Tips for sustainability

1. Refit Your Home

Refitting your home will involve some initial outlay, but local authority grants can be available to help you to do this.  It will help you conserve energy within your home and offer some payback in terms of reduced fuel costs in the longer term. And the Transition Hythe thermal image camera came help to identify the areas to address – see projects for details.

A first step is to insulate your loft using natural/recyclable materials if possible. Replace single glazed windows with double or triple glazing, using wood rather than UPVC frames (which pollute the environment). Also ensure you have cavity wall insulation. Other simple steps include heavy curtains, drawn at night, and filling non-operational chimneys with newspaper or balloons.

2. Avoid Waste

Save or reuse water wherever possible: check taps for leaks, shower rather than bath, turn off the tap whilst brushing teeth, collect the water that runs from the shower or bath taps while you are waiting for it to warm up, or the water you use to clean fruit and vegetables, to reuse for watering your plants and garden.

Wherever possible, move away from goods that use unnecessary or unrecyclable packing/wrapping. Using local shops will often help here.

Recycle gift wrapping materials, or use cloth wrappings that can be used again and again, or just mark your gifts with a bow or a gift tag.

Buy furniture made from recycled materials.

Buy only what you really need, rather than what you want.  What are you considering buying that could be shared with another person, or borrowed from someone temporarily?

3. Conserve Energy

Replace ordinary bulbs with energy saving ones (these are improving rapidly, with newer models offering stronger, clearer light).

Monitor your electricity consumption.

Buy energy efficient products  – an eco kettle that boils water very quickly, laptops rather than desktop computers, LED TVs etc.

4. Rethink Behaviour

Moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle is about rethinking our customary behaviours.  Small changes to the way we usually do things can make a big difference.

For example, what do you usually do using electricity that could be done without it?  Drying clothes in a tumble drier instead of on a line, using electrical tools in the kitchen and garden where jobs could still be done manually, keeping fit at a gym when you can exercise just using your own body?

Is it essential for you to drive somewhere? Can you cycle or walk instead and if you do have to drive, is it possible to drive just part of the way and walk or use public transport for the rest of the journey?

When it comes to present buying, think about buying people experiences, rather than disposable objects.

5. Cultivate a Local Lifestyle

This is a key theme of the Transition Scheme. Much of our unsustainable lifestyle choices are linked to excessive travel or the transportation of goods/services over long distances.  The more you can conduct your life and meet your needs by accessing local provision, the better.  Patronise local business. If you are interested in this area, get in touch – we have a work group looking at this topic.

6. Practice the Rs

Respect, Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Rot.  Recycle as a last resort.

7. Be an Eco-Traveller

See: http://planetwell.com/sustainable-travel-10-simpletips-ecotraveller/

8. Learn New Skills

Trying growing your own foods (you don’t need to extend to an allotment, even herbs in small pots in your kitchen is a step in the right direction), or volunteer to get involved with local groups/charities leading outdoor/sustainability projects (see our Project Pages and Links)

9. Cut out Plastic and Pollution

Plastic is massively harmful to the environment, particularly our seas and coastlines, and there is growing evidence that plastic is also directly harmful to our individual health.    For information and advice on how to cut out plastic see

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/what-plastics-do-to-your-body.html

10. Move into Change Gradually

As the availability of our natural resources inevitably depletes in the decades to come, we may find ourselves faced with some drastic changes to our behaviours and lifestyles.    If we choose to start adapting gradually now, we will find it easier to cope with the pace of change and to integrate the new situations and circumstances that face us.