Using people power to create a sustainable Scotland
How often have you left a room with the light still on, TV on standby or computer running? Ever filled the kettle to the top to make one cup of tea?
This is something many of us do and they all have an impact on our world and contribute to the threat of climate change. Yet they are probably some of the easiest habits we can change in our everyday lives.
Almost half of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions come from energy we use every day - at home and when we travel. By playing your part to save energy at home, work or in school, you are helping to protect the environment for you, your family and future generations, and at the same time, pocket savings on your bills.
The 10 greener pledges, listed below, are a good place to start. And even if you can't take and keep all 10, why not take a pledge to switch to using energy-efficient light bulbs?
In most homes lighting accounts for 10 -15% of the electricity bill. Energy-efficient light bulbs use a quarter of the electricity, helping to cut down on greenhouse gases. They also last up to 15 times longer and could save £7 off your electricity bill each year.
Turning down the thermostat one degree can also help to reduce global warming and cut your heating bill by around £30 a year.
Even boiling just the amount of water needed when making a hot drink can save enough energy in a week to light a house for a day. It can be that simple.
If you hang your washing up to dry rather than use a tumbler dryer you will be cutting down on the amount of energy you use. When buying fridges, freezers, washing machines or tumble dryers, take a look at the energy-efficiency label. Models labelled Grade A are most efficient and may only use up half the energy of a similar G-rated model.
We each use an average of 143 litres of water a day. Turning off the tap when brushing your teeth is an effective way to conserve water. And always put the plug in your basin or sink. Leaving hot water running with the plug removed is like pouring money down the drain.
Saving energy doesn't just begin and end at home: drive your car 33 miles a day and you need at least 21 good sized trees to absorb all your carbon for the year. Why not break the habit and use public transport or car share or, even better, walk if the journey isn't too far!
We all depend on the world around us and at the moment, we are relatively fortunate in Scotland with both the availability of our resources, such as energy and food, and the quality of our environment. However, if we continue on our current course, we won't always be able to enjoy the same quality of life.
Even simple changes in our daily lives can have a positive impact on our environment and play a part toward Scotland's action on climate change.
Why not check out the 10 greener pledges below and see what you can do?
10 Greener Pledges for 2008
- Recycle household waste using locally-provided facilities
- Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth
- Switch to using energy-saving light bulbs
- Leave the car at home at least once a week, and cycle, walk, share a car or use public transport more often
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones
- Reuse carrier bags when you shop
- Buy more seasonal and unpackaged food
- Hang your washing up to dry rather than using a tumbler dryer
- Organise or volunteer in an environmental project in your local community
- Pay back the environmental impact of any flights you take and choose not to fly when there’s a suitable alternative
For more information on what you can do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle visit www.infoscotland.com/ourfuture