Let’s make 2019 the year we save the planet: Friends of the Earth’s New Year’s resolutions for the climate
Friends of the Earth has pulled together a list of the lifestyle changes that will have the biggest positive impact on the planet; in terms of saving energy and cutting emissions.
As we reach the end of 2018, many of us will be thinking about the positive changes we want to make come the New Year. But, why not make 2019 the year you make a positive change for the planet? The recent dire warnings from climate scientists may be hard to stomach, but they also mean that more people than ever before want to do their bit.
Emi Murphy, climate change campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:
“We’re calling for 2019 to be the year that everyone joins the fight against climate breakdown. The government needs to get its act together when it comes to stopping runaway climate change, but what we do in our everyday lives can also be part of the change we need.”
Emi’s tips for saving the planet in 2019:
- #NoFly2019 – cut down on flights, especially long-haul. Aviation is a huge problem for carbon emissions – Heathrow Airport is actually the UK’s biggest single source of carbon emissions. Nobody begrudges anyone an annual holiday, but frequent fliers should think twice. From the mountains of Snowdonia and lakes of the Lake District, to Cornwall’s beautiful beaches, there are beautiful places in the UK you can reach without having to board a plane. A lot European adventures can also be done by train.
- Power yourself with plants. The emissions from intensive dairy and cattle farming are a big part of the climate problem. By eating less meat and dairy you can limit your impact in terms of carbon and methane emissions and enjoy a healthier diet. Try to ensure the meat and dairy you do eat is of better quality, as less intensive production is better for both the animals and the planet.
- Waste less food. Plan your meals so you only buy the ingredients you know you’re going to use. Freeze your leftovers or make them into a packed lunch. By only using the food you need you’ll save on emissions coming from production and transport – and save money too.
- Insulate your home. By making your home more efficient at trapping in the heat you will cut your heating bills and use less gas or oil. A draught excluder is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to keep your home warmer, and you can also think about insulating your home with thermal wallpaper along with loft or basement insulation. If you’re a renter you can request this from your landlord, as they have a legal obligation to make the property heat efficient.
- Install low carbon heating, such as a heat pump. If you own your property, and are up for a long-term change, you might want to think about what type of heating you use. The government offer grants through their ‘renewable heat incentive’ if you want to switch to some types of electric heating and move away from fossil fuels when keeping your home warm.
- Walk or cycle short journeys. Petrol and diesel cars are a huge source of emissions, bad for both air quality and the climate. The majority of car journeys in the UK are less than five miles, so switching to active travel or public transport is another easy way to do your bit for the planet. By hopping on your bike or walking into town you’ll also find yourself getting fitter. For longer journeys try to use public transport as much as possible and if you do need a car why not hire one or buy electric?
- Buy less stuff. The stuff we buy – from clothes to tech – has big ramifications when it comes to resource use and emissions from shipping. Make 2019 the year you think twice before upgrading your phone or buying the latest fashion trends. Look into refurbished tech and vintage clothing. This will decrease your environmental impact and will also save you money in the long run. You can also learn simple clothes repairs, so you don’t have to replace items as soon as they rip or fray. If you do need to buy new kit, make sure it’s made to last.
- Run on sun. If you’re able to install solar panels you can slash the emissions of your household as you generate your very own clean electricity. Double points if you’re able to heat water through solar too – ditching dirty gas-powered heating in the process.
- Be political. Making changes to your own lifestyle is fantastic, but you can also start to make a wider impact by getting involved as an activist. It’s easy to get started, simply write to your MP to talk to them about climate change or ask your local council if they’re investing money in dirty energy. Just a short email can do the job. By being vocal you can put more pressure on politicians and make them act on climate change.
- Get active with a local green community campaigning group. Whether Friends of the Earth or otherwise, there are local environmental groups and down the country achieving amazing things fighting everything from plastic pollution to fossil fuels. Head to friendsoftheearth.uk/take-part to learn more.