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Earth Hour 2012

It's Earth Hour again on March 31st at 8.30pm.
Our transition group will be getting together again for a shared veggie meal & bonfire.

The idea to switch off lights & appliances for an hour isn't about saving electricity...
It's about being aware that everything we do has an effect on our planet.
Supporting the WWF Earth Hour shows your willingness to acknowledge your role in the world's future & wouldn't it be nice to know that that future really could be bright!

Here's WWF's ideas for us all to think about:

Top ten ways to reduce your ecological footprint

  1. Don’t drive when there is an alternative – use public transport, cycle or walk. On average we can reduce our total ecological footprint by as much as 20% if we don’t own and drive a car. Using it less will reduce your footprint.
  2. Grow vegetables and don’t waste food. Combining these actions could reduce our footprint by 11%. Growing our own fruit and vegetables reduces all the energy and waste which normally goes into getting food from the field to our plates – such as transport, refrigeration and packaging. Allotments are becoming more fashionable and sites are available across the UK helping us to lead a healthier life.Planning a weekly menu ahead of time and shopping with a list allows us to better estimate how much food we need and ensure we don’t waste anything by impulse buying. It saves money and wastes less food. Planning ahead also avoids unnecessary extra trips to the supermarket and therefore cuts down on travel emissions.
  3. Instead of flying, take holidays in the UK or use the train to get to Europe. Aviation has the fastest growing carbon emissions of any industry sector. Flying has an even greater impact on climate change than was previously thought, flying has 2 to 4 times the impact of CO2 emissions on climate change because it releases water vapour and nitrous oxide at high altitude.Flights cause a large and growing part of our collective footprint. For example, a single passenger’s share of a return flight from London to New York has nearly four times greater impact on the climate than the average person in India has in an entire year. Europe is now easier to reach by train than it has ever been. A passenger on a flight to Paris is responsible for ten times more CO2 emissions than a person using the Eurostar; and the journey takes longer once checking in and travel to the city centre are taken into account.
  4. If you need a car make it a small one and reduce the mileage. Over a quarter of all car journeys made in the UK are less than two miles. Smaller, and indeed smaller-engined, cars are usually much more energy efficient than larger ones, and also have cheaper road tax.Walking, cycling or taking public transport instead will help reduce congestion and carbon dioxide emissions and will also reduce our overall footprint. Many people are discovering the benefits of public transport.
  5. Instead of buying new things buy second-hand, or borrow. On average 10% of our footprint is made up of the things we buy. Our houses are often cluttered with items we only use or wear a few times. The average drill is used for just 15 minutes in its lifetime.While babies need certain clothes and equipment to survive and be stimulated they only tend to need them for a few months or a year before they have grown out of them.Rather than buying something, consider whether you could hire or borrow one instead.
  6. Make your home energy efficient – insulation, double glazing. This tip is common sense and one of the simplest to follow. We all want pleasant warm homes so why do we persist in living in homes that rapidly lose heat through uninsulated walls and roof and are draughty? Improving your home’s insulation, which can be quick and easy, will normally repay the cost in reduced energy bills within a few years.Many other measures can not only reduce your footprint but also save you money. For example, turning appliances off instead of switching them to standby could save the UK £700 million of energy costs each year.
  7. Turn the thermostat down. By turning down your thermostat by just one degree you could cut your heating bills by 10% turning it down by four degrees could save the average home 5% of their total ecological footprint.A well insulated home will keep more heat in the home; this can be anything from drawing curtains at dusk to cavity wall insulation. Other measures that will help your home be heat efficient include turning down the heating in rooms which you are not using and keeping doors shut to stop heat dispersing round the house to be wasted.
  8. Vegetarian diet. The ecological footprint of vegetarians who eat a moderate amount of milk and eggs could be 40% lower than their counterparts who consume a low-meat diet.Other research shows that 16,000 litres of water is needed to produce one kilogramme of beef, which is over five times that needed to grow a kilogramme of rice.
  9. Buy locally produced organic food. In the UK, we import more than half of the food we consume. Buying locally-grown, seasonal food would mean we could reduce our food miles and use less packaging to preserve fresh produce. Food that has been transported half way around the world can never have a small footprint, although its impact can sometimes be lower than intensively produced local food. A bonus is that the freshest food – unprocessed, locally grown and in season – is also food with a low footprint.Organic and other forms of low-input farming that use minimal or no pesticides and fertilisers – which are energy intensive in their manufacture – consume up to 40% less energy, and support higher levels of wildlife on farms.
  10. Recycle everything. The average UK home throws away over one tonne of materials every year. Avoid overpackaged products when shopping. Donate unwanted items to charity shops. Use your kerbside recycling collection and find out where you can recycle items that are not collected.  

    We'd love to hear what everyone else is doing on the night & whether you are trying to make changes to the way you live...

    And just for fun here is the film being used by WWF to promote Earth Hour:

    Our World Is Brilliant
    Sime & the kids used to spend many hours making stuff like that!

    Hope you're having a good weekend!

    Kay & Sime


    Kath said…
    I am pleased to see we are doing all those things already. The latest change we have made is that I am only eating meat once a week. Next week we get our first (local) organic veg box! I am absurdly excited about it, saddo that I am LOL
    just Gai said…
    Your bonfire and shared meal sounds like the perfect way to celebrate Earth Hour.

    We had friends round to play games by candlelight a couple of years ago but haven't done anything since. This year we'll be listening to the Bristol Choral Society singing Faure's Requiem. I'm assuming they wont be turning out the lights in the Colston Hall, so I'll have to be with you in spirit.

    As for the 10 ways to reduce my ecological footprint I'm pleased to say that I'm doing not badly with most of them. I need to work on growing more of my own food, buying secondhand clothes and adopting a vegetarian diet.
    Kath - That's really great, I'm impressed! I love having a veg box - feels like Christmas every week & we can't wait to see what we've got!

    Gai - You're obviously doing really well too & watching the choral society on the night sounds an equally lovely way to spend Earth Hour. Hope you enjoy it!

    Kay :)

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