5 ways we can all fight climate change
Stop flying, start walking
Flying is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Take a train, not a plane: one return flight to Spain from the UK = the emissions caused by a year’s worth of driving.
This doesn’t mean we can’t travel. Want to fly to Australia? Just make it the holiday of a lifetime, not a yearly trip.
Europe is still accessible by train and can be a more relaxing journey which gives you a more immersive experience of the country.
Plan early to ensure getting the best seats and the best tickets. If your trip’s work-related, take your laptop and settle down for a few hours’ catch-up. If it’s for pleasure, why not watch a movie with a glass of wine, depending on what time you’re travelling?
If you can ditch the car at home too, this will also help – either walk, or take the bus. Public transport is better than private cars.
10 Best places to visit without flying:
10 best no fly holidays, in the UK:
places to visit from Manchester:
Eat a plant-based diet –
- for the planet; for the animals; for your health
If cows were a nation, they would be the third largest emitter of GHGs, after China and the US.
Eating a plant-based diet is better for the environment, it’s better for you, and it’s better for the animal too.
Start by cutting meat out one day a week and build it up until you’re either mostly or completely meat free.
Agriculture is one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide and fossil fuels are required in every stage of the process. From fertilisers derived from natural gas, to machinery like tractors and processing plants, through to transportation and distribution, the food on our table is totally dependent on fossil fuel production from oil and gas.
Buy locally and support your local farmers and producers. Eating locally-sourced, seasonal produce is by far the best way to cut carbon from your diet. By cutting out meat, we cut out a major source of carbon pollution. Meat production is a serious problem for us and the Amazon rainforest, the lungs of our world. The recent fires are entirely manmade. Logging firms slash and burn the forest, taking out any usable timber; once the fires are out, ranchers move in and put cattle on the cleared land. The west’s desire for cheap beef is creating a catastrophe in the Amazon which is having a global impact.
We don’t have much time left to change the way we live. Our carbon emissions continue to rise despite our being told over countless years that something must be done.
Support local food growing initiatives and find out how to get involved:
Sensible advice on going vegan:
Turn your home into an eco-home
One of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide emissions is our own homes – a third of all emissions come from them. By reducing our home’s emissions, we can make a real difference.
From small changes like using low energy light bulbs to significant changes by renovating our homes, we can make a direct reduction in our personal carbon emissions.
There are many ways to start reducing the energy our homes use:
- smart thermostats
- Upgrading heating systems
By making your home less draughty, you will increase your comfort as well as lowering your bills. Get advice on insulating your property and you will potentially make a massive impact on both your heating bills and your contributions to climate change.
Get in touch with Snug Spaces to find out how you can turn your home into an eco-home.
Use local shops and services and buy your products and food as close to your home as possible. This has multiple benefits – it supports your local economy, and reduces the miles that your food travels, creating less pollution.
Consume less. Everything we buy has been created using energy, probably derived from fossil fuels. If it is plastic, it’s made from fossil fuels. It’s been transported to us using fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are integral to every product we buy from inception to the point at which it’s thrown away. If we buy less, we use less fossil fuel and thereby create less carbon. It’s a win win.
Sometimes it can feel like we are losing the battle. Corporations continue to pollute; governments continue to ignore the real and present dangers in front of us.
But there are still real, useful actions we can take.
16 year-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden has set the world talking and finally people are taking notice.
How can you help?
Be active politically – make your vote count, so that local and national government have no choice but to listen and to act.
Join local groups, whether they are lobbying or looking for solutions. The more of us who act, the more that can be done.
Action must be collective: the problems have been created collectively and can only be solved by collective collaboration. Find like-minded people and create a grass-roots movement in your area.
For advice on your first steps to becoming a climate activist, try these organisations’ websites
Because we have one life to live, and one world to live it in. And our life shouldn’t cost the earth.
Turn your home into an Eco-home
Plan for Perfection
So you’ve decided to turn your home into an eco-home? It isn’t as difficult as you might expect: with some careful planning, you can create a beautiful home which is easy on the environment too.
The even better news is, you don’t have to do it all in one go. If time or money are in short supply, you can do some work now and some later. If you’re planning to decorate or add an extension, now is the perfect time to start visualising your dream home. Create a pathway to your vision, step by simple step.
Most renovations happen piecemeal; likewise, eco-renovation or retrofit. If you’ve decided to decorate, or change a kitchen or bathroom, this is the perfect time to get advice on how to make your home more snug and eco-friendly.
You might need a full survey or assessment, or a simple conversation might be enough to get you started. Either way, we can help you decide on your best course of action.
Have clear objectives
Deciding what you want before you start will save you time, money and heartache. Imagine getting to the end of your building journey and realising you haven’t got everything you wanted.
Do you want a higher comfort factor? Increasing the insulation around your property might be the answer. If you’re plagued by cold draughts, then making your home more airtight and adding a ventilation system could be the answer. (This has the added benefit of making the air in your home cleaner and less polluted too.)
Maybe lowering bills is your goal? By adding solar panels and a battery wall you could dramatically lower your bills, and become less reliant on the grid.
Whatever your goal we can guide you through the many options available; with a wide range of assessment tools to help us, we can create your ultimate snug space.
Give yourself enough time
As anyone in the Army can tell you, proper preparation prevents poor performance. So, planning and preparation are vital for any successful renovation. The more time you can give to this stage of the project, the better. Whether your aim is full Passivhaus status or a simple kitchen extension, making sure you have enough time to gather all the necessary information and the right people to do the work is critical.
All too often we’ve seen people fall foul of being too impatient and beginning too soon. If you are planning on creating a low energy home, planning is of the utmost importance.
It’s this stage which will guide you in the months ahead. Assessing your property will determine the key factors you need to deal with and what possibilities are available. It will also help you further down the line when you’re ready to go.
Property assessments can be done via several routes. The basic Energy Performance Certificate that most houses have these days is a start, although it’s not the best tool to evaluate the energy efficiency of a home.
There are various organisations that provide good quality assessments, designed to help homeowners work out what is possible for their home – for example, the Home Energy Planner, a Passivhaus assessment tool.
You could also try a thermal imaging report or a blower door test.
Once you’ve got all the available information, you’re ready to decide on the best course of action.
If you’ve decided on an extension or changing your home’s exterior with insulated render, you might need planning permission. The best thing to do is to email your local planning office and tell them about your plans, and they’ll tell you if you need planning permission. In some areas you might only need building regulation certification.
An architect can help you get through the planning application process. Ask the architect if they have any knowledge about making homes energy efficient. To get the best performance from your home, it is crucial to have the right team on board – that includes architects, project managers, builders and other installers.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Get more than one quote.
Ask about the person’s experience.
Snug Spaces has experience in all manner of eco-renovation, from installing low energy heating systems to full wrap-around wall insulation. With years of knowledge and experience of the sector, we know the best people to speak to – so if you want to create an eco-home, we can find you the perfect person for your project.
Once you know what you require from your retrofit, it’s time to put it to the planners. If you’re extending your property you might need planning permission; if you’re only renovating internally, you might only need building regulations’ approval.
Make sure you take good advice on your local rebuilding regulation and planning requirements. Corrections can be costly to sort out.
If you live in a terraced or semi-detached house, make sure you have a party wall agreement in place. If something goes wrong and there’s any damage caused on the other side of a part wall, you could end up with serious problems and a large bill from your neighbours.
It can take up to two months for planners to make their decision; in some instances, it can take longer. Allowing time for this in your schedule will ensure you’re not feeling pushed if the planners take their time to make their mind up.
Finally, everything is in place: you’re ready to put a team together to begin the construction phase – your eco-home is becoming a reality.