Lightening Your Digital Footprint

Written by Ali Fisher

Let’s be honest, it’s not been the year for socialising. A friend recently sent me a meme with a picture of a bin inscribed with ‘2020: The year the bin went out more than me’. I thought it was very apt. For most of us, it’s been the year for being on-line. During the April national lockdown, the UK’s internet usage surged to record levels, as we went online for work, socialising, exercising and entertainment, like never before.

All this digital activity is leaving a growing carbon footprint on the planet. If you add up all the carbon emissions from our tech gadgets, our use of the internet and the systems supporting them, it would account for around 3.7% of our global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s about equal to the global emissions of the airline industry. There’s lots to be gained if we can lighten our digital footprint.

Add up all the carbon emissions from our tech gadgets, our use of the internet and the systems supporting them, it would account for around 3.7% of our global greenhouse gas emissions.

What action can we take as we head into winter and, in current circumstances, are more likely than ever to be connecting online for work and social? Given digital emissions are less obvious (generally there’s no smoke piling out the back of your laptop or TV), we probably need to be a bit more planned to kick start this behaviour change.

1 Switch to renewable energy
Being online requires electricity. Check to see how much of your energy supply is coming from renewables, like wind and solar. If you don’t like the answer, consider switching to one that is 100% renewable. Have a look at http://www.bigcleanswitch.org to compare options.

Being online requires electricity. Check to see how much of your energy supply is coming from renewables, like wind and solar.

2 Less is more with emails
Apparently, we are guilty of sending 64 million unnecessary emails in the UK every day! If every adult in this country sent one less email a day, it would save the equivalent carbon emissions of 80,000 flights from London to Madrid.

3 Delete from storage
Nearly a quarter of our digital energy consumption comes from data storage so don’t be afraid to have a regular clear out of emails, junk mail, trashed mail, folders, attachments, unused apps & surplus photos.

4 Unsubscribe today
Have you checked your junk mail recently? Might be worth a peak. Likely there are emails you subscribed to yonks ago and keep getting without even realising it. Most companies make it easy to unsubscribe these days so go ahead and have a good purge of the spam folder. It can be quite therapeutic.

5 Love your tech
Over half the carbon footprint of the information and tech industry sits in the end-user devices, from the mini tech we hold in our hands to the bulkier tech hogging our desk space. If we can take care of them – protective cases & screens, good maintenance and trying not to lose them – and resist the temptation of constant upgrades, then that might just be our biggest contribution to reducing our
digital carbon footprint.

If every adult in this country sent one less email a day, it would save the equivalent carbon emissions of 80,000 flights from London to Madrid.

6 Unplug overnight
Charge your phone before bed. The average mobile takes 2 hours to charge – not the whole night! By leaving phones charging over-night we could be charging for 3-4 times longer than needed. Talk about an easy win! Plus it might stop that cheeky last look at your phone before bed which is never
a night-time soother.

7 Pick up the blower
If you’re not needing to meet with multiple people online or presenting, try swapping out some of the video calls for the old fashioned phone. As a bonus you can be more mobile with it. Take a walk and get some fresh air or just stand up and stretch. The climate will thank you for the lighter carbon footprint of a call over conference technology.

8 Don’t stand-by, switch off
After a long day/night’s work, your screens deserve a proper switch off and recharge so make sure you hit the off switch. Three quarters of us say we leave electrical items on standby. Tut-tut! On average, we are wasting £80 a year by being on standby rather than switching off. If you’re struggling with this challenge, start with the worst offenders. Games consoles switch to idle mode when not in use which consumes almost as much power as when in use.

Games consoles switch to idle mode when not in use which consumes almost as much power as when in use.

9 Website weight
If you run your own website or know someone who does, you can likely reduce the digital burden of your website by reviewing page weights. Video files and gifs can be especially heavy. It’s also worth checking if your website host runs on renewable energy.

Before we beat ourselves up too much for our increasing screen time, technology is saving us many emissions too. There is a definite upside so, like many things, it’s a balancing act. Last year, Zoom calculated that it’s top ten clients saved 685,000 metric tonnes of CO2 in just 3 months – that’s the equivalent of planting 11 million trees, and that was before Covid-19 hit.

