Thursday, 11 July 2013

How to Help the Environment with One Simple Switch

What a great week to do a challenge; I have been car free for seven days and this particular challenge happened to coincide with a UK heatwave, yay.

When I decided to include, 'appreciate what I have by giving something up' as one of my resolutions I knew each item would have to be important, otherwise where's the challenge?

So what could I give up for a week that I would miss?  No, it wasn't chocolate.

I decided to give up using my car for seven days.  In the grand scheme of things this probably wasn't such a hard challenge as I do very low mileage, but when you have a car you do use it all the time regardless of whether the shop is 2 or 20 miles away - or is that just me?

What I did learn this week was to appreciate the convenience of being mobile and the ability to 'pop out' whenever and wherever we want. 

I thoroughly enjoyed walking my daughter to and from school - the beautiful weather obviously a factor - but I did find food shopping a bit tricky.  As I struggled back from the town centre, my knuckles grazing the floor as I wrestled with four heavy shopping bags, I really did miss my Honda, however, on the plus side I can now touch my toes without bending over!

As I was feeling quite smug about this challenge and enjoying the fresh air and exercise I started wondering if my small, seven day stint had had any impact on the environment.  God bless Google - I logged on to find out the answer and was very surprised at what I found.

I discovered the Carbon Footprint Calculator, a fabulous site that enable you to see how your life is impacting on the environment.  Enter your country and the dates you wish to calculate to and from.  The site gives you a selection of tabs to choose from which include, house, car, flights, motorbike etc, fill in the relevant information and then click the green 'off set' button.  This takes you to a link whereby you can donate to a worthy cause to offset your carbon footprint should you wish.  The causes include:-

  • Clean Energy
  • Reforestation in Kenya
  • UK Tree Planting
  • Certified Emission Reduction

Not using my car for one week I saved 0.02 tonnes, not a lot really but then I only travel approximately 60 miles.  Over the course of a year this equates to 1.18 tonnes based on my low mileage (not taking into account holiday and weekend travel).  The average footprint in the UK is 9.80 tonnes. 

I found this really interesting and ended up working out my entire household with scary results.  I would need to plant a lot of trees to off set our lifestyle.

By switching my car for walking shoes I not only saved on petrol but I did manage to help the environment, albeit on a small scale, but it also meant I was exercising and bonding with my daughter as we walked and chatted.

Why don't you have a week of walking to work, or if it's too far use a bike or car share and see how much you have saved.

27th July - 4th August is National Love Park's Week, why not ditch the car and get the kids involved, enjoy the summer holidays and go for a walk in the park!

How do you get around on a day to day basis?  Could you ditch the car?  What have you done to help the Environment?  Let me know, I love to hear your feedback.

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