Living Sustainably

Living Sustainably: 

Many of us feel helpless to know what to do for the best when it comes to living in a sustainable way.  The Green Group have spent time researching what is likely to make the most difference to reducing the effects of climate change, and have come up with the following suggestions.

We have two major crises on our hands - climate change and biodiversity loss.  These are not the same but they are connected. Both follow from the exploitation of natural resources (especially fossil fuels) in an unsustainable way and exploiting the bio-sphere as if it was a free and endless resource. In other words, the human race have collectively failed to recognise that we live on a finite planet, and have developed an economic system that depends on continuous growth, ambitions of “better” life-styles and exacerbated by an ever increasing human population.

There are all kinds of things that we can do to help reduce our own ‘footprint’ on the earth.  Here are some top tips for making small changes which will make a big difference.

1) Eat healthily and don’t waste food

To do this you might need to plan menus, use a shopping list, resist impulse buys, use left-overs, and dispose of food using the food waste bin (this produces electricity and fertiliser). Reducing food miles is a good thing and eating food in season, but this is also complex – lettuces grown in Spain may have a lower carbon footprint then those grown in heated green-houses in UK!  In particular, reduce meat (especially beef and lamb) consumption.  Meat has a high carbon footprint (eight times that of vegetable protein) and is resulting in forest clearance and high methane emissions which are damaging the atmosphere. 

2) Think about how you travel

One fifth of our carbon emissions come from travel. Where possible, minimise air travel, use buses and trains, share car transport (go electric – provided the electricity is generated renewably), if possible make local journeys on foot or bike.

3) Make your home and appliances energy efficient and use ’Green’ energy suppliers

 Insulation, efficient boilers, thermostatic control (reduce by 10C, layer up, generate renewable energy.

4) Reduce consumption

Avoid buying unnecessary stuff, buy good quality, long-lasting; second hand; mend/repair. Don’t be a slave to new fashion!  In everything Reduce, re-use, repair and recycle

5) Be informed 

Learn about, experience and live in harmony with the natural world, appreciate its complexity, diversity and beauty, value it, work with it (gardening, growing food, preserving habitats, planting trees etc).

 

In all these things, ask yourself (and God) what are the small steps that you can make, starting from where you are (and not comparing yourself unhelpfully to   others).  Living sustainably should not be in a response to feeling guilty, but something that we do with glad hearts, out of thankfulness for all the  natural    resources that God has given to us.  In all these things, it helps to have support from others, share ideas (and resources), work collectively and hold each other to account.