So, as we hunker down for the winter, let’s crack on with our digital spring clean. Let’s start with cleaning out our digital cupboards from emails to files and photos; let’s lessen our email obsession; let’s check that we’re running on renewable where-ever we can; let’s get off the screen and pick up the blower more often; let’s unplug and unsubscribe.

Technology is here to keep us connected. Let’s use it as effectively and efficiently as we can. Let’s embrace all the opportunity it has to offer whilst doing so with the very lightest of digital footprints.

Ali Fisher lives in Burpham. She supports businesses and brands to help build a more sustainable future. PlansWithPurpose.co.uk

 
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Restarting Reuse

Written by Ali Fisher

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a mantra that has been around in the UK since the 1970s and has arguably had some of its greatest momentum over the last couple of years, especially following Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 in the autumn of 2017. Yet the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a bit of a spanner in the works to say the least, especially when it comes to the second ‘R’ of Reuse.

As we continue to battle through a devastating global pandemic, why should we continue to worry about environmental waste? It is estimated in the UK that we use a staggering 5 million tonnes of plastic every year, nearly half of which comes from packaging.

Estimates suggest that globally around 12 million tonnes of plastics enter our oceans every year.

WWF estimated that in 2018 just under a third (29%) of single use plastics were recycled, with almost half (48%) going to Landfill. Then there’s the other third. Estimates suggest that globally around 12 million tonnes of plastics enter our oceans every year.

The very nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, with an urgent need to stop the spread of the virus, has meant the increased use of single use items. As we face the horrifying reality that this ‘new normal’ could be around for some time, it seems a good moment to check in on how we cope with a health crisis and environmental crisis simultaneously. Ultimately, we must all do what feels comfortable for each of us in our own situations.

One of the mantras of 2020, has been the call to listen to the science – something climate scientists have been saying for some decades.

In June, 119 scientists (including epidemiologists, virologists, biologists, chemists and doctors) from 18 countries published a signed statement aiming to reassure the public that reusable containers are safe to use during the pandemic. They advise that reusable containers do NOT increase the chance of virus transmission and individuals should wash reusable containers thoroughly with hot water and detergent.

So can we restart some of our pre-lockdown reuse habits? Costa Coffee have taken a lead on breathing life back into reusable coffee cups and trying to help us kick our UK habit of using 7 million disposable coffee cups a day!! On the 5th June they announced they had adapted their serving system so that there is no contact with the lid/drinking area on either reusable cups or bottles. Starbucks followed suit and restarted reusable mugs on 7th August, with a new contactless process in place, passing reusable cups through the system inside a ceramic sit-in mug. The City To Sea team launched a campaign #contactlesscoffee with a neat 4 step guide for coffee drinkers and coffee shops alike to show how a reusable cup can be kept contact-free. Find out more at www.citytosea.org.uk/contactless-coffee/

One of the most prevalent single use items at the moment is face masks – a current necessity as they are mandated for use in all shops and hopefully will help us control the virus better. It’s not a Reuse moment that many of us will have considered before March 2020 but, given they may be with us for the foreseeable future, it’s one we should think about doing as sustainably as we can. There’s now a plethora of fun, funky or glamorous reusable material masks available on-line or locally. We bought ours from a local Guildford lady who wanted to make a difference in these difficult times and just charged to cover the material (and they’re great by the way!).

One of the most prevalent single use items at the moment is face masks – a current necessity as they are mandated for use in all shops and hopefully will help us control the virus better.

Good advice available from the World Health Organisation on how to safely wear & take care of a reusable mask.

There’s some good advice available from the World Health Organisation (www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks) on how to safely wear and take care of a reusable mask, including washing hands before putting on and taking off, holding the mask by the straps and storing it in a clean reusable bag when out and about but not in use.

A fabric mask can protect others around you. To protect yourself and prevent the spread of COVID-19, remember to keep at least 1 metre distance from others.

If you haven’t discovered it already, Noel’s Farm Shop at Sutton Green Garden Centre, just off the Guildford Road on the way to Woking, is a great way to get into Reuse. The shop offers shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, muesli, porridge and more, available to buy in reusable containers. It’s also a great way to support one of our local businesses.

