We owe it to our children to pass the planet on in as good a shape as
possible. Not everyone can join the eco-warriors in direct action, but in our
daily living we can help by "living simply so that others may simply live".
The following suggestions are just a few examples of the changes that
we can make. Keep these pages for reference. Re-read them every six months or
so and see if there are more right actions that have now become habits. Read them
through with your family or group to encourage each other to do more. Click
Here is a link to the Green
Providers Directory. andd one to a site
that guides on finance and savings associated with buying green goods.
- Saving energy saves scarce oil resources for the next
generation, reduces Global Warming and prevents acid rain
- Switch off lights
and other electrical items when not in use. Switch off the TV at night - don't
leave it on standby.
- Use draught strips on doors and windows and make
sure you have at least 6" (15 cm) of loft insulation.
- Lag your hot
water tank and consider installing cavity wall insulation.
- If you need
a new central heating boiler, fit a more energy efficient "condensing boiler."
- Gas is better than electricity for heating your house.
- Put foil
behind your radiators.
- Fit double or secondary glazing (the cling film
type is very cost effective) or get special heat-retaining roller blinds.
fitting solar water heaters on your roof. They are energy and cost efficient -
if you can afford the capital investment.
- Consider whether you really
need to buy that electrical appliance. If you do, buy the most energy-efficient
- Fit a "Savaplug" to your fridge.
low energy light bulbs. If every household in Britain fitted just one, we could
close down a power station! Although more expensive to buy, they last eight times
longer than traditional bulbs and save money in the long run.
- Use rechargeable
- Switch off lights when not in use. Ditto the TV - don't leave
it on standby overnight.
- Fit thermostatic controls to your radiators and
a programmable timer to your boiler to ensure that heat is provided where and
when its needed. Set your central heating thermostat at around 18-20 degrees.
(Turning down the thermostat by 1 degree C can save around 10 per cent of the
- verheated homes are wasteful and unhealthy. It is illogical
to have the heating on and windows open.
- If you feel cold at home, why
not put on extra clothing rather than turning up the heating?
- Fix your
Carbon dioxide by planting trees. The average household emits 20-30 tonnes of
CO2 per year. To fix this, we need to plant around 100-150 trees per year per
household - a donation of about £150 should roughly cover that. Why not
plant some locally yourself, and some through agencies like
for life The Park, Findhorn Bay, Forres IV36 3TZ, Scotland
Woodland Trust, Autumn Park, Dysart Rd., Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL Tel:
01476 74297, or
Climate Care (01865
Suntaa-Nuntaa helps community tree planting in Ghana. Contact them
at 44 Melville Place, Leeds LS6 2LZ.
- If you want to calculate
exactly how much CO2 you emit, see the address at the foot of this document.
energy saving measures will save you money - which is just as well, because in
the shops you will have to spend more in creating a demand for more expensive
- Shareyour car, especially
when going to work.
- Convert your car, if suitable, to unleaded petrol.
motorways,y the year 2025 the number of cars on UK roads is expected to double
to 40 million and by the middle of the next century transport emissions are expected
to be the largest single contributor to global warming.
- Even if you own
a car, try biking or walking instead.
- Most car journeys are for less than
five miles. A five mile cycle ride makes you fitter and healthier. You are 20
times more likely to die of a heart attack because you didn't cycle than you are
to die in an accident because you did cycle. You have more energy at the end of
a day when you cycled than at the end of a no-cycling day. Cycling is faster than
a car if you count in the hours you spend sitting stationary at your desk earning
the money to pay for the car.
- Use public transport more often. Get a
season ticket. If the service is inadequate, make sure your MP and local authority
know about it.
- Bus and train travel allows us to read, work meditate,
or meet other people. Car driving is a waste of time.
- Consider s reduce
your speed to around 55 mph: you will use less fuel, arrive safely, produce fewer
polluting gases - and you will save money.
- Drive with consideration for
others. Observe all speed limits. You are 17 times more likely to kill a child
if you hit one at 40mph than if you hit one at 20mph.
