40oC. There has been no significant rain since February. Across the globe weather records of all sorts are being broken, crops are failing, and lives are being ruined. The climate is changing, fast, and our whole way of life is threatened as a consequence.
The evidence that this is due to emissions of ‘greenhouse gasses’, predominantly carbon dioxide, but also methane, nitrous oxides and others, is incontrovertable. So what can we do about it, as individuals? Here are six suggestions, five to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that you are responsible for, and one other:
- If you fly, fly less, or not at all. A transatlantic flight generates a tonne of CO2 per passenger, so stopping flying may be the single most effective step you can take;
- Rethink your travel. Walk, cycle and use public transport more. If you can, switch to an electric vehicle. HVCA’s ‘Travelling Light’ project is seeking to reimagine travel in the Hope Valley, and you can be part of it;
- Eat more plants. Meat, and in particular beef and lamb, has a much higher carbon footprint than fruit and vegetables;
- Make sure your home is as well insulated as possible. This will save you money, too. In September HVCA will be running an ‘Eco-Homes’ week in which we will be exploring in detail what can be done.
- Consume less. Almost everything we buy contains ‘embedded carbon’ – the emissions that were generated by its manufacture and transport. The less stuff you consume, the less GHG is emitted.
- And lastly, talk about it. The biggest threat to our climate comes from us ignoring what is going on. In particular, let your elected representatives know that you are concerned. And you can join the conversation with us at HVCA by signing up to our newsletter or coming to our meetings. More information at hopevalleyclimateaction.org.uk.
HVCA Chair, June 2022