#Do1Thing for climate change
Climate change - Together we can make a difference
Climate change is a critical issue facing us all. The enormity of the situation can seem overwhelming at times but we believe a collective effort of small steps can make a massive difference.
Climate crisis is everybody’s issue, which is why we are asking everybody to #Do1Thing to help solve the biggest threat posed by global warming.
Sea levels are rising, glaciers have shrunk, trees are flowering sooner and we are experiencing longer more intense heat waves, the threat posed by climate change in becoming greater each day – but each of us has a role to play in helping to protect the planet for the future.
On 9 July 2019 Cheltenham Borough Council declared a climate emergency and committed to working to become carbon neutral by 2030.
We want to ask you to make one small change today that collectively will protect Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and around the world for future generations.
This can be as simple as using an online calculator to find out what your carbon footprint.
50 things to do to reduce your carbon footprint
Pick one thing from our list, or pick several, but please commit to changing today, so that we can all do our bit to slow down the climate crisis.
Start small. Start now. Just start by doing one thing.
- Drive less - Lace up those boots for shorter journeys and take public transport or cycle when you can. Taking your car off the road for one day a week can really make a difference. Cars are said to account for 60.7 per cent of total CO2 emissions from road transport in Europe.
- Brush with bamboo - The first plastic toothbrush was made in the 1930s. Since it takes 400 years for them to decompose, nearly every single toothbrush made since then is still out there. So think about that for a minute while you’re getting ready for work. Bamboo handles take around six months to compost.
- Power shower - The average shower in the UK lasts eight minutes and uses around 60 litres of water, according to The Green Age. A water-saving shower head restricts the volume of water, so it's an easy swap to make. Can you also spend a little less time in the shower? Try singing just the one song in the morning instead of a band's greatest hits!
- Go green - Green energy can save you money and sends a message to your supplier that you want to avoid electricity generated from fossil fuels.
- Off means off - Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. And don't forget to turn off lights when you leave a room. Just think of it like making an entrance on your way out.
- Stay put - Swap this year's holiday abroad for something in the UK, and you could even travel by train to make it that much more eco-friendly. The Air Transport Action Group estimate says flights worldwide produced 895 million tonnes of CO2 in 2018.
- Properly insulate - A tidy house may not lead to a tidy mind. But a well-insulated one is very energy efficient.
- Make your money green - Move to a green bank and your money will be invested in clean energy.
- Eat less meat - There’s loads of tasty vegan food available now. So even if it’s just a day or two a week, try to eat more plant-based food. To put it into perspective, it takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce just one pound of meat, while 25 gallons of water is needed for one pound of wheat, PETA say.
- Milk it - Even if it’s one day a week, try to go dairy-free. In an Oxford University study, researchers found that "avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth".
- Stop buying disposable - Is it so hard to buy a can instead of a bottle? A study by Earthwatch Europe found that 5.5 billion plastic bottles are littered, incinerated or sent to landfill each year, producing 233,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
- Sharing is caring - Whether its tools, clothes or books, borrowing from friends and neighbours will save you money, or even try a swap.
- Wash clothes at a lower temperature - We’ve all heard the wash at 30c mantra, but did you know a lower-temperature wash is less likely to shake out plastic fibres? Also think about whether something really needs to be washed. You can now buy things like refresh laundry sprays, which aims to help you to get more wear out of your clothes with less washing. That’s time saved on chores, too.
- Don't be clingy - It’s time to stop using single use plastic, and your lunch is a good place to start. Beeswax wraps are a great alternative to cling film and can be used repeatedly, except with raw meat.
- Replace single-use items - Baby wipes, razors, tampons and nappies, for example, all have reusable alternatives. So start using them. The average household in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste every year.
- Switch off standby - The Energy Savings Trust estimates that up to £80 a year is wasted in the average home because of appliances left on standby. That's a lot of electricity (and money) wasted.
- Up your recycling - We are all pretty good at recycling now, but we can aim to be better. Think about recycling batteries, old mobile phones, and broken appliances, to name a few. And when you do need a replacement, why not buy recycled goods instead of new ones.
- Clean up your coffee - Research suggests that the UK may already use as many as five billion coffee cups per year. That’s a lot of cups. And a lot of coffee. So while you may assume coffee cups are recyclable, most single-use ones contain a thin plastic lining. Lots of places now offer discounts to customers who use their own coffee cups too.
