Climate change mitigation
Climate change mitigation is “human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases”. Essentially, this means reducing our carbon emissions, and taking steps to store carbon where possible. Mitigation methods have been widely publicised, and you may be familiar with the common phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
What can we do?
There are many things we can do to mitigate our own emissions, or to support others in making changes too.
On an international scale, all of us need to reduce the amount of the earth’s resources consumed, but as a rule of thumb, it is fair to say that those who use the most need to do the most to reduce their consumption. This is particularly relevant in developed western economies where more CO2 is emitted per person than anywhere else.
- Working from home
- Car share / Walk / cycle / use public transport options
- Make sure your next car is electric / hybrid
- Avoiding flying or cruise ships when you go on holiday
Further information on low carbon travel is available from the Energy Saving Trust.
- Use the shower, not the bath
- Use a cistern bag, tap aerators, and other water saving devices
- Avoid using the hosepipe for watering plants or washing the car
Further information on saving water is available from Water Wise.
- Cook less, use leftovers, and reduce food waste
- Eat seasonally / locally to reduce food transport emissions
- Change what you eat. Meat and dairy generally result in higher emissions than a similar number of calories from plant-based sources, which may also be better for your health
- Food which has travelled further is likely to have greater emissions associated with it from transport than food which is sourced locally
- Learn how to use a hay box or a slow cooker
The Eat Forum have provided a lot of information about sustainable food including recipes which could form part of a planetary health diet.
- Insulate / double glaze your house
- Install photovoltaic or solar thermal panels
- Use low carbon heating (biomass, a heat pump, or electricity from a renewable supplier)
- Don’t use open fires and definitely don’t use coal
- Switch to a green energy provider
- Read 'Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air' for more ideas; it’s free to download and has lots of useful information
The Energy Saving Trust have developed a comprehensive guide on energy use at home.
Packaging and delivery
- Cut down on plastic packaging, use tins or glass containers instead of plastic
- Get deliveries sent to a central pickup point
- Buy locally produced items which aren’t shipped long distances
- Buy less stuff. If you want to give gifts, think about making them; or giving experiences such as tickets to a concert, theatre production, or a sporting event
- Repair old equipment
- Buy and sell second hand, or give to a charity shop
- Reuse containers and packaging like jars
There are number of organisations running locally that can help you repair, or reuse old items.
It’s important to recognise that recycling is not a zero-emission option. In virtually all cases, it is better for the climate not to use a thing, than to use it and then recycle it. Recycling is simply less bad than sending waste to landfill.
- Plastic, metal, glass, paper, wood, electronics, batteries – all can be recycled.
Many recyclables can be taken as part of your recycling collections and a lot of other items can be recycled at the Waste and Recycling Centres around the borough.
- Start a compost heap. Even if you don’t intend to do much gardening, the waste rots down and reduces the amount of rubbish that needs to be collected. A lot of cardboard packaging material can also be composted, or used as mulch to add additional carbon to your soil.
More information on composting is available from the RHS.
- Plant and protect trees
- Add biochar to your garden compost
- Use wooden products as much as possible
- Don’t sweep up or burn leaves; allow them to decompose
- Turn the lawn into a meadow, or get rid of it altogether and plant long-lived plants
Learn more, spread the word
Politicians and the public sector rely on you for a mandate. If you want the Borough council and other public sector organisations to do more to deal with climate change, then you must raise it up the political agenda to give us justification for spending public money and making changes. Contact details for your councillors and MP are available from:
Join a group
There are many environmental organisations that campaign on climate change and associated issues. This ranges from some larger well-known organisations to local groups and projects.
Vote with your feet
There are many companies and organisations which don’t do enough on climate change, some of them are actively publishing disinformation or downplaying the risk. We should all challenge these companies and refuse to do business with them unless they take it seriously.