A dedicated refillable zone, frozen ‘pick and mix’, freshly made sushi and dry-aged beef are just some of the new features customers at Waitrose & Partners Cheltenham can expect.

It doesn’t look as if Reuse has mainstreamed yet in any of our big supermarkets but some are running trials, like the Waitrose Unpacked trial in 4 stores which has been running since last year.

It doesn’t look as if Reuse has mainstreamed yet in any of our big supermarkets but some are running trials.

There is a new kid on the block offering us a different way to Reuse. Loop launched in the UK this July, having launched in New York & Paris in 2019, with an at-home delivery service. Well-known brands from Persil to Heinz Ketchup, Nivea & Coca-Cola will be available to use at home and then return the packaging for cleaning and reuse. It’s new, it’s different & I really hope it will be a raging success, helping to keep more packaging in the loop and out of the environment. Good news is we’ve tried it and it is available in this area.

Please do share with us your thoughts on how we can Reuse more in a safe way so that we can look after both people and planet during these difficult times. Leave your comments below.

Ali Fisher lives in Burpham. She supports businesses and brands to help build a more sustainable future. PlansWithPurpose.co.uk

Building Burpham back better

Written by Ali Fisher

‘Climate strike’ was the 2019 Collins Dictionary word of the year. Perhaps ‘lockdown’, ‘pandemic’ and ‘social distancing’ will be strong contenders for 2020. Yet the optimist in me wants to put forward ‘build back better’ as a front-runner, to focus on the opportunities that now lie ahead of us as we plan for recovery.

This month’s sustainability article explores what it could mean for Burpham if we can use this once in a lifetime global ‘pause’ to make choices that rebuild our society, economy & environment to be better, stronger, healthier and more together. The brutal battles of this pandemic will stay with us all for a lifetime but what aspects of the lives we have lived since 23rd March 2020 might we choose to hang on to?

Cleaner air quality

During March and April, the levels of nitrogen dioxide – one of the five major air pollutants – fell in some UK cities by as much as 60% versus 2019. To take a more local sample, levels dropped by 42% in Godalming and by 64% in Weybridge. The positive health impact of this step change is similarly off the scale. Estimates suggest that falls in industrial and road traffic emissions through April could have led to 11,000 fewer deaths across Europe and 1,752 specifically in the UK.

Significant plans were already afoot nationally and locally pre-lockdown to facilitate a greener, healthier, more mobile UK. In May, the government reaffirmed its £2 billion commitment to boost cycling and walking, but now with an increased sense of urgency to deliver. Surrey County Council has yet to find out what its allocation of the ‘emergency active travel fund’ will be but say they are rapidly reviewing their plans, including their ambition to develop a Sustainable Movement Corridor. Impressively, a 5% increase in UK cycling would mean 8 million fewer car journeys, 9 million fewer rail journeys and 13 million fewer bus journeys!

Food love

In April, 57% of people said they were valuing food more than pre-lockdown and 43% were enjoying it more. The pandemic has limited our day-to-day access to food, whether through supply shortages, restaurant closures or as we have grocery shopped less. More than half of us have said we have been worried about shortages of staples and getting access to the supermarket. A wartime rationing mindset has been reignited and reconnected us with the value of our food. More people are meal planning, using up what’s at home, one in six are by-passing use-by & best-before dates, a quarter of us are serving more accurate portion sizes and leaving less on our plates, we are using our freezers more and half of us are getting better at using up leftovers. This is resulting in a whopping 48% of us saying we are throwing away less food now – an amazing behaviour change given 70% of UK food waste happens within the home, normally culminating in 6.6 Megatonnes of annual food waste. As our pace of life speeds up again in the coming weeks and months, can we keep a slow love of food burning?

Mindfulness

The challenges that have come with a global pandemic, economic downturn and social lockdown have forced many to think more proactively about their own mental well-being and that of others near and dear. 50% of people say their sleep has been more disturbed since the pandemic started and 40% say they are sleeping less. What are the coping mechanisms we have put in place that may well be required just as much coming out of lockdown as being in it? Well, 41% of us are reading more in lockdown, with the average Brit now reading for 6 hours a week, nearly double pre-lockdown levels. Note to self, to up my reading game. Judging by rainbows and blue hearts in windows and on pavements, increased local creativity & art has very definitely been an upside to lockdown.

