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Treat the Earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.
Kenyan proverb
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A tree uses what comes its way to nurture itself. By sinking its roots deeply into the earth, by accepting the rain that flows towards it, by reaching out to the sun, the tree perfects its character and becomes great. ... Absorb, absorb, absorb. That is the secret of the tree.
Deng Ming-Dao Everyday Tao. 1996
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Trees for life
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The information on this page is almost all sourced from Friends of the Earth

You don’t have to grow a hair coat or travel by horse and cart to make a difference when it comes to combating climate change. Tweak your daily routine here and there and you could shrink your carbon footprint in no time – and save yourself cash in the process. Here’s how:
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Food and Drink

In the UK, we spend £500 million every year on organic food – but the environmental benefits of organic farming are cancelled out if produce is flown around the world. The energy it takes to fly organic food in from New Zealand is 235 times greater than the amount of energy saved by using organic farming methods.


1. Think before you buy. Demand locally produced food whenever you shop – it’s your right to be choosy!
2. Cook from fresh. Avoiding processed and packaged foods reduces the emissions generated by transporting multiple ingredients and products long distances, and producing packaging. Besides, fresh food is better for your health.
3. Cook clever! Making toast? Use a toaster rather than the grill – it uses much less energy.
4. Buy food that’s in season. Out of season produce is often imported by air, which consumes vast amounts of energy. Find your nearest farmer’s market at www.farmersmarkets.net.
5. Buy organic milk. Producing one litre of non-organic milk uses more than three times the amount of energy it takes to make one a litre of organic milk.
6. Recycle aluminium. The amount of energy saved by recycling one aluminium drinks can is enough to run a TV for three hours.
7. Buy in bulk. It’s cheaper and limits the waste generated through packaging items individually. Don’t need much? Combine orders with a friend or neighbour. Try wholesalers www.suma.co.uk or www.infinityfoods.co.uk.
8. Turn the oven off a few minutes early – if you keep the door closed, it’ll stay warm long enough to cook your food.
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At home

Taking a few simple steps could cut the emissions from your home dramatically, saving you plenty of cash in the process. Right now, for example, you could be paying £200 a year more than you need to for gas and electricity.


9. Turn it down! Lower the thermostat by just one degree and you’ll save up to £30 a year on heating bills and make a real dent in your household’s emissions.
10. Set your timer. If you work regular hours, reduce wasted heat by setting your heating to go off 30 minutes before you leave the house, and come on again 30 minutes before you get home.
11. Insulate your loft. You can cut up to 20% from your energy bill by installing quality loft insulation: it prevents heat from escaping, meaning you need less energy to warm your home.
12. Beat draughts. They can be fixed easily with draught-proofing, secondary glazing or double glazing – the UK’s most popular energy saving measure (although you’ll save more money by installing cavity wall insulation, which is cheaper). Specify ‘Low-e’ glazing, which has a special heat-reflective coating that reduces heat loss through the window by nearly half. Find out more at www.nef.org.uk.
13. Dress your hot-water tank appropriately. A British Standard lagging jacket only costs £10 and insulation for the pipe costs around £3 per year. It’s easy to fit and could save you £20 per year.
14. Reflect on it... Reflective radiator panels can fit perfectly behind radiators. They are cheap to buy, easy to install and reflect back heat that would otherwise drift through the wall. They can be bought from DIY stores (avoid those made from PVC), or you can make your own by wrapping tinfoil around cardboard.
15. Pull yourself together! Drawing your curtains at dusk can stop a huge amount of heat from escaping through your windows.
16. Put a lid on it. Saucepans with lids on heat much quicker, using less energy to cook your food in the process.
17. Use your oven sensibly. Don’t keep opening it to check whether your food is ready – heat escapes and your meal will take longer to cook, using more energy. Switch it off a few minutes before your food is ready and it’ll stay hot enough to finish cooking the food.
18. Don’t buy cut flowers. Every year, the UK spends around £1.35 billion on cut flowers, 80% of which are imports. Such flowers are usually flown in, which gives them a massive carbon footprint because of aviation emissions. Instead, buy potted UK-grown plants or flowers that are UK-grown and in season. Try www.treetwist.co.uk or http://www.charityflowers.co.uk.
19. Turn lights off! Leaving an empty office lit overnight can waste the same amount of energy it takes to heat water for 1,000 cups of coffee.
20. Buy energy-saving light bulbs. Some use less than a quarter of the electricity of traditional bulbs, and can last up to 12 times longer. Just one energy efficient light bulb can save you £10 a year on your electricity bill.
21. Make the most of nature. Light-coloured walls, ceilings and floors reflect daylight, making maximum use of natural light and reducing the need for artificial lighting.
22. Use infrared. If you have exterior lights, ask your electrician to fit infrared sensors so the lights only come on when you walk past them. Find out more at www.foe.co.uk/living/poundsavers/diy_outside.html.
23. Resist standby. If every household in the UK turned off the TV at night instead of leaving it on standby, we’d save enough CO2 to fill the Millennium Dome 38 times every year.
24. If it’s fully charged, unplug it. Mobile phones, shavers and electric toothbrushes keep drawing electricity even when the battery is full.
25. Shut it! Keep fridge and freezer doors closed. For every minute a fridge is open, it can take three energy-intensive minutes for it to cool down again. Similarly, it can take up to half an hour for a freezer to regain its temperature once a door has been opened for just sixty seconds.
26. Keep your freezer full. It takes less energy to keep a full freezer cool than it does an empty one. If you don't have enough food to fill it, use plastic bottles filled with water or even scrunched up newspaper.
27. Think before you cook. Pressure cookers and steamers are both energy efficient; steamers are also easy to use and very healthy. 28. Chop finely and boil smart. The smaller you dice your vegetables, the less time they take to cook. Boil only the amount of water you need, and match the size of the ring to the size of the saucepan.
29. Keep your cool when washing. Almost 90% of the energy washing machines use goes toward heating the water, so switch to a cooler wash: today’s washing powders are just as effective on 30°C programmes.
30. Do a Home Energy Check. It could save you energy and cash! The online questionnaire takes a couple of minutes, and you'll be sent a free evaluation of how you could cut costs – and energy consumption – at home: www.est.org.uk/myhome/whatcan/hec
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At work

