Thursday, 5 January 2012

Green New Year's Resolutions

Have you made a new year's resolution this year? If so, is it one that will benefit the environment as well as yourself?

There's no reason why you couldn't make a late one now if you haven't got round to it yet...

How about one of the following?

  • Fly less, or not at all if you can help it. Flying is the most polluting activity a person can take and not doing it will make more impact on reducing your carbon footprint than anything else. The reason why it is only a small proportion of the UK's carbon emissions is because relatively few people do it still.
  • Drive less. Per mile, driving can also have very high CO2 emissions (although people don't tend to drive as far as they fly). It also has a negative impact on the area in which you live in terms of congestion, air pollution, noise pollution and creating a dangerous environment for pedestrians and cyclists. If you can cycle, walk or take the bus/train, please do. It's good for your health and can also mean lower stress levels than driving in the rush hour.
Waste and Resource Use
  • Think about buying things with less packaging. Plastic bags are an environmental problem, but then so is the packaging that most food (and other products) is encased in. If you buy fresh fruit and veg to cook from scratch, it almost always has less packaging and you could also make a point by unwrapping things in the shop and leaving the retailer to deal with the waste - they might re-think what they stock then.

  • Try to find ways to re-use as many things as possible rather than throwing them away or putting them in the recycling. It can be fun to think of new uses for things. 
  • Buy local. Use local independently owned shops/market stalls as much as possible and try to find products that are produced locally, too. The smaller the distance between where things are produced and bought, the better for the environment, generally speaking. Also, eat less meat and dairy, as these foods have a bigger environmental impact.
  • Ensure electrical devices are turned off when not in use, both at home and at in the work/study places you go to. Also, make sure you don't leave doors/windows open when the heating's on.
  • Get involved with Birmingham Friends of the Earth and help us to campaign for change and a better environment.
Do you have any other ideas you'd like to share?

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