Are you concerned about climate change, but don’t know what to do about it? Do you believe that the environment should be protected but don’t know how to do this in your everyday life? Then perhaps you need a Buddy!
Global Climate Buddies, Oxfordshire
Inspired by Nelson Mandela’s words: “You can start changing our world for the better daily, no matter how small the action.” Oxfordshire designer Mike Erwood is setting up a local social enterprise run by volunteers to bring people together. He wants to provide advice about ways to reduce carbon footprints by making small changes to daily life. He strongly believes that small actions by a lot of people, including individuals, families, local communities and small businesses, will have a big impact.
The project centres on a website that will focus on climate and environmental issues in order to stimulate actions that help reduce global heating. The idea is to provide a communications tool to help people become aware of what affects carbon emissions. This should stimulate the exchange of information in order to challenge and change lifestyles and promote positive attitudes towards sustainability.
Mike will also use the site to provide a hosting platform and web development support for small communities looking for a web presence for their local climate and environmental activities.
Actions for Change
So you can do things like cycle or walk instead of using the car for short journeys (it will make you healthier too!). It’s also a good idea to try car sharing – is there anyone in your area that works in the same place? You can reduce the amount of electricity you use by switching the light off when you leave a room, and choosing energy efficient appliances. Mike believes that an under-utilised area in getting homes more energy efficient is in the use of adequate insulation. Insulating roofs and walls prevents heat escaping, so reducing the amount of energy needed to keep the home at a comfortable temperature.
According to the Energy Saving Trust insulating the loft of a semi-detached house saves 600kg of carbon dioxide per year. Go to a detached house and this figure increases to 1300kg per year.
The site promotes a plant-based diet as a way of reducing carbon emissions, claiming that there could be a 49% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from food production if everyone gave up eating meat and dairy products. The amount of land used for food production would also decrease dramatically, as would the amount of water withdrawn from lakes and rivers.
There is a forum on the site, designed to bring people together who want to make a difference to their carbon footprint. It’s not moderated as yet, but you can leave your message and add comments.
Climate Buddies Worldwide
There are other climate and carbon buddies around the world, each aiming to moderate our effect on the environment.
Carbon Buddy is based in Hawai’i and offers tools for carbon measurement, offsetting and reduction to individuals and businesses. They have a Carbon Buddy app for Android and Apple devices to manage your climate neutral life on the go.
The Climate Buddy Collective is a Danish organisation that wants to raise awareness of the impact climate change has on our mental health. They have developed a five step programme to equip young people with tools to face the future with courage.
Climate action buddies is an international collaboration of youth movements, aiming to link activists from different continents with each other. They want to build a simple decentralised network based on mutual learning and the exchange of stories and experiences.
The Carbon Buddy Project is a project to mobilise ordinary people to change their behaviours and lifestyle. This is done by distributing their Carbon Buddy Manual, which claims to be a go-to practical change action pack, designed for use by individuals, families, households, climate action groups, educators, students and climate coaches.
So the internet, in all its complex glory, provides links to any number of groups of people who aim to reduce their carbon footprint. Hopefully this will help in reducing yours.
If you’re looking to take some steps to reduce your carbon footprint, you can read about why cycling might be a good first step for you here.