- Drive smoothly -
sharp braking and fast acceleration wastes fuel. Keep your engine well tuned and
tyres at correct pressure for the same reason.
- If you're stuck in a traffic
jam - switch off.
- Join the Environmental Transport Association - it offers
a similar service to the AA and RAC, but campaigns for environmentally sound transport
systems (Tel: 10932 828882).
- If buying a new car, choose a more fuel-efficient
one. Consult the ETA's 'Car Buyer's Guide' or the 'Green Car Guide' by P Nieuuwenhis,
P Cope and J Armstrong, Greenprint 1992.
more, bath less. Rather than a deep soak, have an Indian bath: use a shallow bath
or a bucket of hot water to wash all over.
- Don't let the tap run while
you clean your teeth or wash.
- Save rinsing and hand washing water in a
bowl and use it for the garden.
- Do not waste water on the lawn - let it
go naturally blonde.
- Put a brick or a "hippo" in your toilet
- No need to flush the toilet each time you pass water. And why
not use a bucket of old bath water to flush the toilet sometimes?
- Do not
wash your car during the dry season.
present, only a fraction of wood and wood products imported into the UK comes
from well-managed forests. A number of retail, DIY and home furnishing companies
have joined the WWF 1995 Group - a group of companies that is committed to phasing
out the sale and use of all unsustainable wood and wood products by the end of
- Ask suppliers whether they have adopted the WWF 1995 target. If
not, ask why not. Contact WWF for a list of 1996 Group members (WWF, Panda House,
Weyside Park, Godalming, SurreyGU7 1XR).
- Buy recycled paper, use the blank
side of old letters for rough and draft paper, recycle your old paper and re-use
envelopes using sticky labels.
- Return unwanted mail and ask to be removed
from their mailing list. Contact the Mailing Preference Service at Freepost 22,
London, W1E 7EZ - it can arrange for your address to be deleted from around 90%
of mailing lists. (Telesales can also be stopped by dialling 0800 398893).
we really need to take a daily newspaper? The news is bad enough; killing trees
to report it only makes things worse. Keep in touch with radio news - and respond
to it by writing in to the programmes. Get Planetary Connections for positive
news. (Six Bells, Church St., Bishop's Castle, Shropshire SY9 5AA).
SAVE IN THE KITCHEN
- If you can, buy organic food. Although
it is expensive, it is tastier, more nutritious, much better for the environment
- and is imbued with good vibrations from dedicated growers who believe in putting
principle before profit.
- Support your local economy by buying in local
shops. Buy from the milkperson(!) - s/he uses glass bottles and performs an important
- Consider unwrapping your goods in the supermarket rather
than taking unnecessary packaging home with you.
- In the fridge, use containers
rather than wrapping everything in wasteful foil and plastic wrap.
glass containers rather than plastic if possible.
- Get a compost bin for
Don't waste food! Use up fresh foods before getting food out
of tins and packets.
- Where recycling facilities exist, use them, but do
not make a special car journey. Incorporate it into another trip. Paper, glass,
clothes, cans, wellington boots, aluminium foil, tins and engine oil can usually
be recycled. Local charities often collect books, stamps, jam jars (for re-use),
greeting cards, old furniture, spectacles, wool, and old inkjet and fax cartridges.
Ask your Council about local arrangements, and press them to provide for batteries
and PET plastics too.
When disposing of an unwanted fridge, contact your
local Council for guidance. The CFCs should be withdrawn before scrapping.
buying a new fridge, consider the Greenfreeze make, which has no ozone-depleting
- Do not dispose of cooking oil down the drain. Or engine oil!
not buy air fresheners or perfumed deodorants and cleaning agents. They are unnecessary,
and may cause dizziness and other problems to some people.
SAVE IN THE BATHROOM
- Only 50% of sewage is treated before being discharged
into the sea.
- Avoid throwing anything down the toilet including sanitary
wear, condoms, cotton buds, cigarette ends or plastic wrappings and labels. Sanitary
wear can take four months to biodegrade and plastic wrappings do not biodegrade
at all; they will eventually turn up on the beach. Put them in the dustbin.
