Going for Green: Sign up to these pledges to contribute to a greener future

CORPORATIONS and governments need to take serious and meaningful action in combating climate change, for sure. But we need society as a whole to become more receptive to adapting our lifestyles.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 9:13 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 10:51 am

These suggestions have been made by the Portsmouth Climate Action Board, as well as some readers of The News, and start with the simplest steps you can take. Decide to stick to some of them - you don’t have to commit to all! And then let us know at [email protected] or through our Facebook page, and we’ll compile a roll of honour of those helping to green our area.

- Walk or cycle to school or work several times a week instead of driving (or being driven).

- Shop local to cut down on car use.

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Walking to school or work is a good way to help improve air quality in and around Portsmouth

-Recycling more - not just bottles, glass and paper but batteries, electrical items, crisp packets and cartons and the relevant recycling stations. Learn what does not have to be thrown out.

- Only upgrade phones and other devices if they break and are not repairable.

-Shop at package-free stores to cut down on waste. Google ‘zero waste shops in Portsmouth.’

- Use plastic free personal care products. Take stock of the products you currently use – which can be swapped out for reusable or plastic free alternatives?

Going for Green

- Get informed about the climate emergency and what actions can help. Email the board to find out about a free carbon literacy course they offer.

- Switch your energy supplier to a 100 per cent renewable one. Not all green tariffs are equal though: the best energy companies fund new wind and solar farms.

- If you have to drive, minimise the emissions your car emits with some simple steps. Check your tyre pressures regularly as under-inflated tyres mean more fuel is used. Clear out your boot so you are not driving around with unnecessary excess weight. Turn off your engine instead of idling, and avoid sharp acceleration and braking. If your car has a miles per gallon counter on the dashboard, monitor that to learn how to improve the car’s fuel consumption. But better still, walk or cycle!

- Sign your name to this proposal for Climate and Ecological Emergency legislation that is gathering momentum at the moment. 98 MPs to date have supported it, as well as Greenpeace and top climate scientists like Professor Kevin Anderson at: ceebill.uk.

- Reduce the amount of red meat you eat. Reducing the amount of red meat and dairy we eat is good for our health and the planet.

- Or go a step further and move to a plant based diet.

- Learn to sew and repair your own socks, curtains and clothes. Throwaway clothing and fast fashion is a huge source of carbon emissions. Claire from Sustainable Textiles Southsea runs free group sessions where you can learn to repair your clothes, curtains and other items.

- Get planting. Trees and greenery absorb carbon, clean our air and lift our spirits. Growing your own food also means less packaging, transportation emissions and food waste. The Climate Action Board are setting up a Community Greening group that will organise the planting of pocket parks, community orchards and food across the city. Email us to find out more.

- Join a car club….many people who now work from home have hardly used their car or second car since last year. Think about getting rid of it and joining a car club instead. There is one in Portsmouth that is charging only £10 for a year’s membership right now, and that includes £10 free credit.

- Go flight free for a year. Flying creates significant climate impacts, and UK emissions from aviation have doubled in the last 30 years. The good news is that research shows when we give up flying it can inspire others to stop too.

- Join up with others: Alone we can only achieve so much: together we can transform our city. The board wants to establish community action groups in each ward, to drive change there and support each other. That could be planting a tiny forest, setting up a car club or community orchard or just meeting regularly. If you’d like to be part of such a group in your area email the climate board on [email protected].

- Green your school. Do you work or study at a school, college or university and care about the climate emergency? Get in touch to with the board find out the different ways you can green your school, from the playground to the curriculum.

- Sort out your house so it retains heat. Wall and loft insulation together can reduce heat loss by up to 50 per cent and substantially cut your bills and carbon footprint. There are government grants available right now that will cover your costs up to £10,000, depending on your income.

- Switch to an electric car. There is a £2500 grant from the government and you won't have to pay any road tax (VED).

- Get solar panels for free. If your household income is under £30,000 you can get ten solar panels for free, via Switched On Solar.