Small actions can make a huge difference – that’s the message from the team behind Climate Week, which starts on October 7.
A huge variety of events, workshops and activities might give you some ideas for tiny changes you could make: switch bank accounts, clean up your email inbox and buying second hand are among some of the suggestions.
Or get on your bike and cycle more instead of driving, eat more vegetables instead of meat – home-grown vegetables would be even better.
The events and activities where you’ll find all of these suggestions and much more will be running when Falkirk Council takes part in Climate Week.
It is an annual event, having run for the past three years, but this year the local authority is getting on board for the first time.
And Falkirk Council’s energy and climate officer Claire Marion hopes to persuade people that it’s not just about making sacrifices – going greener could make you healthier too.
You might even have fun, says Claire – events include a bike ride at the Helix, a green dog walk in Callendar Park and a film in the Hippodrome.
The other thing to consider is that it could save you a considerable amount of cash: cutting down on petrol, lowering your heating slightly, using less electricity will all help you save pounds as well as the planet.
“It’s not just informing you how bad it is, but giving you the tools to make small changes in your day to day life,” said Claire.
The week will see a different theme for each day, so Monday will be looking at sustainable and active travel. On Tuesday, the focus is on food; Wednesday is all about energy and how we reduce our carbon footprints. Thursday will examine the weather and the effects climate change has on that and on Friday, the hot topic is waste.
And on the weekend you can find lots of information about biodiversity, with a visit to the Carron Dams where a disused industrial site has been transformed into a haven for wildlife and a lovely place to walk.
Falkirk Council is now among many local authorities to have declared a climate emergency and many of the events are aimed at its staff, encouraging them to do their bit.
Part of Claire’s job is to look at what the council can do to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, but also to adapt and make plans to cope with more frequent flooding which will impact on housing and services, including care services for vulnerable people.
“It’s all about making sure we are aware of the risks – by knowing the risks, we can adapt more.”
She is aware that finding out the extent of the problem can make it seem overwhelming, but she’s adamant that even small changes will help.
“We can all do our share and there is a snowball effect – if we all do something we can reach government targets.”
“Climate change has been in the news so it’s a topic that resonates with people right now. Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed – for instance when you see the Amazon fires – but if we all stop buying unsustainable products, companies will stop producing them.”
To find out more visit http://falkirkclimateweek.eventbrite.com.
Here are Claire’s top ten tips for changes that will make a difference:
Practical steps in your day-to-day life to reduce your carbon footprint
1) Eat less meat
2) Open a bank account in an ethical bank that does not finance fossil fuels (Triodos, Charity Bank…)
3) Switch to a renewable energy supplier and decrease your heating temperature by 1C (saves up to 8% in energy costs)
4) Commute by bike or public transport instead of using your car
5) Stop using pesticides in your garden, grow your own fruit & veg
6) Try to produce less waste, buy in zero-waste stores or buy reusable items that are cheaper in the long run. Stop buying bottled water and always have a reusable water bottle with you.
7) Have a look at the Sustainable Falkirk Map to shop sustainably, ethically and locally
8) Reduce food waste. Many products can be eaten after the expiry date. Freeze left overs.
9) Recycle as much as you can, even on the go
10) Switch off lights and computers. Switch off your electrical appliances instead of leaving them on sleeping mode.