Personal actions on Climate Change
As anyone who knows me will probably know, climate change terrifies me, and for some years now I've been trying my best to do what I can to limit my own carbon footprint and that of our family.
I don't even know if any of it is worth it or making a difference, but much of it I've done because I wanted to at least feel like I was trying and maybe help to lead by example. The other day I was pondering the various steps I've taken (and how some steps have since been undone) and I thought I should write all these things down so I don't forget. And then I thought maybe I should publish it on here because it might be helpful to other people who are wondering about what else they might be able to do.
So, here we go.
Things I've done
- 2012 - Switched to a renewable energy supplier. OK, I can't remember exactly when this was but it was a long time ago. Probably before 2012 - I've been with quite a few now including Ecotricity, Pure Planet, Bulb and Octopus Energy.
- 2013 - Stopped eating meat. OK, well not including fish though. This was more for animal welfare reasons at the time, along with having children and not wanting them to be brought, unaware, into a world of eating low-welfare meat.
- 2014 - 2019 - Insulated home - Energy efficiency measures including internal wall insulation, installing modern radiators, draught excluders and loft insulation. If your house is old or cold, this is a great idea. Like covering your home with a snug blanket.
- 2016 - Switched to an Electric Vehicle. Sold our diesel car for an electric car. Great decision, has saved us an absolute fortune in fuel and maintenance costs. No regrets.
- 2017 - Started Electric Brighton to help provide better information on EV infrastructure in the city.
- 2017 - Carbon offset our family's holiday flights to America.
- 2017 - Started Leccy.net, a little website to calculate EV charging times.
- 2018 - Purchased annual carbon-offsets for some Christmas presents for family (in particular my brother Leo, who has asked to be excluded from physical present buying at Christmas).
- 2018 - Started Hug the Plug campaign on Electric Brighton to map the latent demand for EV charging infrastructure in the city.
- 2018 - Ran first public survey of EV drivers in Brighton & Hove to highlight problems they are having, published results.
- 2018 - Didn't fly.
- 2019 - Replaced gas boiler with a heat pump. Very pleased with the results. Wrote about this on my blog, shared it with similar folks over at Better Century and published an article in the local Hanover Directory.
- 2019 - Started paying for monthly carbon offsetting through Bulb (a certified B-Corp).
- 2019 - Carbon offset the petrol car I hired to drive to Glastonbury festival.
- 2019 - Moved Banks - Switched main current account to the rather excellent Starling Bank. Check your bank's green credentials at bank.green.
- 2019 - Ran second public survey of EV drivers in Brighton & Hove to highlight problems they are having, published results.
- 2019 - Didn't fly.
- 2020 - Removed gas supply.
- 2020 - Started Dodeca Studio to add more purpose to my day job of web design. Running the business carbon negative, I've reinvested company profits into environmental charities, Gold-Standard carbon offsets (over ~100 tonnes CO₂E to date) and tree-planting through Ecologi and Trees for Life.
- 2020 - Switched hosting provider. Moved all my websites to Krystal and Google Cloud Platform, all fully renewable-energy supplied.
- 2020 - Joined the board of a new co-op electric car sharing club for Brighton & Hove, to help in whatever way I can.
- 2020 - Started a CIRCA5000 (formerly Tickr) savings account. They are a certified B-Corp, investing in businesses enriching the planet.
- 2020 - Ran third public survey of EV drivers in Brighton & Hove to highlight problems they are having, published results.
- 2020 - Didn't fly.
- 2021 - Massively reduced fish consumption (rarely eat it now). This was mostly thanks to the Seaspiracy documentary, which I knew would impact me, but it opened my eyes up to how messed up the fishing industry really is. Much like industrial meat production, it's just fucked. But it's mostly with wildlife.
- 2021 - Divested Pension. Moved my pension from Aviva to Pension Bees Fossil Fuel Free pension plan. B-Corp savings and investments platform CIRCA5000 have since announced a pension plan, which looks good.
- 2021 - Reserved an investment in Ripple Energy, to part own a future wind turbine and receive life long discount on home energy bills.
- 2021 - Took part in Hanover Action's Green Homes Webinar to share our story of getting a heat pump.
- 2021 - Updated Leccy.net with details on EV charging networks and home energy tariffs, added an experimental public API. It's a bit woolly and needs work, but hoping with the information on there at present, that it's helpful for someone out there.
- 2021 - Invested in Ecologi and CIRCA5000 through Crowdcube.
- 2021 - Ran fourth public survey of EV drivers in Brighton & Hove to highlight problems they are having.
- 2021 - Didn't fly.
- 2022 - Moved in to a rental house with Oil heating. Switched off the oil heating and purchased electric smart radiators.
- 2022 - Went to Glastonbury and to get there, hired an electric car from Co-Cars. Also managed to give someone a lift. This was mainly to avoid problems travelling by train due to strike action, but the Co-Cars car club service is great. Mention me and get £15 credit on your account.
- 2022 - I flew! First time in 5 years. Purchased 10 tonnes of carbon offsets via investment in a Wind power project in South Africa, a Solar power project in Vietnam, plus 500 trees for Planting forest gardens in Uganda.
- 2023 - Managed a second winter in our 1700's listed, thatched cottage without using Oil heating, instead using the more expensive storage heaters and smart radiators once more.
- 2023 - I flew! Again! For this trip, I paid for 25 trees to be planted in the UK. Smaller number but much higher cost planting closer to home (almost as much as the flight).
Things I'm hoping to do
Selling the house and temporarily renting again has meant going back to a poorly insulated, gas-powered home. But it's reinvigorated my thoughts about what I'd like to do in our next home purchase.
- Insulation - A no-brainer for loft, floor and external or internal wall insulation, but I would love to go the whole-hog Passivhaus route, if it's viable (telling myself I'm living in cloud cuckoo land, but: hopes and dreams).
- Solar panels - Any form of home energy generation, whatever is best suited to our next home, likely solar, possibly also micro-hydro or wind.
- Home battery - I would really like to be able to live off-grid, either through a home battery or an electric vehicle capable of acting as battery storage.
- Heat pump - Again! It'll depend on where we live but I very much hope to get another heat pump, based on our last experience being so good.
- Tree planting - We still need to figure out our next home, but I'm really hoping that we can have a decent bit of outdoor space - enough to do some tree planting on.