Monday, 18 August 1997

Climate Campaigns: April 1997 - August 1997


With just over a year to go till UK domestic energy liberalisation, and with two major inter-governmental conferences on the horizon, things are hotting up with regard to climate change campaigning.  To ensure that global warming is on the Government's and Public's agenda, National FoE are launching their Climate Change Campaign on April 1st this year.  The increased activity in this area nationally resulted in a Local Groups Training Day down in Birmingham in January, which three of us were able to attend.  Although we had already begun to generate ideas about how we could increase the momentum of the Sheffield FoE's Climate Change Campaign over the coming months, the training day proved an invaluable opportunity to get an overview of National FoE's policy as well as to exchange ideas with other local group campaigners.  A number of workshops, ranging from scientific facts through to local and national campaigning issues, filled us with more ideas to get the Sheffield campaign well and truly up and running.

The National Strategy, which we aim to incorporate into our own activities, hinges on the Green Energy Pledge: an exercise aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, by making energy savings in the home and in reducing car use, even before energy liberalisation.

We have therefore developed the following strategy:

  • production of a Climate Savers pledge
  • stall in Sheffield City Centre encouraging people to sign the Climate Savers Pledge (to the Government) & the Green Energy Pledge (to the Electricity companies)
  • trip to London in June to deliver the Pledges to the government to indicate public concern re: climate change.  The message is "this is what the people of Sheffield are doing, what are you going to do?"

In order to make this campaign a success, we need to gain as much public interest as possible at our stall on April 12th. We have therefore undertaken to build a globe to attract attention and also serve as a post-box for the completed pledges.  Building of this began on Sunday 23rd February.  Although the idea was relatively simple, building a 160cm high globe from willow provided more of a challenge than anticipated.  An afternoon of sawing, drilling and assembling at last produced the world of our dreams, miraculously with no injuries sustained.  I understand the original world took six days to build, and I can only imagine that most of that time was taken up by covering the structure: the remaining task in hand.  If anyone would like to assist in covering the globe, and sewing on continents, please contact Mike Sparks for date, time and venue.  Otherwise, come and have a look at it on April 12th, or contact Mike on 296 7324 about future plans for the campaign.


By ELLIE HURRELL
Energy & Climate Campaigner


Climate Saver's Pledge - Information for Energy Saving in the Home
Energy is used and lost from the home in many different ways, so there are many different ways to save energy and cut down on carbon dioxide emissions.  As well as protecting the environment, this will also save you money.


ROOM HEATING

  • Turn the central heating down by 1° C.
  • Increase the insulation in the loft (up to 200mm).
  • Fit draught proofing on doors and windows.
  • Insulate the cavities in the middle of your house and outside walls.
  • Fit aluminium foil to the wall behind radiators.
  • Replace old central heating boilers with an energy efficient condensing gas boiler.
  • Flame effect gas fires are very inefficient - don’t buy them or use them as little as possible.
  • Your body naturally produces heat, and this can be kept in by wearing an extra layer of clothing.

WATER HEATING

  • Fit a thicker insulating jacket to your hot water tank.
  • Turn down the water heating thermostat by  5° C.
  • Fit a timer to the water heater.
  • Instant gas heaters or combinations boilers are very energy efficient.

LIGHTING

  • Switch off lights when they are not needed.
  • Replace normal light bulbs with low energy ones, especially on lights which are used a lot

ENERGY USING APPLIANCES

  • When purchasing new appliances which use electricity, always try and select the most energy efficient one.
  • Switch off when not in use.

FRIDGES AND FREEZERS

  • When replacing, check how much energy it will use in a year, buying the most efficient that you can afford.
  • Ensure that the fridge/freezer has a tight door seal.
  • Defrost your fridge/freezer regularly to help it work more efficiently.
  • Ensure that the cooling system does not contain CFCs (chemicals which can destroy the ozone layer) when you buy a new fridge or freezer.  The city council provides a service to remove CFCs from old fridges safely, when you are replacing them.

COOKING

  • Gas produces less carbon dioxide for the same amount of heat than electricity, so chose gas ovens where possible.
  • Microwave ovens use less energy than standard cookers, but the ready-made frozen foods use a lot of energy in their preparation and storage

WASHING

  • Check how much energy the machine uses when buying a new one.
  • Check the water efficiency of the machine when buying a new one.
  • Use the coolest wash temperature that’s practical. 
  • Only wash full loads.

KETTLES

  • Electric kettles are very energy efficient.
  • Only boil the amount of water that you actually need.

TELEVISIONS

  • When buying a new television, check for energy efficiency.
  • TVs on standby use electricity, so avoid leaving the standby on.

GARDENING

  • Use manual tools (not electric) wherever possible.
  • Don’t use peat - peat keeps carbon dioxide locked in, reducing the amount in the atmosphere.
  • Try not to use artificial fertilisers, as they require a lot of energy to produce.
  • Start a compost heap - this reduces the amount of methane gas (also a greenhouse gas) going into landfills.

SHOPPING

  • Chose products with as little packaging as possible.
  • Reuse shopping bags.
  • Look for products in reusable containers.
  • Buy organic food where possible - this supports local farmers using lower-energy farming methods.
  • Try and walk to the shops - if you must take the car, reduce the number of trips that you make.
  • Complain to shop mangers who leave their doors open in the winter when they have their heating on.
  • Look at labels - how far has the food travelled.  Local produce requires far less energy to get to the shops.

TRANSPORT

  • Try to walk, cycle or use public transport rather than using the car wherever possible.
  • Make a decision to make all short trips on foot, bicycle or public transport (short journeys in the car are particularly wasteful when the engine is cold)
  • On journeys over 50 miles, try and use public transport rather than the car.
  • Drive slowly and smoothly - avoid sharp braking and hard acceleration.
  • Avoid carrying unnecessary weight.
  • Remove the roof rack when not in use.
  • Do not leave the choke out for longer than is necessary.
  • Have the car regularly serviced to run at maximum efficiency.
  • Ensure tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.
  • do not leave the engine running when stationary
  • advanced driving skills will help you drive more safely and more efficiently - take the test
  • when buying a new car, think about fuel efficiency
  • do you really need a car?
  • flying is one of the most polluting forms of transport- especially short flights as planes use  a lot of fuel in take off.  Think carefully about holidays and how you are going to get there