The challenges that have come with a global pandemic, economic downturn and social lockdown have forced many to think more proactively about their own mental well-being and that of others near and dear.

As the path ahead of us promises challenge, we must all commit to a maintained focus on the mental well-being of ourselves and those around us.

Shopping local

Over half of us have used other shopping alternatives to supermarkets for the first time since restrictions were introduced: 10% have tried farm shops, 9% fruit and veg deliveries, 8% milk deliveries & 14% butchers for the first time. The good news going forward for Burpham business is that 89% of people say they will continue to use at least one of the new shopping alternatives once restrictions have ended.

More broadly over a third of people are supporting smaller/local businesses more than ever before and say this will continue post lockdown. So, as day-to-day life may start to take us further from home once again, let’s remember the local businesses who have stayed open and committed to our communities throughout this crisis.

Reduced greenhouse gas emissions

As well as a significant reduction in road traffic, air traffic has been down by over 40% globally and by 90% in the UK in lockdown. Whilst we may have lamented missed holidays or important work trips, most have adjusted and got by. As future opportunities for travel further afield begin to open up again, we should try to keep top of mind the potential that even a small reduction in air travel can make to the environment. Before the pandemic hit, predictions were for aviation emissions to triple by 2050. Incredibly, taking just one long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person produces in a year in dozens of other countries around the world.

Before the pandemic hit, predictions were for aviation emissions to triple by 2050.

So as we look forward to catching up on downtime and visiting new places, keep in mind the opportunity to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions through smart choices closer to home or by taking the scenic route.

If you’re reading the on-line version of the Burpham Pages, please do add a comment at the end of the article. Share with us your hopes for positive changes that will last beyond the pandemic. What reflections have you had that mean you want to change things up in the future and what implications might they have for the local community? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Togetherness in lockdown

Written by Ali Fisher

My goodness how our world has changed since the last edition of Burpham Pages, globally, nationally and locally.

A good few weeks into our current reality of a world working so, so hard to cope with all the brutal challenges of Covid-19, I’m struck by how together our community feels in a time of social distancing and self-isolation. Despite so many of us now living almost 24/7 locked down behind our front doors, staying home to stay safe, somehow our neighbours’ doors feel more open than ever before.

Essays will be written by future generations on how communities responded to this almighty challenge. My sense is we will reflect and feel very proud of how the Burpham community came together to fight the challenge of the coronavirus.

Here are some of the amazing ways we have seen the brilliant Burpham and surrounding community rising to these incredibly challenging times. We’d love to hear your observations in the comments section below.

Caring

This seems to have been the lead response to the crisis from so many. To care. To give. To help. Burpham Church & the Burpham Community Association quickly came together to form Burpham Community Care and had a fantastic response to their request for volunteers to help the vulnerable, with 200 local people putting their hands up to help.

Some wonderful individuals and groups, including the 1st Merrow Scout Group, have been collecting food donations and home-baked goodies for busy, over-stretched, exhausted NHS workers. Others are regularly calling those more isolated to offer a friendly chat, and it’s not just a quick hello but often a half-hour or hour-long conversation. Social media call outs for much needed donations for the North Guildford Foodbank have resulted in generous drop-offs. In this time of crisis, Burpham is proving itself a strong and willing community of givers and carers.

Giant ‘Thank you NHS’ etched out on Stoke Park. Guildford Borough Council.

Sharing

Who knew that in 2020 the ultimate gift would be a 4 pack of loo rolls?! Yet friends and neighbours have come to the rescue when someone’s found themselves caught short, be it loo roll, an egg or two, some flour or pasta. Offers have abounded to help keep families entertained with games and book swapping. Generous ‘please rehome’ boxes have been left out to share bits and bobs. Cakes being baked mean slices left on neighbours’ doorsteps. Kind kids are learning a knock and step back technique to gift at a socially distant 2m+.

