Energy for our homes has become a basic necessity for most of the world. Heating, cooking and electrical appliances are all things that we need to get through our day. What we may not realise is the big impact we are having on the environment when using this energy.
Scroll down to the 'Recap: What Can We Do?' section at the bottom if you just want a brief summary of the actions you can take to help solve the problem.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Burning fossil fuels creates a lot of the energy for homes around the world. Finding and extracting coal, oil and gas causes a lot of harm to the natural world. When fossil fuels are burned they release carbon into the atmosphere where the heat gets trapped, causing the Earth’s temperature to rise. For this reason, producing energy is one of the biggest contributors to global warming.
Global warming is causing climate change which is creating problems for both people and wildlife such as mass droughts, forest fires and coral reefs dying out. It is also causing an increase in sea levels as the polar ice caps melt, causing loss of habitat for animals like penguins. This could also cause loss of homes for people living on low-lying islands which would lead to mass migration issues.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
In theory we no longer need to use fossil fuels. If we used the technology we have for renewable energy (solar, wind, and water) on a mass scale it could be the biggest leap we take in preventing global warming.
As individuals there are plenty of things we can do. Changing what type energy we use and how we use it would make a huge difference in solving the climate change challenge.
If you’re a homeowner then switching to renewable energy is the best thing you can do to help the problem. There are lots of green energy providers out there, some of which you may find are cheaper than the provider you’re currently with. So as well as a clearer conscience you could also be saving money by going green.
The same goes if you live with a homeowner or rent off a landlord. It’s worth encouraging them to use a green energy provider if they’re not already.
This doesn't just have to apply to the home either. You could talk to your boss in your place of work to see if the energy provided is green. If it's not, it's a great idea to persuade them to make the switch. If you are the boss then this is even easier to do yourself!
The issue of heating is a bit more complicated however there are still much greener alternatives to dirty gas. Green energy suppliers offer ‘green gas’ which is often made up of plant or food waste. You can also reduce your individual footprint by turning heating down or off in disused rooms and closing doors and drawing the curtains at night to keep the heat in. Making sure your house is well insulated is another way to save heat and energy, for example, insulating strips around doors and double-glazed windows.
Stopping energy waste would also make a massive positive change to the environment. Leaving electronics on standby, phones charging overnight and lights on in vacant rooms are all ways in which electricity is regularly wasted. If these things could be avoided on a global scale then the change could be extraordinary.
Making simple changes to how we use power not only saves money on energy bills but also helps to prevent global warming. Turn appliances off at the switch when they’re not in use. Only fill the kettle with how much water is needed. Hang clothes to dry instead of using a tumble drier. Switch to LED lighting. It’s just a case of changing simple things and habits; once they are a part of your routine you won’t even notice the difference.
If you’re a homeowner than you could go a step further and invest in your own solar panels or wind turbine. Prices have fallen drastically with an increase in popularity. Not only would you be able to produce your own clean energy but you could also be making money by supplying unused energy back to the grid.
Who we bank with also has an impact on the environment, especially if we have savings. Did you know in 2020 it is estimated that £16billion of everyday savings in the UK could be supporting the fossil fuel industry? Many banks are not transparent with what they are doing with our money and unfortunately many are funding climate change by investing in fossil fuels.
Tridos is a bank that does things differently. They are completely transparent and publish the details of the organisations they lend to. Tridos only invest in companies which are good for people and the planet.
RECAP: WHAT CAN WE DO?
If you’re a homeowner, switch to a green energy supplier.
If you live with a homeowner or have a landlord, try to encourage them to switch to a green energy provider.
Try to see if you can get your place of work to be powered by green energy.
Try to prevent energy waste, e.g. avoid leaving appliances on standby and charging devices overnight, turn off lights when not in use, hang clothes to dry instead of using a tumble drier and opt for LED lighting.
Save heating energy; close doors, curtains and windows to keep heat in. Make sure your house is well insulated.
If you’re a homeowner, consider investing in your own solar panels or wind turbine.
Find out if your bank is using your money and savings to invest in fossil fuel companies.
Consider banking with an ethical bank such as Tridos.