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Six reasons why we should all do our bit for the environmentIt's no longer a new idea to each do our own bit for the environment. There are few people who don't recognise the importance of safeguarding all the wonderful things that exist on the planet Earth. Climate change might not be a trendy term but it does encompass a lot of the thoughts behind energy-saving, water preservation, wildlife protection and flood prevention, not to mention recycling, tree-protection and limiting greenhouse gas emissions. There will always be sceptics but most people can recognise common sense when it is on display.
What can you do as a householder to show how much you care for the environment?
Firstly, don't fall into the predictable trap of assuming you don't count. Here's a six simple steps that would make a huge difference, provided everyone joined in:
1: Power to the people
- Turn off household appliances at night. Including the computer and TV. If the whole of the UK turned off their computer at night it would be equivalent to removing around 245,000 cars from the road. Electrical equipment uses about 75 per cent of its power at night when most people are fast asleep.
2: Waste not, want not
- Eat your leftovers in the fridge! The methane produced in landfill sites is thirty times worse than carbondioxide in the environment. We throw away around 7 million tonnes of perfectly good food and drink every year. Each family could prevent a significant amount of methane whilst saving almost £500 per year by buying what they need rather than having a surplus.
3: Trees are jolly good fellows
- Plant more trees! Every garden has room for at least one. You can have a tree in a patio pot, on a balcony and definitely in a small garden or courtyard. Why bother? Because trees are one of nature's most amazing air cleaners and soil stabilisers. They soak up toxins, soak up water, produce oxygen, provide biodiversity and even give a crop of timber when you need to prune them. Many people believe that flooding and deserts could be avoided by planting more trees (and not felling rainforests). There are more than 21 million homes in the UK. Just imagine the enrichment for the environment if each planted a tree.
4: Flicking the switch
- Switch electricity and gas suppliers to a renewable energy company and reduce your carbon footprint. Even if the company supplies a combination of renewable and mainstream, it's a contribution that is worth making. Some renewable energy suppliers can even offer you a saving it could cost you less, not more.
5: A load of rubbish
- Re-use as many things as possible. Don't buy throw away goods such as paper plates and plastic cups or cutlery. Avoid buying things with excess packaging. Get into the habit of giving things away rather than throwing away. There are many recycling sites that will advertise them free of charge. Why bother? We're back to the landfill site problem and the increasing amount of gases they produce in the environment.
6: A light bulb moment
- When your lightbulbs wear out, replace them with energy-efficient bulbs, particularly LEDs. Over time this should save you money, even though the initial cost might be higher.
What gardening habits are we following in 2017?
- There's a heightened interest in organic forms and natural materials.
- Outdoor rooms are on the increase, with a much wider range of weatherproof seating which is designed to stand out all year.
- More people are using blocks of colour for contrast in their hard landscaping, such as a single area of rendered walling in a striking colour.
- Awareness about the environment is more mainstream, with many people incorporating some sort of green facility outdoors. Many have compost bins; insect habitats; bee-friendly planting; bird feeding and nesting facilities and wildlife ponds.
- Vertical planting, green roofs and balcony planting is definitely on trend.
- More people accept that the removal of trees can have a huge impact on climate and many choose to plant a tree, even in a small space.
- People are generally more aware of planting to suit their plot and climate, including choosing drought-tolerant plants or those that can withstand flooding.
- Vegetable growing is becoming increasingly popular. Grow your own is in! It's trendy to be a vegetarian or vegan.
- Community gardening has been widely recognised as a positive activity for all ages and abilities.
- Urban green space; community parks and orchards; even private new-builds are now an important aspect of planning control and building regulations. The outdoor landscape has become an essential element rather than an add-on.