- Plant your own veg - Not only will you save carbon emissions but you’ll save money too. And think how pleased you’ll be serving up your own spuds at the dinner table.
- Buy local - Supermarket produce can travel hundreds of miles to get to you, so start buying local where you can.
- Commute less - If your job allows, work from home one day each week. Or at least think about asking if it’s possible. You can cut carbon emissions from not travelling and won’t be tempted with plastic-wrapped meal deals.
- Bring your bags - Stop using plastic bags for loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items.
- Lower the central heating - Put on a jumper! Put on two! Layer on the socks! Nobody can see you.
- Join a library - You can borrow books, DVDs and CDs and more at your local library. And get a bit of peace and quiet while you’re there.
- Get on your bike - You’ll be exercising, getting out and doing your bit for the planet. If there was a dramatic, worldwide increase in cycling, it could cut CO2 emissions from urban passenger transport by nearly 11 per cent in 2050, according to Cycling UK.
- Shop vintage - The latest fashion? Step out in vintage clothes, and save yourself some serious wedge, too. Clothes can take up to 40 years to decompose, while shoes can take up to 1,000 years to break down. And while you’re buying vintage, think about recycling, donating or repairing your old clothes, too.
- Don't buy into fast fashion - Clothes are inexpensive these days, leading to people buying far more than they need to. If you want to buy new, consider buying fewer items that are better made so they last longer, and choose natural materials when you can.
- Stop saying 'thank you' - If we were to send one less ‘thank you’ email a day that would save more than 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year. True.
- Palm off palm oil - Palm oil is found in many everyday products but it is a major driver of deforestation of some of the world’s most biodiverse forests, destroying the habitat of already endangered species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant and Sumatran rhino, according to WWF.
- Use natural cleaning products - Most cleaning products come in disposable bottles and some chemicals can be harmful to you as well as the environment, so switch to eco-friendly alternatives.
- Turn off the tap - Next time you’re brushing your teeth or shaving, switching off the tap could save up to 200 gallons of water a month. Drip, drip, drip? No, no, no.
- Ditch disposable cutlery - Instead use a compact, portable cutlery set.
- Fill up the dishwasher - By filling up the dishwasher completely each time, you'll actually use less water than you would doing the dishes by hand, according to Friends of the Earth.
- The last straw - They are starting to be phased out, but if you’re offered one, do not use it. Many marine animals mistake these and other plastic items for food, and plastic has been found in an estimated 90 per cent of all seabirds and in all sea turtle species, according to WWF.
- Not your cup of tea - Switch to biodegradable teabags. Or even better, loose tea. If you love a cuppa, think of how many teabags you go through - and bear in mind some teabags contain a very amount of plastic. That’s a cuppa conscience right there.
- Speak to your MP - And ask them to champion climate change policies. The 2019 snap general election was the greenest ever in terms of political promises, but the momentum needs to continue.
- Use your tumble dryer less - Line-drying isn’t possible all year round but one dryer is thought to emit more than a tonne of carbon dioxide a year so switch to a clothes rack or washing line when you can.
- Recharge - If you use batteries regularly, invest in rechargeables.
- Go paperless with your banking - Do they usually just head straight to the shredder? It's time to go paperless.
- Use shampoo and conditioner bars - It'll reduce your plastic waste.
- Buy plastic-free loo roll - It is thought that each person in the UK uses 110 toilet rolls a year - and they usually are wrapped in plastic.
- Solar energy - If you can afford it, invest in those solar panels you’ve been mulling over. It’s a green renewable energy and doesn't release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants.
- Share the journey - If working from home or using public transport is not an option for you, join a car share scheme to help combat congestion and cut CO2 emissions.
- Reduce your food waste - Be more mindful of what you are buying and throwing away. Buy less if you don’t need it, freeze food for later and compost what you don’t use.
- Boil what you need - As Friends of the Earth explain, you'll save water, money and energy by only boiling as many cups of water as you need.
- Get a new buddy - Cotton buds could damage your ears as well as wash up on our beaches and harm our sea life. Either ditch them, or swap plastic stemmed ones for paper stems.
- Fix leaking taps - There could be up to 60 litres of water going straight down the drain every week.
- Volunteer - If you want to take action, choose a charity or organisation and get in touch about volunteering.
- Buy in bulk - Less packaging is better for the environment. Or go one better and start using a zero-waste supermarket.
- Talk rubbish - If we all picked up litter when we see it, imagine the difference it would make.