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Sustainable living

According to the Committee on Climate Change, the average household produces 8 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year. This figure needs to reduce to 1.87 tonnes a year by 2050 to keep the world at a safe temperature.

As a Council we have declared a climate emergency and pledged to reach net zero carbon by 2050. We have been highlighted as one of the top performing councils working to fight climate change and are taking action to support the transition to zero carbon in the district as a whole.

The size of your carbon footprint depends on a number of factors, but even the slightest alterations to your lifestyle can help. We’ve listed a few ideas about how you can change some behaviours below:

  • Collective action. One of the most important things people can do is come together to form movements or join existing groups that can push for changes
  • Switch to renewable energy. This is the single most impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint. Many energy suppliers now offer green tariffs
  • Recycle and reduce waste. Buy fewer things and consume less. Recycle wherever possible and – even better – reuse things. Demand a low carbon option in everything you consume, from clothes to food to energy. 
  • Change or reduce your travel. Travel continues to be one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions globally. If you do have to fly, research how you can offset your emissions. Many airlines have this option when purchasing tickets. Maybe consider taking a train instead of flying or take more holidays locally. Walk or cycle where possible and if not use public transport. If you need to go by car, consider an electric one
  • Change your habits in the home. Have you changed your bulbs to LEDs? Do you make sure you switch your appliances off at the plug? (standby mode is a secret energy guzzler) Have you made sure your home is energy efficient by sealing and blocking draft gaps and insulating it properly? All of these things would see a big drop in energy consumption. To make your home energy efficient, it helps to understand where the heat is escaping. If you are resident in South Cambridgeshire you can borrow a thermal imaging camera for free to identify gaps in insulation, draughts and heating problems which are usually invisible.
  • Open eco homes is a long-running project from Cambridge Carbon Footprint.  Householders who have renovated or built new eco homes pass on their knowledge to visitors by organising tours in their homes over two days in September. The advice is local, independent and free, (although donations are always very welcome). As well as tours, the project includes workshops to help build retrofitting skills and knowledge. Case studies, including details of local suppliers, are available on the website.
  • The Cambridge Climate Change Charter gives everyone the opportunity to find out more about their carbon emissions and how to reduce them, and to make a pledge to take action.