World leaders have done their bit on climate change, now here are 10 ways you can too

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Monday 14 December 2015 15:40
(Picture: The DoNation

World leaders signed a groundbreaking pledge in Paris this weekend which saw 190 countries across the globe agree to reduce global warming by less than 2C compared to pre-industrial levels.

There are, however, still some concerns that the agreement will be difficult to enforce despite it being given a broadly warm welcome.

While we can only hope our leaders keep to their word, there are also many ways in which we as individuals can help to reduce the human causes of global warming - did you know that an estimated 42 per cent of Britain's carbon emissions are caused by the actions of individuals?

Well fear not. The team at The DoNation, a take on JustGiving that asks people to donate positive actions instead of money, has come up with this handy list.

Not only are these actions good for the planet, but most of them are good for your mind, your body, and even your wallet...

1. Make meat a treat

What?: Go meat free for just a few days a week - be kind to your heart and to your wallet, but also be good to the planet.

Why?: Roughly 18 per cent of greenhouse gases are caused by livestock farming. Producing just one beef steak emits more CO2 than you would by driving for an hour and leaving all the lights on at home.

2. Drive with smooth style

What?: Cut down your speed on the road, use less air con, take any unnecessary items out of the boot and make sure your tyres are fully inflated. This will improve the efficiency of your vehicle and get more miles out of the tank. Not to mention the safety benefits.

Why?: Road transport in the UK produces around a quarter of our national CO2 emissions. Driving at 80mph uses 25 per cent more fuel than driving at 70mph.

3. Don't over-boil the kettle

What?: Only fill up the kettle with the water you need. Save water, save electricity.

Why?: Over 30 million litres of water are boiled in the UK every day only to go cold again.

4. Turn off appliances at night

What?: Turn off computers, lights, televisions and any other appliances at night.

Why?: It may be one of the oldest energy saving methods but it's also the simplest. If all the UK’s 17 million office workers turned off their computers at night, the carbon savings would be equivalent to removing 245,000 cars from the road.

5. Adjust your computer power

What?: Fine tune your computer settings to make sure it turns off when you're not using it and that its brightness settings aren't unnecessarily high. Head here for instructions how.

Why?: 65 per cent of energy used by computers is spent on running idle, not on actual computing.

6. Walk more

What?: Instead spending money on bus fares, train tickets and fuel try walking whenever possible instead. It really is that simple.

Why?: As the DoNation so aptly put it: "It improves your health, saves you money, gives you time to think, chat and dream, reduces stress, makes you more alert, more productive, and increases independence. It also emits no pollution and is totally carbon free."

7. Eat seasonably and locally

What?: Slim down your carbon footprint and stop eating things like tomatoes in winter. Did you know that over half the food imported to the UK could have actually been sourced within these isles.

Why?: Local means less road miles travelled and therefore cuts down on carbon emissions. Seasonal means the food may have needed less intensive methods to grow it. However, being both seasonal and local is important too - for instance it would

8. Take short, sharp showers

What?: Cut down on the length of your shower in the morning. Each minute you shave off your time in the bathroom will save around 10 litres of water.

Why?: On average we spend eight or nine minutes a day in the shower, making up about 12% of our water usage and costing up to £918 a year. Cutting down will reduce your water bill and save electricity.

9. Receive less junk mail

What?: Register with the Mail Preference Service and have your name and address removed from all the direct mail databases. You still get the post you want, without the junk.

Why?: Around 2.7 billion pieces of junk mail are delivered in the UK every year, using up paper, using electricity to be printed and using fuel to be transported. Also, who wants yet another menu from the local pizza joint to add to the dozen you already have stuffed in that draw in the kitchen?

10. Encourage others to do the same

What?: Thinking of running a marathon or taking on some other type of challenge? Instead of asking people for cash you can ask them to donate actions through The DoNation. You can set yourself your own carbon savings goal and then strive to achieve it.

Why?: Global temperatures are rising, the polar ice caps are melting and with a global population only set to increase there will only be more strain on the world's resources and energy supplies. Now is the time to act, not tomorrow.

Now if our policy-makers keep to their word, we may start to see some real positive change.

More: The world takes to the streets for the People's Climate March

All graphics courtesy of The DoNation