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10 Green New Year resolutions from WWF 02.01.08

© WWF Scotland

Forget the usual New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or stop smoking - make one which will really make a difference by pledging to help save the planet in 2008. "No-one can go green overnight but by taking on a couple of our New Year’s resolutions you know that you will be part of a global movement to tackle climate change," said Colin Butfield, head of campaigns at WWF.

"If everyone generated carbon emissions and used natural resources as we do in the UK we would need three planets to support us. If we all pledged to take just one green action in 2008 we could move towards a one planet future."

Top ten ways to be green

1. Set yourself an annual target to reduce your carbon emissions and monitor your progress

Footprint calculators such as can help you do this. Small actions can make a difference - for instance if everyone in the UK installed one, energy-saving light bulb we would save enough CO2 to fill the Albert Hall nearly 1,200 times!

2. Install loft insulation This is one of the most significant actions we can take in our homes - if your loft isn’t insulated, up to a third of your household heat will escape. If everyone that could, fitted loft insulation to their home we’d save over 3 million tonnes of CO2 - that’s enough to fill nearly 17 million double decker buses.

3. Reduce your car use Over a quarter of all car journeys made in the UK are less than two miles. Its estimated that road transport makes up around 21% of total man-made CO2 emissions in the UK.

4. Buy more seasonal food Air freighting fresh produce has more than trebled in the past 20 years and although we could meet over 70% of our eating needs from food grown in the UK, we import more than half of the food we consume. Seasonal produce also requires less oil and gas to heat greenhouses, water and pesticides.

5. Give help to others through groups or clubs All over the country, groups and clubs are forming to help us share skills, resources, and help motivate one another. These groups can range from Freecycle to car share clubs.

6. Fly less Think about the other options to flying within Europe - trains, ferries and Eurostar. By taking one return flight to New York you’ll release as much CO2 as you would driving an average car for a year, and one person’s return flight to Australia will emit the equivalent amount of CO2 as it takes to run an average UK home for two years or a fridge for 128 years!

7. Use your kerbside recycling collection Recent research shows up to 40% of a regular household shopping basket can be recycled. You can reduce your waste by avoiding excess packaging and buying products that will last.

8. Campaign against climate change In the UK the Climate Change Bill, which will set the UK on a legally binding path to reduce emissions, is one of the most important pieces of legislation ever to go before the UK Parliament. However, as it stands, the latest scientific research says it is not strong enough. Organisations like WWF need your support in calling for stronger, effective climate change legislation.

9. Purchase energy efficient appliances Instead of looking at the price tag, look for its energy efficiency label. An energy efficient washing machine uses a third less energy than an old, inefficient model, saving us money and water.

10. Home compost On average every person in England now produces seven times their own weight in waste a year. Kitchen scraps, such as vegetable peelings, apple cores, egg shells and most garden waste biodegrades in a compost bin into a rich fertiliser which can be used in gardens or allotments.

Are green tariffs a solution? Switching to a Green Electricity Tariff was listed as a good behaviour by the sustainability experts. However, at moment there is no accreditation scheme to guide consumers as to which green tariff schemes are creating new green electricity capacity and which are not. The message to consumers from WWF is ’buyer beware’ as we cannot give a blanket endorsement of the schemes. Currently there is a UK consultation underway to develop an accreditation scheme but WWF is not confident that the latest draft will do the job.

WWF advises that there are some green energy suppliers that are doing a good job but the majority are simply fulfilling their legal requirements rather than making a positive contribution to renewable energy supply.

Peter Shield

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Related links

WWF UK Home Page

Comment on this article


  • 10 Green New Year resolutions from WWF

    30 December 2008 02:50, by jode

    Greetings for the new year.
    As a member of the surfrider foundation, an environmantal activist, and a naturopathic physician, I admire and agree with all your suggestions on a greener 2009. On that note, I would also suggest becoming vegetarian. The beef, pork, and poultry industry accounts for anywhere between 20 - 40 per cent of all greenhouse gasses. Even better, become vegan, the dairy and fishing industries are every bit as damaging to the earth’s ecosystems.
    Further, instead of suggesting that people forgo their resolutions to quit smoking, we should encourage to combine their personal health resolutions with earth health resolutions. Smoking causes pollution in the air, on the ground, on the beach, and in the human body.
    I say this because we are all on the same team and we can all help one another be personally and globally more healthy and green.
    Good and Green Health,

    Reply to this comment

  • 10 Green New Year resolutions from WWF

    30 December 2008 04:23, by surferboy6791

    Remember the mantra: REDUCE, reuse, recycle. When you go to your local coffee house, bring your own container. Don’t drink bottled water, use your own washable, reusable bottle.

    Regarding #6: Flying is one of the most efficient modes of transportation available. Most others (except rail for medium range trips) pollute far more per passenger mile. Flying is OK when used properly.

    Instead, eat less meat, (see above post) livestock add a far, far more significant amount of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Walk/bicycle instead of driving. Join a CSA (community supported agriculture) co-op and get great produce from local sources!

    Reply to this comment

    • 10 Green New Year resolutions from WWF 1 January 2009 03:09, by longboardsurfrider

      I completely agree with the strategic, intelligent use of airflight. Also the first post is spot on correct, veganism is the best way to go...feed exponentially more people, cut close to half our greenhouse emissions, use a lot less water and pollute a lot less water. We can make humanity and our planet a lot more sustainable. Like the second post says, go organic, especially from a CSA, the cleanest, greenest, most cost effective way to procure foodstuffs. Bring on 2009.

      Reply to this comment

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