Ways you can help protect the environment

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing the world today, and we all need to take action to help tackle it and protect nature.

Even the smallest change can add up make a big difference. Here are some things you can do to play your part and reduce your impact on the environment:

Reduce your carbon footprint

Simply put, a carbon footprint refers to the total amount of greenhouse gases you produce while going about your daily life. These gases contribute to the overall impact of climate change, and it's important to take steps to minimize them.

In the UK, the average person is responsible for producing around 10 tonnes of CO2 per year, but there are a number of simple measures that you can take to help reduce this figure and contribute to tackling the climate crisis.

  • Measure your carbon footprint

In order to reduce your footprint you might find it helpful to calculate what your current environmental footprint is and identify where you can make the biggest changes. There are a number of free tools you can use online such as the WWF Footprint Calculator.

  • Lower your energy use

Reduce your energy bills, enjoy a warmer home and cut your carbon emissions through making adjustments like; insulating your home, lowering your thermostat and installing LED light bulbs. There are some great energy saving tips on the Energy Saving Trust website: Quick tips to save energy at home

Get to know the energy rating of your home – you can look this information up online at: Find an energy certificate. It includes an outline of the environmental impact of the property as well as making suggestions as to how it could be improved.

Look at switching your gas boiler for a low carbon alternatives such as a heat pump and solar panels.

If you are on a low-income or receive certain benefits, you may be eligible for the Staffordshire Warmer Homes scheme. They offer support to help you to access funding for solar PV, external wall insulation, first time gas central heating and air source heat pumps.

Always ensure you are using a TrustMark registered provider or tradesperson.

  • Change the way you travel

Walking, cycling and public transport are all great ways to reduce your impact on the environment, improve your health and fitness, save money and with fewer cars on the road, helps to reduce congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions… win, win, win!

Green Travel - Why not make your next car an electric vehicle? We are working to increase electric vehicle charging points across the borough and in partnership with Staffordshire County Council, developed a comprehensive toolkit with loads of useful advise and information about making the transition to an Electric vehicle.

  • Use your purchasing power

Buy Fairtrade or local, UK produce where you can with minimal packaging that can be recycled. A lot of carbon emissions come from transporting goods from all over the world. Choosing local, seasonal produce not only supports our local economy but reduces your carbon footprint too.

Buying second hand is another great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

  • Choose low-carbon foods

Some foods take more carbon to produce than others. Typically, animal-based foods have a much higher footprint than their plant-based alternatives, but, out of season fruit and veg can also have a big carbon footprint.

Try sticking to fruit and veg that is in season as much as possible.

In most cases, food grown closer to home has a lower carbon footprint than food grown abroad and shipped here.

There are a few exceptions. For example heating greenhouses in the UK can be more energy intensive than the emissions from transporting from overseas.

If you’re interested in which foods are the best and worst for the climate the, BBC Climate Change Calculator may help.

Protect nature

East Staffordshire is home to a rich variety of habitats, ranging from ancient woodlands and wetlands to flowing rivers and green open spaces, all of which are crucial for wildlife to thrive.

However, our area is facing a decline in its natural habitats due to changes in land use, such as urbanisation, pollution, and climate change.

We need to act now to preserve habitats so that wildlife can flourish, and by taking some simple steps you can to help protect and promote your local biodiversity.

  • Plant more flowers

Whether you have a lot of space or just a small window box, planting pollen-rich flowers to help our pollinators and can make a big difference.

  • Plant a tree

...Or two, or three! Trees are natural carbon absorbers and your green friends. Plus, they make your garden look lovely.

  • Give nature a home

Like us nature is looking for the perfect home. You can give them a helping hand; from bird boxes to bug hotels, homes for hedgehogs, property development comes in all shapes and sizes!

  • Leave no trace

When enjoying the great outdoors, remember to take all your rubbish with you. Respect wildlife and their habitats

  • Educate yourself & others

Learn more about local wildlife and the challenges it faces. Share that knowledge with friends and family, and on social media.

After all, we protect what we understand and love.

Some great resources to take a look at are:

Forest Project | ESBC (eaststaffsbc.gov.uk)

Biodiversity: do your bit for nature | Natural History Museum (nhm.ac.uk)

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust | Staffordshire Wildlife Trust (staffs-wildlife.org.uk)

Minimise your waste

Many of us are familiar with sorting our rubbish and disposing of it in the appropriate bin.

However, have you ever taken a moment to consider the ultimate destination of our waste and the long-lasting impact it has on the environment?

While recycling is a great way to be to eco-friendly, minimizing waste is also important in our efforts to create a sustainable future. Fortunately, there are simple yet effective steps you can take to reduce your waste and make a positive impact on the planet.

  • Plan Your Meals

Food waste is a massive problem. By planning meals, you can ensure you only buy what you need, reducing waste and saving money.

Check out our page on reducing food waste

  • Say No to Single-Use Plastic

Invest in a refillable water bottle or coffee mug, bring your own shopping bags, and say no to single-use plastic. Small actions add up.

  • Compost your scraps

Composting food scraps not only reduces landfill waste but gives mini-beasts a home. For a successful compost heap all you need is waste, air, and water.

Find out more about composting here.

  • Reduce, reuse and repair

Only buy what you need, consider if you could reuse something you already have or recycle an item to serve the purpose.

Sell your unwanted items online at places like Vinted, eBay, Facebook, Gumtree and Preloved, or take items to your local car boot sale

If you have a broken item that you’d like fixing but don’t know how, don't bin it, fix it at one of Staffordshire's Repair Cafes.

  • Save Water

Water is a precious resource and with hotter summers on the way it will be become even more so. It is important that we all play our part in reducing our water use in order to protect the supplies available now and in the future. By saving water you can do your bit to be more environmentally friendly, reduce your energy and water bills and could grow better plants by watering more efficiently.

Severn Trent Water and South Staffs Water service the borough, and are good sources of advice on water efficiency, as well as site like: Waterwise and 13 best ways to save water | Friends of the Earth

For more information on minimising your waste visit: WRAPTips for minimising your waste and Waste explained to find out what happens to your waste in Staffordshire.

Use your voice

We’re working hard to protect East Staffordshire from climate change. But we can’t do it alone.

This is where members of our community such as you, can make a valuable contribution, for example through using your voice to:

  • Spread the word

Learn more about climate change and the environment and share that knowledge with friends, family, colleagues and far and wide across social media.

  • Join our Climate Change Forum

We want to work with our community to shape a greener future and are considering forming a ‘Citizens Climate Forum’ to work alongside us to influence and deliver carbon savings within the wider community and throughout the area.

If this is something you’d be interested in participating with, please complete this expression of interest form and we'll be sure to contact you once it is in further development.