By Fran Southgate
Living Landscapes Advisor
We are all aware of impending climate change, and the implications that this is likely to have on wildlife and people. It tends to leave us wondering what an earth we can do to stop the juggernaut before it crashes into the wall. As individuals we can’t do everything, but we can raise our own awareness and that of those we know and work with, as well as taking responsibility for our own actions. It might be a bit of a crash course in climate change, but one of the most important things that we can do for wildlife right now is to raise our own carbon literacy.
Carbon literacy is an awareness of climate change, the carbon costs and impacts of our everyday life activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis. So the first thing that you can do is to make yourself more aware of what’s going on, and what it might mean for you, your family and your local wildlife. There are some great organisations and resources out there including the IPCC, Climate 10:10, the climate reality project, NASA climate kids, Greta Thunberg, The UN and more.
There are also some individual actions that you can take to help de-carbonise your life and to reduce your climate change impact.
- Use the 6 R’s: Refuse things first, and Reduce how much you use, Reuse everything you can, Recycle everything you can’t, Repair things, and Repurpose what you can’t repair. Find your local repair café.
- Make your diet low carbon - Eat Local , eat seasonal food, eat more veg, and give or eat recycled food!
- Consider more eco-transport - ride a bike, use an electric bike, walk, run, take public transit, or carpool
- Prevent phantom loading by unplugging phone and laptop chargers when not in use, and using power strips for lamps and TVs.
- Switch your energy supplier to one who invests in 100% renewable energy for the future.
- Improve your home – insulate, air seal (but ventilate), upgrade appliances, use LED, compost. Close the door, air dry your washing, wear warm clothes instead of turning up the heat.
- Use less water – get a water butt, water your plants with your grey water, or just use a bit less every day
- Check out the climate change credentials of the companies you use, for everything from car and house insurance, to bank accounts and washing machines. www.ethicalconsumer.org
- Take action to save, or appropriately plant forests, and to protect our seascapes.
- Help Sussex Wildlife Trust to adapt our landscapes and make them climate resilient for people and wildlife.
And there is other help out there to raise your carbon awareness too. The Carbon Literacy Project offers everyone a day’s worth of Carbon Literacy learning - covering climate change, carbon footprints, how you can do your bit, and why it’s relevant to you and your audience. On an individual level our impact is limited, but as a community of people working together on common aims, there’s still a chance that the change we make, will make a difference.