Climate Change for Parents

You've got here because you're interested in how you can help cut your carbon emissions and tackle climate change.  There are lots of small ways that you can make a difference.

At home

First, think about your home.  If you're leaving lights on when you don't need them, turn them off.  Switch off electrical appliances at the wall, don't leave them on standby. 



There's a good chance that your central heating and hot water use a gas boiler, so whenever the boiler is on, it's burning gas and releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Try turning your heating thermostat down to 20C.  If you feel a bit chilly indoors in winter, try putting on a jumper first, don't just turn up the heat!



You can also think about eliminating draughts, fitting heat reflective panels behind radiators to make them more efficient and keeping doors and windows closed to keep the heat in and the cold out.



You could look at switching to a green energy supplier for your home's electricity and gas.  We still use fossil fuels like gas to generate a lot of our electricity here in the UK.  Click here for how.

So if you're going to change your energy supplier, look for a 100% renewable tariff.  If you shop around, some green energy tariffs are now really competitive.

To take this a step further, you could think about installing renewable energy for your home.  You can use solar heating panels to make hot water and photovoltaic panels to generate electricity.  You could also consider greener heating alternatives like air- or ground source heat pumps, which use much less energy and emit less carbon dioxide than gas boilers.


Your food

Think about the food you eat.  Cows and sheep produce large amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that's over 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period.  Because methane breaks down in the atmosphere, its impact reduces to about 28 times that of the same amount of carbon dioxide over a 100 year period.  But that's not all, because many farm animals in the UK are fed with soya, much of which is grown in South America on land that has been cleared of rainforest.  So eat less meat, especially beef and lamb and try to cut down on dairy products.  Eating less meat makes a big difference to the climate crisis and to loss of habitats and wildlife around the world.



Think about how you travel.  Could you walk or take a bus or train, rather than going in the car?  And when you go on holiday, think about staying more locally, and try to cut down on air travel.  Every passenger on a long haul return flight puts over a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through burning jet fuel.  For example, a return flight from London to Los Angeles produces 1.64 tonnes of CO2 per passenger, whilst a return from London to Perth produces 3.15 tonnes per passenger.  That's almost half of the annual CO2 emissions of an average UK citizen!


But that's not all you can do.  Spread the word and make sure everyone you know is doing their bit too.  And if you really want to make sure more is done to reduce our impacts on the environment, write to the government to ask them to do more to combat climate change.

No one can tackle climate change by themselves, and these small changes won't be enough to sort out the problems.  We need governments to have the courage to make the big changes we need.  But the more people who are aware and are trying to make changes for themselves, the better!
You can read more about the big stuff about climate change here.

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