Scotland’s Climate Week Review (25th Sep – 1st Oct)
Last week marked the promotion of Scotland’s Climate Week! I took this on to distribute the facts around sustainability and climate change on SRUCSA’s social media. This is an important topic for me, mainly from my studies in Environmental Management over the last two years, but also on a personal level.
It can be difficult engaging people, mainly friends and family into the conversation of changes that individuals can make in their own lives to benefit our planet. Some people are apprehensive in making changes, particularly those that can affect embedded values and even routines. I think it is important to continue making people aware of the impact our lifestyles have on our natural environment, where most of these effects take place in the home with waste, energy, and transport emissions.
Waste, and I am targeting recycling awareness within households, is a topic that requires adaptation in routine and thought process. Is it worth it? Does it actually make a difference? This needs to be addressed, mainly now that many supermarkets and shops plastic design is combining and introducing recyclable plastics. This is where you have to take recyclable plastic packaging back to the supermarket in questions, or another shop, which requires another trip. Embedding this into your routine of taking the bins out adds another pressure to already busy family or personal lives.
An interesting article here: What are supermarkets doing about sustainabiilty? – Which? – this shows which supermarkets are directly making an effort to reduce their emissions, plastic use, and food waste.
Energy, now this is a difficult one, as most students are living in rented accommodation where it isn’t a possibility to change your heating system or provider. For those people, only using the heating when necessary, turning off plugs you aren’t using or consider speaking with your landlord about alternatives. For those that have the ability to invest or apply for grants to improve their heating system or insulation, there are a few ways to make changes.
Funding, grants and choices are available, with more information here: Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan: overview · Home Energy Scotland.
The majority of energy providers source their energy from fossil fuels which then contributes towards 22% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions. There are a number of energy providers that offer ‘greener’ tariffs: Green Energy | MoneySuperMarket. This doesn’t mean it is 100% renewable and can sometimes be slightly more expensive. But with a lot of things, the more people that use it, the cheaper it can be!
Transport emissions. Scotland’s biggest contributor to climate change. Mainly cars. Now, this depends completely on your personal circumstances and where you live. There may not be reliable public transport near you, or any at all. You might live too far away from work or services to travel by bike or walk. You might not have the ability to travel by public transport, to walk, or cycle for health reasons. I think the key message here is do what you can within your personal circumstances.
Whether this be car or bike sharing, choosing public transport or bike travel 2-3 days a week instead of using the car. Scotland is investing in better public transport facilities, improving roads for cyclists and pedestrians. Under 22’s, over 60’s and those with a disability can access free bus travel. If you have an idea or want better services in your area, speak to your council or even to your neighbours to fundraise for facilities.
For more information on transport – Travel Less by Car | Net Zero Nation.
It is down to us as individuals and within communities to make small changes. If one person does, the rest might follow.
Lastly, don’t throw away your batteries – let’s not contaminate our soil and water any further – take them to a battery recycling point!
Damson (SRUCSA Central Co-President)