31. Use less paper at the office. Office paper consumption is rising by 20% a year, according to a government report. Each worker uses 50 sheets of A4 a day, on average. If you have to print, do it double-sided.
32. Switch office equipment off at night. A photocopier left on from dusk ‘til dawn uses enough energy to make 1,500 photocopies.
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On holiday

Aviation is the fastest-growing contributor to climate change: emissions from air travel are expected to account for more than a tenth of UK totals by 2020. Cutting down on the amount you and your family fly makes a huge difference to your carbon footprint.

33. Holiday at home! Flights abroad might seem cheap, but when you factor in taxes and the cost of getting to the airport they often work out much more costly than a trip within the UK. You’ll save emissions as well as money: one long-haul return flight produces more carbon dioxide per passenger than the average UK motorist in one year.
34. Go by bike. If you’re exploring locally, hire a bicycle instead of a car: it won’t produce a drop of greenhouse gas and helps burn off that holiday excess. Local Tourist Information Centres can tell you where to hire one.
35. Cut down on business trips. Why travel to meet with colleagues when you could use phone or video-conferencing? And if you really do need to travel, go by train rather than car or plane – it’s often quicker and you’ll be able to get some work done. Find alternative ways to get from A to B at www.seat61.com.
36. Spare your towels. Staying in a hotel? Ask for your towels to be washed every other day instead of every day to help save water – the planet’s most precious, and rapidly disappearing, resource.
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Driving

Surface transport is responsible for about a quarter of the UK’s emissions of CO2 – and this is forecast to rise in the future. In the past 30 years, traffic on our roads has more than doubled.

37. Do you really need to drive the kids to school? Sharing the school-run with a roster of parents is a great way to cut congestion, slash emissions and lower your fuel bill.
38. Don’t drive to the pub for your Sunday roast – make a day of it and cycle or walk instead.
39. Give your car a day off. Go to work on foot, by bike or on public transport – even if it’s only for a few days a week.
40. Think small. If you can’t do without a car, buy a small fuel-efficient one (or, better still, a hybrid): it will produce less polluting emissions than a gas-guzzling 4x4 – and be cheaper to run.
41. Change your fuel. Many cars can use biofuels with little or no modification to the engine. Biofuels are made from crops such as oil seed rape or sugar beet, and burning them emits less climate-changing gases.
42. Keep your tyres properly inflated. Almost 80% of car tyres are believed to under-inflated, which can increase fuel consumption, and therefore emissions, by up to 5%.
43. Rent-a-ride. Rather than buying a car, consider renting one on a pay-as-you-drive scheme. Find out more at www.smartmoves.co.uk.
44. Share! The number of car-sharing schemes is on the rise in this country, along with awareness of responsible driving. To find your nearest car-share scheme, go to www.liftshare.org or www.carplus.org.uk.
45. Drive with the windows up. This reduces drag, which increases fuel efficiency and lowers emissions. You can also reduce drag by removing roof racks when you’re not using them.
46. Switch off in traffic. Turn off the engine if you think you’ll be stationary for more than two minutes. Idling for this long burns more fuel than it takes to restart the car.
47. Change your driving style. Changing gear earlier can reduce fuel consumption by up to 15%. When you’re approaching traffic lights, slow down gradually rather than suddenly braking: slamming on the brakes increases fuel consumption by up to 30%, and pulling away too fast boosts it by up to 60%.
48. Don’t use the car for short journeys. A cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel as a warmer one. Take a walk in the fresh air to the local shops instead – it’s good for you!
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Green Investments

49. Invest environmentally. For as little as £250, you can join a co-operative that invests in wind energy projects promoting emission-free technology. Or you could adopt a local renewable energy project. Find out more at www.energy4all.co.uk, www.yes2wind.com orwww.bwea.com/ukwed. 50. Install your own renewable energy. You can get grants for up to 50% of the costs of installing renewable energy, and you might even make a profit: produce more than you need and you could sell the excess back to your energy supplier. Interested? Visit www.est.org.uk or www.cat.org.uk
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