Earth Day 2020 - We all have a part to play in a sustainable Brighton & Hove
According to the United Nations, the next 10 years are critical in our fight against global climate change.
In a 2018 report, it highlighted 2020 as marking the beginning of the final decade in which we can realistically hold back warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
This is important because research indicates that, at this level, many of the impacts of run-away climate change could be avoided. It won’t be easy, but the UN believes it’s still possible if we act now.
Here at BHESCo, we strongly believe that everyone has a part to play in reducing carbon emissions and that by working cooperatively we can achieve more than by working alone.
With this in mind, we’re marking Earth Day 2020 by bringing together people from our Brighton and Hove community to share ideas, plan how we can work together and empower each other to take action towards this important goal.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on 22nd April to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Started in 1970, it now includes events in nearly 200 countries.
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The issue seen as the most pressing topic for Earth Day’s 50th anniversary.
How can Brighton and Hove become zero carbon by 2030?
You’re warmly invited to join us on Wednesday 22nd April for the premier of our short Earth Day film which wil be broadcast at 6.30pm on Youtube and Facebook.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion including some of the speakers featured in the film.
This is an opportunity for you to discover new ways to work towards a zero carbon Brighton and Hove. United in common purpose, we can achieve great things and improve our lives along the way.
Be inspired by local environmental pioneers who have started their own ethical businesses in the city. You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions you’ve been longing to have answered and to share your own ideas about sustainability with other attendees.
We’re sure you’ll leave with a clearer idea of how you can play your part in our community.
In the run up to the panel discussion we are inviting you to submit your questions to our panel of sustainability leaders. What have you always wanted to ask?
How you can begin a more sustainable lifestyle today
We’re sure you’ll come away from our Earth Day event inspired and buzzing with ideas about what you can do to reduce the amount of carbon you produce in the course of your everyday life.
If you’re eager to get started before the event then here are some simple ideas you may want to start doing right now. Please feel free to leave any other ideas you have in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
- Use public transport, cycle or walk whenever possible.
- If you need to drive to work, see if you can lift share as this will reduce carbon emissions by almost 50%.
- If owning a car is essential, consider replacing your existing car with an electric vehicle. Only do this when your current vehicle has reached the end of its life though. The manufacture of a vehicle may produce more emissions than the vehicle over its lifetime. It might be better to keep your existing vehicle well maintained but use it sparingly. If the time is right to buy an electric vehicle, you may want to consider leasing as technology is developing quickly at the moment and this could affect the resale value of your vehicle if you buy.
- Eat less meat, particularly beef and lamb as cows and sheep emit large quantities of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
- Choose local, seasonal produce that hasn’t been grown in hothouses wherever possible.
- Avoid excessive food packaging. Local markets and shops that allow you to bring your own containers can help here. There are a growing number of ‘zero waste’ stores in Brighton and Hove so why not give it a go?
- Reduce your food waste and eat what you buy. It helps if you plan your weekly meals, write a shopping list and stick to it, freeze items if your plans change and you can’t use something before it goes off, and use any leftovers for quick and easy lunches the next day. It’s a good idea to check your fridge before you go shopping and plan to use up any leftovers. Moving food that needs eating to the front of your fridge shelf helps to remind you to use it.
- If you find yourself left with food you won’t be able to eat, see if you can donate it to a friend or neighbour. The free Olio food sharing app can help with this.
- From home insulation to solar panels, boilers and LED lighting, our website is full of information on how to reduce carbon production within your home. Click here to see an overview of what you can do.
- Buy your gas and electricity from companies that are selling (or are working towards selling) 100% renewable power. Clean electricity is already widely available and renewable natural gas is just coming onto the market.
- Think hard about where you invest your money. Rather than unwittingly supporting companies that are continuing to exploit fossil fuels, look for more ethical investments. You may want to consider buying shares in cooperatively owned energy companies that are looking for finance such as BHESCo. Click here for further information.
- Lobbying against those still investing in oil, gas and coal helps to keep up the pressure to move away from such financing.
- Buying less is the best way to reduce waste and carbon emissions. Always ask ‘do I really need this?’ before making a purchase.
- Remember the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If you have to buy something, consider if it can be reused once it’s served its original purpose. Freegle UK provides an easy way of offering unwanted items to members of your community and typing ‘what can we reuse’ into an Internet search engine will lead you to lots of inventive ways of reusing what otherwise might be considered fit only for the dustbin. Recycling should be considered the last resort before condemning something to landfill.
- Support a local or national conservation charity such as Sussex Wildlife Trust or a local group that maintains and restores woodland such as Brighton Conservation Volunteers. You can make a financial donation or donate your time as a volunteer.
- Plant a tree either in your garden or your local area. Have a look at Plant your Postcode, Brighton & Hove City Council’s Tree Trust or type ‘Plant a tree Brighton & Hove’ into a search engine to discover other local tree planting initiatives.
- Improve your soil as, after the oceans, soil is the biggest carbon store in the world. Stop digging as this exposes more soil to the air and releases CO2 and nitrous oxides. Create your own compost and add it to your soil as a mulch.
- Avoid compost containing peat as peat bogs hold vast stores of carbon.
- Don’t use artificial fertiliser or pesticides – their manufacture releases carbon.
- Reduce or avoid the use of petrol or oil powered garden tools.
- Grow from seed to avoid the transportation of plants and use of plastic plant pots.
- Grow as much of your own food as you can to cut down on food miles.
- Don’t heat your greenhouse.