Appreciative

The floodgates of thankfulness have opened. Appreciation is definitely contagious. Some gestures are breath-taking. Have you seen the giant ‘Thank you NHS’ etched out on Stoke Park? Others are smaller in size and scale but no lesser appreciated or impactful, from a thumbs up to passing bus drivers and posties to the claps of applause to those delivering meals on wheels. It’s heartening to hear the many thankyous passed on to the store staff in Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Cook, McColls, The Bakery & Wine Rack, where so many are working to keep our community fed and watered. Rainbows and thankyous on green, brown and black bins seem to be gathering momentum to say thanks to yet more brilliant community keyworkers. THANK YOU.

Rainbows and thankyous on bins.

Expressive

Who hasn’t been brightened by the explosion of sunshines and rainbows in Burpham? Well done to the kids of Sunshine Nursery in Sutherland Memorial Park whose sunshines are brightening daily exercise in the park. Kids have hungrily reclaimed our pavements with chalk rainbows, Easter eggs & Easter bunnies & powerful blue NHS hearts.

By Georgie Fisher, Age 7 Burpham
By Teddy Taylor, Age 6 Burpham

Connected

With people living local in a way that hasn’t been done for decades, we are finding the time, energy and passion to connect more deeply with those around us and our locality. WhatsApp and Facebook groups are popping up for streets and roads to help connect neighbours. We are being given the opportunity to reconnect with nature. With less traffic drowning out the birdsong and daily exercise providing opportunities to visit some of our quieter outdoor spots, now is a unique moment to drink in the wonders of nature that surround us.

This is an unprecedented time of challenge, struggle, sadness and hardship but our local community is shining through with its kindness and togetherness, in a way that could leave a positive lasting legacy for Burpham locals.

Useful local contacts:

Burpham Community Care
support@burphamca.org.uk or telephone 07880 586455

North Guildford Food Bank – Facebook at www.facebook.com/NorthGuildfordFoodBank/ or website at northguildfordfoodbank.co.uk

 

Growing Local

Written by Ali Fisher

We loved the idea of being able to walk to Sainsbury’s, have a kid’s party at the village hall, grab a takeaway from the parade of shops (spoilt with options of a Chinese meal from Shangri-La, fish and chips from Seafare, a hand-made meal from Cook or a curry from Rajdoot!), get a dress dry-cleaned at Coronet’s or a half-term haircut at M&R Barbers or perhaps an indulgent blow-dry at Beyond the Mirror.

Then on top there’s everything that our historic town of Guildford has to offer us: 2 train stations, a castle, a cathedral, an abundance of shops and services and so much more. Burpham, and its surrounding area, is blessed with its abundance.

Yet with abundance comes the risk of value destruction. When things are harder to reach, when we have to work harder to get them, that tends to be when we value them most. We must be mindful to nurture what is on our doorstep, not to take it for granted. Next time you’re passing the Kingpost Parade, make a quick mental list of what’s there and whether you might have an opportunity to support them in 2020. Likewise, could we do more to support the events happening in our area to help keep them running?

Next time you’re passing the Kingpost Parade, make a quick mental list of what’s there and whether you might have an opportunity to support them in 2020.

Burpham and Guildford have felt the pangs of regret before when we have lost local services and amenities. During our Burpham residency, we have seen the fishmonger’s go, as well as HSBC bank. Before our time, the Green Man Pub closed in 2006, after 400 years on the London Road site i. In Guildford, rumours run fast of Debenhams and House of Fraser on the brink of bankruptcy. The top of the High Street is half ghost town with empty shells where Maplins, Giraffe and The Chilli Pickle once resided. Does anyone remember the wonderful travelling library that visited Sutherland Memorial Park once upon a time? Sadly that service was cut many moons ago – a significant loss for the Burpham community. Our area is not unusual in seeing so many closures and losses. In 2018, Britain saw an average of 16 store closures every day (compared to only 9 openings). ii

Spending locally might also make you happy. Helping others releases the hormone oxytocin which boosts mood and can help counteract the dreaded stress hormone cortisol.

