About the event
Our ever-increasing collective thirst for ‘stuff’ is scarring and marring our landscapes, polluting the air we breathe, affecting biodiversity and pushing our climate ever deeper into crisis.
The average person in the UK produces around 10 tons of CO2 per year in the UK. If you add in the carbon footprint of products and services from overseas this total rises closer to 15 tons per person per year. These carbon footprints are among the highest in the world, driven by our high standard of living and the fact that we consume much more than the global average.
Scotland has signed up to being net carbon neutral by 2045 (and the UK as a whole net neutral by 2050) and the wider world needs to follow suit (with some believing even this going far or fast enough). What IS clear is that if we want to avoid heating the planet by any more than the 1.5 degree global target, each and every one of us needs to reduce their carbon footprint, and quickly. According to the United Nations, we need to reduce by 30% by 2025; that 10 tons per person has to reduce to 6.6 tons, so where do you start?
10 Actions to Combat Climate Change
Combatting climate change begins at home, and we can all play an important part in. Edinburgh Science Director and CEO, Dr Simon Gage, shares his tips for how you can help combatt the climate emergency.
Fly less: Cut back on long-haul flights and don’t take short flights if you can get there in a day by public transport. One return trip from Edinburgh to Sydney can produce five tonnes of carbon dioxide per economy passenger, while a return trip to New York racks up 1.5 tons. These are huge numbers compared to your annual footprint of 10–15 tonnes.
Consume less: Buy fewer things (buy second hand or choose things that will really last) and repair more. The climate crisis is a crisis of over-consumption, so try to consume less – buy fewer things, make things last, repair more, darn your socks, buy second hand and when you do need to buy something make it last.
Green your commute and travel: Try to avoid driving to work – switch to public transport, cycling or walking. Better still, get rid of your car! Join a car club or switch to an electric vehicle as you can afford it.
Write to your MP and elected members to encourage them to do more: Encourage elected members to act on our behalf to green the economy and to legislate. Give them the confidence that we are ready for change, that we want and support change and they may act more boldly.
Encourage your employer, school or college to set carbon reduction goals: Ask the place you work or study what plans they have to reduce their carbon footprint in line with the national targets. Write to the boss and if they don’t have a plan encourage them to make one or perhaps you could even help them devise one!
Eat less meat: The production of meat produces much more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than growing vegetables. If you eat more vegetable-based meals and reduce meat, you are reducing your carbon footprint.
Reduce your energy use at home and switch to a green energy supplier: Switch to low energy bulbs, wash clothes on low temperature settings, install smart radiator controllers, only heat rooms that are needed – when they are needed – and get a modern condensing boiler. Switch your energy supplier to one that produces its own renewable energy; by doing so you will help expand the supply of renewable energy.
Spend and invest to influence how businesses behave towards the environment: One of your super powers is where you chose to spend your money. Spend it with companies that are behaving well for the environment and avoid ones that are not. If you have the time, give feedback to companies that could do better – where you spend your money matters to them.
Support young and old who are protesting about this emergency: It is appropriate to describe climate change as a real emergency, so protest and if you can’t or don’t want to, support those that do.
Talk about it – be proud of the changes you are making: By talking to friends, family and colleagues about the changes you are making to reduce your carbon footprint you make it easier for others to change too. Every single person needs to change how they lead their lives, so let’s not be afraid to talk about it.
Leith’s Croft Carbon College regularly runs courses and workshops that help you learn about climate change and sustainability in a friendly, supportive atmosphere , gain knowledge and skills to make practical changes to reduce your carbon footprint, improve your health & wellbeing, and save money in the process.