Do not pour chlorine bleach down the toilet.
- Follow the example of the offices of WorldWide Fund for Nature
- they have already reduced electricity consumption by 22%, food waste is being
composted, bicycles are provided for staff travelling locally and stationery is
- Does your work place have an environmental policy? If not,
suggest that one be started.
- Treat your office as your home by turning
off lights when not in use, using both sides of scrap paper etc.
- Get a
green commuting scheme started.
- Read 'Green Business - Making it Work
for Your Company' by Malcolm Wheatley, Pitman Publishing, 1993.
IN THE SHOPS
- Remember the four R's - "Refuse (to buy unnecessary
goods), Reuse, Repair, Recycle."
- Cut down "food miles"
- buy local or UK produce rather than those which have travelled thousands of
miles. This means don't buy fruit and veg out of season.
- Choose loose
food items rather than pre-packed.
- Do not buy clothes that need dry cleaning.
pump action sprays rather than aerosols - even CFC substitutes contribute to the
- Buy recycled or recyclable products such as toilet
tissue and stationery.
- If you can, buy in bulk - it saves packaging and
- Avoid products designed for a short life-span such as disposable
razors and paper towels.
- Take your own shopping bag or re-use plastic
- Buy Hemp clothes, not Cotton Resources
and information about hemp and green living.
- Support companies who
are making a real effort to clean up their act, like the Body Shop, B&Q, and
the Co-op Bank. Look for "TraidCraft" goods like Cafe Direct.
you have money to invest, make sure it goes into ethical funds. Would you really
want your money to support the manufacture of arms and torture equipment?
IN THE COUNTRYSIDE
- Take all your rubbish home. Take other people's
rubbish home too - leave the site more tidy than when you found it.
up and bin any plastic multi-pack can holders. Every year hundreds of birds and
animals get caught in them and die.
- Don't pick or dig up wild plants.
the coast, don't move rocks and stones in rock pools and don't take plants or
- Do take discarded fishing line home - it entangles and kills
- Water sports can disturb and even damage marine life. Find
our whether there are any particularly sensitive areas to avoid. Jet skis are
particularly disruptive to sea mammals (including humans!)
- Start a compost heap.
- Don't buy peat or plants
grown in peat. It is irreplaceable. Buy alternatives - or make your own leaf mould
by putting leaves in bin bags to rot down over three years.
- Choose independently
certified organic fertilisers.
- Avoid pesticides altogether - use biological
pest controls instead.
- Encourage wildlife in your garden - put up nest
boxes , build a pond and plant a wide range of flowers, especially native British
- Many bulbs are uprooted from the wild. Buy bulbs only from cultivated
- Plant drought resistant species.
- Install water barrels
to collect rainwater for your garden.
- If you have a barbecue, buy British
charcoal rather than imported charcoal which may have come from endangered rainforests
DON'T OVERPOPULATE THE PLANET!
you want a large family, why not go for adoption?
FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
- Write to your MP and MEP on local, national
and international environmental issues that concern you.
election times, let the candidates know that you are going to vote for ecological
policies. If you think Green, vote Green. If you are a Green sympathiser, but
feel that a Green vote is a wasted vote - remember that (in the UK) if you live
in a "safe seat" your vote is always wasted, because a safe seat is
by definition one where no change will come about except in the most extreme circumstances.
So the best possible thing you can do with your vote is to use it to boost the
Green Party, which makes the other parties upgrade their own green policies.
- Find out about how the Citizen's Charter affects your local authority.
It may cover many areas including air pollution control, litter, noise and rubbish
- Campaign for better public transport and recycling
- Get involved in Local Agenda 21 activities. LA21
is community based Green effort with the backing of the United Nations, with Central
and Local Government. Ask your Council for more details.
at least one Green organisation (preferably the Green Party, which gives more
bangs per buck).
- Above all - enjoy changing your way of living.
Right living should not be a heavy burden, but a joyful consciousness that every
one of our actions, even the most trivial, has a universal significance.
acknowledge the Worldwide Fund for Nature and Global Action Plan whose Action
at Home questionnaire forms the basis of this document.