Solve climate change on a budget

Southern Highland News, 1 May 2013, Author, Lyndal Breen. More articles from the CANWin column.
Some people can afford to invest in solar panels, retrofit their home, or buy an electric car, but what can you do when it’s a struggle to make ends meet? Here are some no-cost ways to save on carbon emissions and help protect our climate.

For many of us, it’s a matter of changing a few habits. A good starting point is training yourself to turn off the lights when you leave a room.

CartoonHow many of your appliances have little red lights or digital clocks that glow even when the appliance is turned off? That glow means that the appliance is on standby, and still using electricity. Most standby power is like a dripping tap that does nothing but tick over your meter. You could save as much as 10% of power usage just by turning appliances off at the wall.

Do you automatically turn on a heater when the sun loses its warmth in the afternoon? Try putting on a jumper or a jacket first: you might find you can leave the heater alone for hours. In summer, learning to adjust blinds and window openings to manage the heat costs nothing except a small effort.

See how often you can walk instead of drive for short distances. 10% of private car journeys are less than one kilometre and 30% are less than 3 kilometres. Walking instead of driving for some of these short trips cuts your carbon emissions and gives you a bit of time out.

These are small things, but over time they add up to a big difference. It’s not just that you can save yourself some money. It’s that you’ll be joining millions of people around the world who are quietly taking their own action on climate change.

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