We are already experiencing the damaging effects of climate change. Extreme heat and droughts, flooding, wildfires, crop damage and supply chain disruption are becoming daily news stories around the globe. Scientists are more certain that our temperatures are increasing because of human activity, use of fossil fuels, and changing use of land than they are that smoking causes cancer1. The IPCC stated in their last report that the causes of climate change are now certain.
Scientists are more certain that our temperatures are increasing because of human activity, use of fossil fuels, and changing use of land than they are that smoking causes cancer (1).
Our planet is becoming too hot for life to exist. But it’s not too late – we can reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and limit temperature increases. Millions of climate actions can soon add up.
Our individual total emissions are the combination of decisions we make every day – choice on travel, keeping our homes warm and diet, for example.
So, what are the things that can make a difference and what will it take to cut your carbon footprint?
1. Talk about climate change.
Make climate change a subject of conversation with your friends and family – you might have seen a news story on an extreme weather event, or you could share stories on actions you are taking yourself or a good podcast or post you have read.
2. Use sustainable transport
Transport is a major source of carbon dioxide and air pollution on the Island. To counter this, many people are walking or cycling more to reduce their impact on the environment. Both are great ways to stay active and reduce air pollution. Using public transport for journeys is also a beneficial option and helps to reduce congestion. If you need to drive then consider lift sharing with friends and colleagues, for good company and conversation.
Electric cars save money as electricity is cheaper than petrol and diesel, there are no tail-pipe emissions, and they have lower maintenance costs because of fewer moving parts. As the Island’s electricity decarbonises there will be even more of an emission saving.
3. Make your home warmer
Insulating your home is one of the best ways to keep it warm and reduce the energy we use and reduce bills. Using draught excluders, closing internal doors, and installing thick curtains can keep heat in the rooms you are using. A quarter of heat can be lost through your roof so loft insulation is essential!
Energy efficiency schemes, free energy-saving kits to eligible households and home energy health checks. See Home Energy for details.
4. Decarbonise your home
The word ‘decarbonise’ might seem big and scary. Put simply, it means to reduce or eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from your home. There are many ways to do this, such as replacing fossil fuel heating systems with alternatives like Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP). Our renewable heating scenarios showed that ASHP work well for existing gas customers and are a good consideration for homeowners at the point at which they are looking to replace their boiler and recent research shows they can save up to £746 per year in fuel costs.
5. Consume less, waste less
In today’s society, we are told to be happy and successful, we need to have it all. But our planet cannot keep up, and we need to start making changes now. Everything we buy has a carbon footprint as it must be made, transported, and disposed of. Interrogate your decisions when buying things – how has it been made? What materials have been used? What will happen when you dispose of it? Set yourself rules and restrictions, only buy what you need, and buy natural fibres, pre-loved or second-hand items or even rent items instead.
6. Choose staycations, ferry and rail
Flying is one of the most carbon intensive activities in the world. It may come as no surprise that staying close to home when you go on holiday is better for the environment. Staycations boomed in popularity after the pandemic but another way that you can reduce your carbon footprint when going on holiday is by taking the boat and train travel to your destination. The 'slow travel' choice can often be more enjoyable, helping us to explore and soak up the authentic culture of a place. Could you make a pledge to be a more infrequent flyer or take one less flight a year?
7. Switch to a low-carbon diet
Low-carbon diets are full of pulses, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Buying locally can reduce the carbon footprint of the products you buy. Purchasing local food supports the local community, keeping your money locally and supporting local jobs. Not to mention local produce tastes better as it is fresher!
8. Invest your time and support nature
Help increase biodiversity through letting your garden grow or planting trees. You could also support local tree planting schemes such as the Isle of Man Woodland Trust or join or volunteer for Manx Wildlife Trust who play a significant role in protecting and enhancing nature on the Isle of Man. Restoring environments are key for climate action, supporting both emissions removals (carbon sinks) and adaptation and resilience.
9. Check your investments and banking
Is your money being invested in industries which are causing environmental harm? Many banks and investment firms are becoming more sustainable. This is due to consumer pressure. Think about how you want your money to be used and research your options. Back businesses which are committed to make positive change.
10. Protect yourself from the impacts of climate change
There are many ways you can protect yourself against climate change. Life in the Island will change due to climate change – Scientists know that we will receive more frequent intense weather events such as more rain and hotter, drier periods during the year. Rainwater collection will help balance out the supply and demand of water in your home. Consider external awnings, shutters, or other shading to prevent sun shining on windows. If you can, insulate your home to help reduce the indoor temperature when weather is hot and to maintain warmer temperature when cold. Growing your own food can help when food supply chains are threatened. Get familiar with the climate change impacts in your area – whether that’s drought, cold spells, or flooding – and ensure that your insurance policy protects you against those events.