...and 10 things you can do at home
Saturday 03 December 2005
TURN OFF ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES NOT IN USE
TVs, videos and computers left on standby can use up to 85 per cent of the energy they would if fully on. The power wasted releases an extra one million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere every year, contributing to global warming.
LEAVE THE CAR IN THE DRIVE
Use public transport to get to work whenever possible. Motorists who drive 100 miles a week generate 1,872kg of CO2 a year. Train or bus commuters travelling the same distance create just 520kg.
SHOWER, DON'T BATH
Filling a tub needs 75 litres of water, whereas a five-minute shower uses 30 litres. Buy a water-saving showerhead (£15) to end drips. Cuts the average bill by £125 a year.
CONSERVE HOT WATER
Turn down the temperature by two degrees celsius, cutting the average heating bill by £40 a year and emissions by up to 270kg. Set your washing machine to as cool a wash as possible; followed twice a week, emissions will be cut by 225kg a year. Fit an insulating jacket around a hot water tank, cutting emissions by 80kg a year.
Fill your shopping basket with local produce, eating fruit and vegetables that are in season. Food imported by air contributes many times its own weight in CO2 emissions by the time it reaches the UK.
MINIMISE TUMBLE DRYER USE
Just one fewer load a week reduces CO2 emissions by 91kg a year. Avoid putting very damp clothes in by wringing out first.
INSULATE LOFTS, WALLS AND WINDOWS
More than 40 per cent of heat lost from the home escapes through walls and lofts. Insulating lofts to a depth of 250mm can slash heating bills by a quarter. Insulating cavity walls, which costs about £550, can cut heating bills by a third and emissions by 900kg a year. Fit insulating film over windows. At £1 a pane it can reduce a household's emissions by 450kg a year.
HOLIDAY IN THE UK
Giving up on foreign trips will help cut down aviation emissions. A flight to Athens emits 2,336kg of CO2 per passenger.
COMPOST AND RECYCLE
If each home recycled 50 per cent of its output, the UK's annual CO2 emissions would drop by six million tonnes. The energy saved by recycling a single drinks can is enough to run a TV set for three hours.
USE ENERGY SAVING LIGHTBULBS
Energy-saving lightbulbs use less than a quarter of the electricity, last 12 times longer than standard light bulbs and produce 50kg less CO2 during their lifetime. They cost £4.
How green is your lifestyle?
Stephen Tindale, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GREENPEACE
My green successes: The most important lifestyle choice I made was deciding not to fly on holiday any more. I couldn't reconcile it with my concerns over climate change. All of my trips since then have been somewhere in the UK or somewhere that's reachable by train. If you look at your carbon footprint, flying overshadows all else.
My green failings: I ought to replace the old boiler and fit a new domestic combined heat and power boiler instead. I would also like to fit a micro wind turbine to the roof. I should also eat less meat because the global meat consumption is driving the destruction of the rainforests - particularly in the Amazon. I should be vegetarian but I'm addicted to bacon sarnies.
If I ruled the world: The single most important thing to do would be to pass a law so that every new building would have to be capable of providing its own power. There is a whole range of technologies to do this. Buildings are an immense problem at the moment but they could also be an immense solution. It's the role of government to begin solving these problems.
Lynne Franks, ENVIRONMENTAL BUSINESS CONSULTANT
My green successes: I'm trying to see that everything I do in my life has some value to the planet and to the people that live on it. The biggest thing I have done is that I have sold my London property and am relocating to rural Oxfordshire, which I hope will enable me to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I am much better than I've ever been but I'm not as good as I intend to be.
My green failings: For people like me who have to travel a lot in order to do the work that they do, air travel is a massive problem. I have to fly around once a month and I am well aware that my eco-footprint is not as it should be. That is one thing that I am still struggling to get to grips with. I believe that in the future we will be using more and more technology which will mean we don't have to travel as much.
If I ruled the world: Rather than making laws, the Government should be investing in the future by finding alternative energy sources and providing people with the information they need to stop destroying the planet.It's got to be down to the individual to show what they want.
Rory Bremner, COMEDIAN
My green successes: I try to use public transport when I can over a car whenever possible. I also try to recycle plastic bottles and divide up rubbish. It was interesting during the last petrol crisis, people were sharing transport and even talking to one another. I think we are definitely addicted to our cars as a society.
My green failings: I probably use too much energy. I'm not nearly as conscientious enough. Also, if I were to move home again, I would want to look at areas of environmental improvement such as building materials, and areas that can be heated with solar power for example.
If I ruled the world: I would actually encourage people to use low-energy light bulbs as well as new forms of fuel. I remember reading that if each household switched to a energy-saving light bulb, something like a whole power station would not have to be built. I think a lot could be done to tighten up how energy is supplied, with more use of resources such as wind and wave power, more imaginative approaches than the nuclear option, which is very costly.
Katharine Hamnett, FASHION DESIGNER
My green successes I've had a compost heap for 28 years and I try to make our cars, fridges and televisions last for ages. I walk, take public transport and wear loads of vintage clothes, and so do my kids. I've also got a little olive grove in Spain and I suppose I could say it's a carbon sink.
My green failings: I get on planes too often - the whole fashion industry has a problem with that. The ideal scenario would be for them to conglomerate all their fairs into two weeks and you could go once. I do rely on the free plastic bags from the supermarket - although I never throw them away. Our clothes and household fabrics are not made from organic cotton yet. The greenhouse gas emissions from the chemical fertilisers used on conventional cotton is colossal.
If I ruled the world: There is only enough uranium to provide electricity for 12 years. I would rather invest in renewable energy sources. Tidal energy is my favourite because we have two tides a day in this country, like clockwork. Consumers, not governments are responsible.
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