What benefits can supporting local bring? Well, research has proven that buying local grows local. Research in the US has shown that independent retailers can return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to the community in which they operate versus national retailers. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national rivals iii. Closer to home, Preston in Lancashire worked on a concept of locally in-sourcing, not out-sourcing, having discovered that only 5% of investment remained in Preston and only 31% stayed within Lancashire. The result of the refocus was that an additional £200 million worth of investment remained within Preston. iv

Many Burpham businesses are long-term supporters and investors in our community. With children at both Burpham Primary and George Abbot, I have seen our local businesses supporting our schools year after year, with sponsorships, donations or in-kind contributions, helping the schools and children to flourish. This support means so much when 4 out of 5 state schools in England are predicted to be worse off in 2020 in real terms than they were in 2015. v

For many of us, shopping local is another way to lower our carbon footprint, get a bit of fresh air and stretch the legs. Did anyone set a New Year’s resolution to buy less on-line and shop more locally? If not, now’s your chance! If you’ve got any suggestions for locally based gift buying, please add ideas in the comments section of this article on http://www.burpham-pages.co.uk. Perhaps you know of a cake-making business or a party company, a local electrician or plumber? Not all our local businesses reside in Kingpost Parade so give them a shout out here and help us to grow local.

Spending locally might also make you happy. Helping others releases the hormone oxytocin which boosts mood and can help counteract the dreaded stress hormone cortisol.

Some stay-local oxytocin boosting ideas to try:

  • Visit Guildford library next time you are in town or email libraries@surreycc.gov.uk in advance to borrow something from their ‘Library of Things’.
  • Any free Fridays? Buy fresh from the artisan bakeries, fruit and veg & flower stalls on North Street every Friday (cuts down on your plastic footprint too!).
  • Support Guildford’s iconic Cathedral with a Cathedral tour by emailing visit@guildford-cathedral.org. The ‘Tower Tour’ includes a climb of the 249 Cathedral steps to the top of the Tower to bask in stunning views across Surrey.
  • Check out the latest Burpham Community Association events to join at www.burphamca.org.uk
  • Looking for a treat night out? When did you last seek some local theatre, musical, dance or comedy from one of our local arts houses? Yvonne Arnaud, G Live, Woking New Victoria or the Electric Theatre to name a few. Check out their latest What’s On lists.
  • Looking to support or learn more about the local environment, check out Guildford Green Drinks regularly updated calendar of events at www.greendrinks.org/Surrey/Guildford

With the time-old adage of ‘use them or lose them’, there’s never been a better time for our environment, health and community to support local.

Local shops on Kingpost Parade:

Coronet Cleaning Centre
01483 563670
Shangri-La
www.shangrilacityguildford.co.uk
M & R Barbers
www.mrbarbershop.co.uk
Seymours Estate Agents
www.seymours-estates.co.uk/branches/burpham
COOK Guildford
www.cookfood.net
The Bakery
www.thebakeryshop.co.uk
The Beach
www.thebeach-tanning.com/tanning-salon-guildford/
White Barnes Carpets & Flooring
www.whitebarnes.co.uk
Rajdoot Tandoori
www.rajdootguildford.co.uk
Ace Bicycles
www.acebicycles.co.uk
Wine Rack
www.winerack.co.uk/stores/guildford/
McColl’s
www.mccolls.co.uk
Beyond the Mirror
www.beyondthemirror.business.site
Stevensons
www.stevensons.co.uk
Seafare
www.seafare-burpham.co.uk
Lodge Brothers
www.lodgebros.co.uk/funeral-directors/burpham/

Sources:
i Surrey Live (2009) Aldi attacked as old pub is bulldozed. Available at: https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/aldi-attacked-old-pub-bulldozed-4825469 (Accessed: 29.01.20)
ii Emily Mee / Sky News (April 2019) High street crisis. Available at: https://news.sky.com/story/high-street-crisis-record-number-of-shops-disappeared-in-2018-11688874 (Accessed: 29.01.20)
iii Mass.Gov (Aug 2013) Think Local! Available at: https://blog.mass.gov/blog/consumer-advice/think-local-7-reasons-why-supporting-local-business-is-good-for-your-community/ (Accessed: 29.01.20)
iv Rob Hopkins (October 2019) From What Is To What If.
v Sally Weale/The Guardian (September 2019) Funding for 80% of schools in England ‘worse next year than 2015’. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/sep/30/funding-80-percent-schools-england-worse-next-year (Accessed: 29 Jan 2020)

 

Flying Light in 2020

Written by Ali Fisher

We are increasingly concerned about, and mindful of, our environmental footprint on the planet. But are enough of us considering our wing-print in the skies?

