A topic that is very much in the news just now is climate change and the impact that humans are having on the environment. As a student I studied a degree on International Environmental Politics with the Open University and was left with the view that we are all responsible for the actions we take. As a race of approximately 7.4 billion people, the impact we are having is indeed dramatic. However, because of the number of people and the exponential rise in global population, it does feel at times overwhelming and that as individuals we can't make much impact.
From my studies and from previous work in the environmental sector it is my opinion that we all can make a difference, but it would be so much more effective if it was a collective effort. No matter what we do, we really do need the backing of business and governments around the World before we lose more biodiverstiy, places to live and exhaust all of our natural resources.
At PB TwentyFive we have made some small decisions that we think will help the way we operate and the impact we have. All packaging is 100% recycleable and we have solar panels generating up to 40KW of energy per day (when it's sunny). We also made the decision to support 1% for the planet when we set up the business, which means we give 1% of total turnover that is used to help communities carry out import environmental works.
Over the years I have been asked for tips on how to live more sustainably, and here is 10 that you can easily do today.
1. Eat less meat - factory farming and transportation of meat products has a huge impact on the environment, as well as the methane production from cows! Methane is approximately 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide is.
2. Drive less - saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint. Try taking the bus or go by bike. I know this isn't always possible but have a think about those small journeys first.
3. Recycle at home and at work - Austria, Switzerland, Iceland, Finland and Germany always tend to lead the way in recycling. In the UK we have traditionally low recycling rates. It's easy to do so these days there are no excuses.
4. Use refillable bottles for water and drinks.
5. Think twice about buying new clothes and goods. Do you really need them? Can you save the money and use it for something you really need instead? Or work less hours and spend more time at home?
6. Switch to renewables - change your energy supply to green energy. At this point in time it is likely to cost more money, but if more people switch then the energy companies will get the idea and hopefully spend more on the investment of future energy technologies.
7. Don't waste food. In the UK it's estimated that up to a third of all food is thrown away from being out of date. You could try doing more frequent shops (locally). One of my favourites is using old bananas and putting them in the freezer and when forzen - make banana nice cream. Simply put in the blender they make a lovely snack/desert.
8. Turn it off when not in use. Do you really need everything plugged in, phones, TV on in the background, heating, lighting. It will save you money being a little more careful with your energy use.
9. Insulate your home. Cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, fix gaps in old windows and doors. We recently bought some reflectors that are stuck to the wall behind our radiators. They have made a big difference and work by reflecting the heat back into the room, instead of it being absorbed by the walls and then some of it lost out of the house.
10. Buy a smart thermometer. We bought the NEST model and it has been brilliant. It learns your behaviours and optimises when your heating comes on and on. No more heating the house when you're not in. You can also control it remotely via your mobile, so if it's freezing and you finish work early you can pop the heating on, and if you are coming home late, two seconds on the mobile and turn it off.