Zero Carbon Britain Day – July 16th
Every day we do any number of things without being aware of the greenhouse gases that are given off as we do them…
Each morning we have a shower, go downstairs, put on the kettle for a cuppa, the toaster, cooker or microwave. We switch on the radio and any number of hand-held devices, in preparation for the day ahead.
We drive to work, to the shops, to see friends, go to the cinema, club or gym.
We get back home, switch on the lights, watch TV, put on the washing machine and surf the internet without even thinking about the heating being on, the hot water in our taps, the streetlights outside our homes.
We go away for the weekend or take a much-deserved holiday.
We realise…at the same time as doing all of theses quite normal things, that rising levels of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases are collecting in the atmosphere, and due to their insulator qualities, contributing to gradual global warming and climate change, and consequently, an increase in natural disasters around the globe.
How do we safely make sure that these disasters don’t become more numerous and intense? We decarbonise. ‘Decarbonise’ is one easy-sounding word. But then we look at our average day and think:
The electricity we use is mainly produced by the burning of fossil fuels, that emit varying amounts of carbon dioxide.
The grassland fertilisers used for the grazing of the cows that provide milk for our tea and beef for our plates, is heavy in nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more of an insulator than carbon dioxide.
As cows and sheep graze and digest they burp methane out of their various stomachs (methane is 23 times as much of an insulator as CO2, although it lasts less time in the atmosphere).
Nearly all of our food and other products that we buy have been transported to us from somewhere else, many of them from abroad, and have used large amounts of energy to process and manufacture.
Our cars burn diesel or petrol giving off differing amounts of CO2. The HGVs and ships that bring our goods burn diesel; the aeroplanes we take to go on holiday burn kerosene. Taking the train or coach is less CO2-heavy per mile but at the moment they burn diesel, too!
What to do on ZCB Day
There are hugely important discussions to be having about how we can rapidly decarbonise,and more importantly, we need to get on with it. Zero Carbon Britain Day on July 16th is intended to be a day we can focus on what we can do – and what we can get our MPs to do -about it.
So here are the difficult questions:
* How on Earth are we really going to decarbonise our lives?
* Where should we start, which are the most important things to do and which are the red herrings? (Can we really save the world by avoiding using plastic bags?)
* How much can we do as individuals and how much should the government be doing?
* What do we want our governments to do, then? We really need to get our MPs to listen to our concerns