Our Top Ten Things To Do

Every self-respecting climate-friendly, sustainability website has its list of things to do, and this is ours!

  1. Change your energy provider to a renewable energy company. GEUK is the best but most expensive - Ethical Consumer, Which?, Best Energy Suppliers while Octopus is good and cheaper. Beware particularly the big name providers: claims of “100% renewables” are often exaggerated. If you use gas, you can still find decent deals. Try to avoid companies relying extensively on carbon offsetting to 'balance' their CO2 emissions Bulb?: https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/2021/06/09/when-bulb-claims-to-supply-renewable-electricity-wherever-possible-it-means-just-4-of-the-time/
  2. Food, eating, shopping and waste
    • Eat more veg and pulses and go seasonal, organic, regional and low waste - the first three cost more but the last saves money, though it takes time and practice to get good at it.
    • https://lovefoodhatewaste.com offers tips and recipes to reduce waste.
    • Pick recipes based on the ingredients you already have (search online or use books like Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book and Fruit Book) and try a seasonal cookbook like Anna Jones’ A Modern Cook’s Year.
    • Eat together when possible! Bigger meals with more people mean more efficient cooking and less waste.
    • Defrost food in the fridge, make sure hot food cools outside the fridge before putting it in.
  3. Be smart and prudent with your domestic energy bill
    • Ask for a smartmeter if you don't have one
    • Set the hot water timer for only when needed e.g. three hours morning and evening, and turn the temperature down to 60°C.
    • Review the central heating timer and turn down the temperature. Some people are comfortable as low as 16.5°C though 18 or 19°C is more normal.
    • Fit thermostat controls on radiators and turn them off in rooms not being used.
    • Insulate the hot water cylinder if you have one.
    • Beware excess humidity from bathrooms, kitchen and laundry - it can cause damp & mould, which is traditionally fixed by draught vents allowing cold air in. It can be cheaper to run a dehumidifier in winter as it keeps the warm air in and even warms it up more, allowing heating to be turned down in the rooms concerned.
    • When the heating is on, close the windows.
    • Draught proof windows and external doors.
    • Block unused chimneys - or the nicely heated air in your room will disappear up it. Chimney balloons will need re-inflating annually.
    • Ensure your plumber has put anti-corrosion compound in the heating system. If not, gas and sludge build up and reduce heating efficiency (will cost £££ to sort out with a powerflush, and radiator bleeding will be needed).
    • Fit sensor lighting externally and in communal areas so no lights stay on unnecessarily.
    • Upgrading unnecessarily wastes resources but when it’s time to replace kitchen appliances and boilers choose the most energy efficient possible - A +++ though ratings will change shortly to push for greater efficiencies. But low water use machines may not be as effective as standard.
    • Add breathable insulation in the loft. Think about walls, floors and double glazing.
    • Replace lighting with LED low energy lights.
    • Check your property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) online and see recommended ways to improve energy efficiency Government website - although watch out because a lot of the advice there is now out-of-date. The EPC legislation really needs updating!
    • Use electricity when it's less carbon-intense - usually 1am to 5am. Check the National Grid at http://carbonintensity.org.uk
    • Think about how to replace the gas boiler - a ground source heat pump, air source heat pump, immersion heater, solar hot water - or is a complete retrofit on the cards
  4. Put the environment on the agenda at your workplace. Reasonable-sized corporations will have an ECG director (Environment, Society and Governance) – ask them how you can get involved, or in smaller companies, look around at work and identify other responsive employees or directors and start a conversation.
  5. Cycle to work (if a challenge get an electric bike), go on holiday by train - see the Man in Seat 61 - fly less and leave the car more
  6. Switch to an ethical bank to avoid your money funding the fossil fuel industry, e.g. Triodos or if you want free banking, the Co-operative Bank, although they are not so hot with Which? for practical reasons. Do this particularly if you are with Barclays, HSBC, First Direct, M&S Money, NatWest, RBS, Coutts, Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Santander, Cater Allen, Tesco or Citigroup.
  7. If you are paying into a pension fund, switch it to an ethical pension - for workplace pensions look at Nest (not-for-profit with carbon divestment policies). For personal pensions try Royal London (high scoring mutual) or for SIPPs Abundance Investments.
  8. Re-use/recycle/repair/buy used – (for reasons see the Story of Stuff on YouTube). There’s lots on offer on Freecycle, Freegle, Nextdoor and the TPP web site, where you can also post items you no longer want. For mending see the TPP magazine recommendations pages, or learn to do it yourself eg with WikiHow videos. Do you know what the circular economy is? It involves everything being re-used and not reliant on new or unsustainable resource exploitation.
  9. If buying new clothes (vintage is best), make sure they are natural fibre, or even better, natural, organically farmed fibre. Worth considering are [www.howies.co.uk Howies], [www.nudiejeans.com Nudie Jeans] (which will also do repairs), https://communityclothing.co.uk, https://www.fatface.com, https://www.gossypium.co.uk, https://www.peopletree.co.uk, https://www.spiritofnature.co.uk, https://www.naturalcollection.com, https://www.bambooclothing.co.uk, https://www.skinniesuk.com, https://www.missmary.co.uk, https://www.gingerlily.co.uk, https://www.greenfibres.com, https://www.ecooutfitters.co.uk, https://www.nomadsclothing.com, check out the Third Estate shop on Brecknock Road N7, or see https://www.theguardian.com for ethical brands.
  10. Write to your MP and tell them that climate justice is the single most important issue for everyone. Sign pro-climate petitions you see on the net, and share here.
  11. De-install Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp from your mobile phone – why? Because Facebook’s key algorithm creates streams of posts for Facebook users designed solely and without a single ethical consideration to maximise how long users stay and how many adverts they see. Humans react to emotional triggers so reliably and so predictably that Facebook has built and dangerously leveraged a massive global advertising business on it, to a far greater degree than most other social media platforms. The side-effect of this marketing tactic is that it exacerbates our personal echo chamber with fear- and hate-based emotionally laden news headlines, personal stories, urban myths, some truth about the climate (mostly grim disaster stories), but mostly lies and disinformation. “Stewardship of global collective behavior” – US National Academy of Science article on the crisis in the digital attention economy. https://www.pnas.org/content/118/27/e2025764118 This includes large quantities of articles on climate change and the world’s response to it. Taking action on climate change and supporting the Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp platform that constantly disseminates climate denial works at cross-purposes.

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