Burpham is just 20 miles away from the World’s 7th busiest airport,
carrying 78 million passengers every year i. Whilst air travel might account for only 3% of European greenhouse gas emissions ii, here are a few reasons you might want to think about whether you can fly lighter this year:

  • If global aviation was a country,
  • it would rank amongst the 10 most polluting nations.iii
  • UK CO2 emissions from aviation have doubled over the last 20-25 years and are predicted to continue to grow.iv
  • One transatlantic flight can create the same carbon footprint as an average year of driving.v
  • Avoiding one long-haul flight can save more emissions than switching to green energy or eating a plant-based diet.vi (See diagram below)
  • More Brits flew abroad in 2018 than any other nationality, flying 126.2m times.vii

So, with Heathrow & Gatwick right on our doorstep, what can we do
to fly lighter in 2020?

Fly less

Join the 20% of the public who say they have already reduced the number of flights they take because of climate concerns.viii

Business connections:
If you fly with work, can you switch any flights for remote connections? Tech is absolutely our friend here. 

Staycations:
Perhaps your next holiday could be UK based? Last summer saw a 13% increase in the number of Brits booking hotels at home.ix Or be part of
the 21 million UK camping & caravanning trips predicted for 2020, with Brits choosing to ‘get away from it all’, ‘connect with nature’ and disconnect from tech.x Fancy a few nights away in a bell tent, pod or a yurt? There are plenty of top notch camping and glamping sites right here in our beautiful Surrey.

Eurostar:
Their high speed trains emit up to 90% less carbon London to Paris compared to flying and produce less carbon per passenger than individual car journeys from central London to Heathrow!xi (See diagram below)

Hashtag your tagskryt:
If you are one of the groovy people taking the time to enjoy the lesser emission emitting train travel, then share your ‘train brag’ with others and #tagskryt on social media. Let’s swap out flight shame and swap in train pride. 

Ask for climate perks:
Ask your employer to sign up to Climate Perks, offering additional holiday days to enable ‘slow’ travel as an alternative to flying. 

Fly smarter

Off-setting:
This is an area of heated debate as it’s still keeping planes and pollution in the air. But if you are flying, consider off-setting to support other means of fighting the climate crisis such as tree planting.

At the moment only 1% of passengers choose to offset but this has grown 140-fold in ten years and offset 430m tonnes of emissions.xii 

Fly direct:
If you do fly, try and go direct wherever possible. According to a 2010 NASA report, 25% of airplane emissions come from taxiing, take-off and landing.xiii

Fly economy:
The more space efficient we are when we fly, the fewer planes we need in the air. Business class carries around triple the carbon sins of economy and First class four times.xiv 

Consider off-setting to support other means of fighting the climate crisis such as tree planting. At the moment only 1% of passengers choose to offset.

Share your flygskam:
If you already feel ‘flygskam’ or ‘flight shame’ – an expression born in Greta Thunberg’s native Sweden – share it with others. A problem shared is a problem halved and it might inspire others to fly lighter this year.

Be a conscious consumer:
If you are flying, ask your airline what they are doing to combat the climate emergency. Customers have power – look at the changes we have seen in the last 2 years in reducing single-use plastics.

What are the airlines doing to combat their growing carbon footprint?

Design:
Airlines have been investing in light-weighting and stream-lining designs
to reduce fuel consumption, cutting an estimated 1-2% of emissions a year.xv

Sustainable aviation fuel:
IAG, parent company to British Airways, recently announced an investment of $400m in developing more sustainable aviation fuels.xvi

Electric & hybrids:
Rolls-Royce, Airbus & Siemens partnered to develop the E-Fan X fully electric two-seater plane which flew across the English Channel in 2015. Their target is to have zero CO2 emission aircraft by the early 2030s for domestic and short-haul flights.xvii

Off-setting:
Some airlines are investing in off-setting. It doesn’t take the problem away but it is a positive interim step. Easyjet announced at the end of 2019 that they would be investing £25m annually in carbon offsets.

So where does that leave us?

The UK is committed to net zero greenhouse gases by 2050. