By The Loop Team • 11 December, 2019

Your role in creating a net-zero UK

Perhaps, like many people, you’re feeling anxious about the environment and your role in protecting it.  And what about your role in creating a net-zero UK?

Sometimes people feel anxious or stressed because they don’t know how to go about improving their carbon footprint, or they feel overwhelmed by the burden of taking all of the measures they read and hear about. This is very common and is known as eco-anxiety.  At the same time, they’re bombarded by news headlines about the looming climate catastrophe.

Many of these headlines centre around the UK’s target of net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050, to help tackle global warming. To help meet this target, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) produced a near-300-page report about how everyone – from government, to business, to households – can help. “Active engagement from households to reduce their carbon footprint will be vital to achieve this goal”, it said.

Thankfully it provided some simple guidelines for individuals and households. Some will be harder to achieve than others – depending on your personal circumstances – but it’s a good place to start. You’ll help soothe your eco-anxiety and reduce your impact on the environment.

At home

  • Improve the energy efficiency of your home, with measures such as insulation and buying LED light bulbs: see this article for more advice on how to do this. 
  • Could you generate your own home energy, helping the environment and potentially saving you money to boot? Consider if you could install renewable technologies in your home – solar panels are a good place to start. 

Head to the Loop blog for more tips and guidance on how to improve home energy efficiency.

On the road

  • Walk, cycle or take public transport rather than using your car. If your lifestyle makes this tricky – maybe you live in the countryside and often ferry kids around, for example – then start by seeing if you could leave your car at home for at least one journey a week.
  • Make your next car an electric one; they’re getting cheaper and better and will soon be the norm – not least because the sale of new petrol and diesel cars is to be banned from 2040. So even if you’re not in a position to buy a new car right now, start thinking electric.
  • Where possible, use public transport or join a car club – there are an increasing number of these, some of which offer electric cars, so see what’s available in your local area. Examples include Co-wheels.
  • Minimise flying, especially long-haul. This is a tough one for many people, who treasure one or two trips abroad each year. If you do need to fly, you can at least offset emissions; there’s plenty of information online on how best to do this.

Shopping, food and waste

  • Shift to a low-meat diet. This can reduce your dietary emissions by 35%. If you’re a true carnivore and really struggling to change, try starting with something like Meat Free Mondays.
  • Try and cut back on your food waste and use separate food waste collections if available. Reduce, reuse and recycle your other waste too.
  • If you’re a gardener, use only peat-free compost, which is better for the environment.
  • Choose good quality products that will last and use them for longer. Repair things. If you’re not very handy, seek help from schemes like Restart Project, which holds community events where volunteer fixers will help you learn how to repair your broken device.
  • Share rather than buy items like power tools that you don't use often. There are now many local sharing schemes, such as Streetbank.

Think beyond the obvious

  • Look for changes that you can make at work or in your children’s school to reduce emissions. Getting kids involved can be a great way to make a difference.
  • Consider the wider impacts of your actions. For example, what companies are you supporting – perhaps inadvertently – through your pension or ISA investments, or when you buy any product or service?

Talk to others and help them

Making many of these changes will be challenging for lots of people. So, once you’ve got your head around the changes you are going to make, share your knowledge and experiences with others to help to raise awareness.

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