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Joe Bradbury looks a some of the things we can all do to lower our carbon footprint

The population of the United Kingdom is approximately 67 million people. If we all continue as we are, climate change will get worse. But, reducing our own energy consumption, even if only slightly, would result in a significant reduction in our nation's carbon emissions. Taking control of our energy consumption and lowering our personal emissions is a great step towards ensuring the sustainability of our planet for future generations. Housing Association Magazine’s Joe Bradbury discusses:

In the United Kingdom, our homes account for approximately 22% of total carbon emissions, including heating, lighting, and appliances. Traveling, from commuting, driving to the supermarket, to flying around the world on holiday, produces nearly as much carbon dioxide as heating.

In order to effect the change you as an individual may want for society, then you have to play your part. Below are a few healthy suggestions of what you can do to help.

Student ID won’t work, so be sure to find out more about free Voter Authority Certificate.

Joe Bradbury Joe Bradbury Digital editor of Housing Association magazine

Pay attention to diet

According to 2018 research, meat and dairy consume 83% of farmland and account for 60% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

Food cultivated locally and in season travels fewer 'food miles' before reaching your plate.

One-third of the food produced for human use in the globe (around 1.3 billion tonnes) is wasted. This food ends up in landfill, where it emits methane gas, hastening the effects of climate change. Food waste reduction makes economic and environmental sense.

Turn down the thermostat

Environmental experts at Count Us In Communities say turning down your thermostat by one degree can reduce your carbon pollution by up to 340kg. If you change it by 2 degrees or more, the numbers quickly get bigger. Especially if done en masse.

Dialling down your thermostat offers a multitude of benefits. It’s better for your health, and using less energy to heat your home will save you money - which is a significant benefit in a world living largely in fuel poverty.

Use public transport where possible

Private vehicles, such as cars, account for the majority of emissions from the transportation industry. Although emissions from automobile production and vehicle use are not increasing as quickly as those from aircraft or shopping, it is still a concern that must be addressed.

Increased use of public transportation over personal vehicle use is one of the best strategies to cut pollution and save the environment. Many towns and cities have successfully reduced CO2 emissions by up to 50%, simply by decreasing or regulating the flow of private cars.

Fit a heat pump

Did you know that around 85% of us in the United Kingdom have natural gas boilers? As a result, heating is one of the most significant carbon contributors to home carbon emissions.

To meet our national Net Zero carbon emissions objective by 2050, nearly all of our households must transition to low-carbon heating. At the moment, only 5% of us in the UK have low-carbon heating, thus it will take us 700 years to accomplish our Net Zero objective!

Nevertheless, air source heat pumps can help us achieve the Net Zero aim far sooner.

Air source heat pumps are very efficient and have lower operating expenses than other forms of heating systems. They're better for the environment and require little upkeep too. They also have a lengthy service life, so you won't have to worry about heating your home.

Use your vote wisely

Choosing individual actions to personally mitigate climate change can take many forms. One such form is to exercise your right as a free individual living within a democracy.

If you wish to invoke positive change in the world then use your vote wisely; consider which manifesto contains the best policies for climate change and do your research – don’t vote for an untrustworthy character whose willing to compromise our planet to capitalise on power.

However, you could miss out on this opportunity to bring about change due to a mere clerical error.

From 4 May 2023, voters in England will need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in some elections. From October 2023 it will also apply to UK General elections. If you don't have accepted photo ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document, which is known as a Voter Authority Certificate.

Student ID won’t work, so be sure to find out more about accepted forms of photo ID and/or how to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate.

In summary

The news can be scary and tackling climate change can seem daunting, but as Charles Harper once said; “if everyone does a little, no one has to do a lot.”

Joe Bradbury is digital editor of Housing Association magazine