What can I do about the Climate Emergency? Parts 3&4

I’m writing a series of articles for Exeter Cathedral’s monthly News, on the changes we can make in our own lives, and how we can encourage governments and business to make necessary structural changes. We have til the end of 2020 to ‘save the planet’. So that’s 13 months.

All articles in the series »

Or… How can we work together to save our life-support system and cherish God’s good creation? Last month I suggested starting by calculating your environmental footprint at footprint.wwf.org.uk. Secondly, take a Sabbath from consuming, because much of our activity and spending leads to carbon emissions. This month I’m suggesting coming at things from two directions.

3. Save energy in your home

It’s that time of year when energy bills go through the roof, quite literally, if it’s poorly insulated. On average, heating is responsible for nearly one-third of household carbon emissions. So insulating your home properly is a good place to start: draught-proofing is very cost-effective; look for eco-friendly loft insulation; there may be scheme near you offering free cavity wall insulation; double or triple glaze your windows. Consider up-grading your boiler to the most efficient model (although note that it requires energy and materials to make a new boiler), cut down on your hot water usage in showers and baths, and sign up to a green energy supplier like Good Energy or Ecotricity for your remaining energy needs. For the more ambitious and creative, the Committee on Climate Change says that 1 in 20 homes with a gas boiler could join a local heat network, saving 2 tonnes of CO2 per year. 1 in 4 homes currently using oil heating, and 1 in 3 homes using electric heating, could switch to a heat pump, saving 3.2 and 0.8 tonnes of CO2 per year respectively.

4. Put pressure on the Government

All of our individual actions add up, and encourage others to do the same, but we also need massive structural change. Governments are reluctant to do anything without the support of the people that may or may not (re-)elect them. So use the run up to the General Election challenge candidates about the climate emergency, and then hold the elected politicians to their promises. Through Write to Them (writetothem.com) you can write to your MP, MEPs, city/district and county councillors, and it provides advice on contacting the relevant members of the House of Lords with influence. Hope for the Future (hftf.org.uk) has plenty of resources to help churches campaign on climate.