- Team up and get buy-in across the community
Could you declare climate emergency as an organisation? Or set up a group to tackle it together?
There are also a number in surrounding areas for those that live at the edge of our borough.
Other community groups can also take action and there are an increasing number of tools specific to different settings. Churches can take part in EcoChurch.
You can also engage with local schools/teachers to build up support and enthusiasm among children, who are very effective at spreading messages to family! Or engage with other youth groups, such as Scouts/Guides to spread the message further.
- Use existing events/initiatives
Tie activities into other local or national initiatives to gain momentum, for example Clean Air Day or Earth Day.
- Replace lighting
Switching lights to LEDs saves substantial energy on lighting costs and quickly pays for itself within the energy saved as a result, as well as saving considerable carbon.
LED alternatives can now be sourced for all sorts of light fittings, however more bespoke settings may need specialist intervention, such as floodlights. Remember to dispose of old lighting units responsibly.
- Appliances and IT
Ensure any new appliances and IT equipment purchased are energy efficient models – appliances will have an energy label, ranked A-G, with A being the most efficient. Some appliances may use an older scale where A+++ is the most efficient.
Unless you have to, try to repair old appliances before replacing them, as new products use energy to manufacture. This prevents waste and emissions. New ‘Right to Repair’ rules in the UK should make this easier and more affordable to do than it has been for some time.
- Encourage landlords to improve buildings and remind them of their responsibilities
You may rent the property you use or occupy as an organisation. Landlords are bound by legal requirements to ensure their rental properties meet certain Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) to rent them out.
- Energy-saving advice
Using less energy is a great way to save money and carbon.
Could you train up local ‘Energy Champions’ to provide energy-saving advice to local residents?
- Public transport
Using public transport that is a vital way to cut emissions, and create demand for additional provision.
As a local organisation, promote local bus routes and encourage staff/volunteers to use this where possible.
Effective Neighbourhood Planning by town and parish councils can also promote sustainable transport.
Lifestyle, consumption and waste
- Diet and food
Diet can form a large portion of a carbon footprint and is an area that can be targeted for reduction very quickly.
Generally, meat, especially red meat such as beef and lamb, and dairy products have the largest carbon footprint. If you cater for any events why not consider going vegetarian for this?
Additionally you could try and co-ordinate with local farmers/landowners to use or promote local produce. You could aim to link this with local shops or residents, such as through markets.
As an organisation promote waste hierarchy – reduce, reuse, recycle – among staff, volunteers and building-users. This could be through guidance, clear messaging or even incentives.
Hampshire County Council's waste prevention community grant fund provides funding to organise many of these activities and more, such as repair cafés, reuse shops or nappy libraries.
Consider acting as a local hub for residents, for example, to collect some recyclable materials not collectable at kerbside, or for a local swap shop.
If your group has funds to invest then choosing ethical and low carbon ways to invest is a great option. If your group is part of a wider national group then you may be able to make representations to the wider body, for example, via AGMs.
The natural environment
When plants and trees grow they absorb carbon and lock this up within their biomass; their roots, trunks, stems.
If you own or maintain land as an organisation, particularly a town or parish council, then you may be able to increase carbon lock up through habitat restoration or tree-planting. It’s important that you get the right tree in the right place, otherwise this can be damaging for biodiversity and actually release carbon that is stored in soils. The Woodland Trust has lots of advice on planting and maintenance and may even provide free trees.
- Protecting existing land and re-wilding
When plants and trees grow they absorb carbon and lock this up within their biomass: their roots, trunks, stems.
It’s important that we look after existing green spaces, which also have lots of wider benefits, including for biodiversity and recreation. Some steps can also be taken that could save effort and money, such as reduced mowing, including the increasingly popular ‘No Mow May’.
Local conservation groups are already doing fantastic work in this area so do get in touch if you’d like to be involved.
If you own land, could you ‘host’ a local composting site for the community? Composting is a much better way to dispose of any garden or green waste than bonfires or burning, which not only releases carbon emissions but also creates local air pollution. Read further guidance on bonfires
- Low maintenance and low impact
You may want to consider low-maintenance vegetation on land. Not only will this reduce the need for maintenance, which will have an associated carbon footprint, but it may also be more resilient to future climate change. The Royal Horticultural Society has a wealth of guidance on this.
Reducing your use of mains water can also help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Collecting rain water in butts or a rain water harvesting system can reduce your need for the tap or hosepipe and is also better for plants due to the absence of chemicals.
We'd love to hear from you
Do you have any other ideas that are currently missing from our toolkits? Or do you have any suggestions on how to make our toolkits easier to use? Perhaps you have some ideas on tackling climate change?
If so, get in touch, send a message to the Climate Change Team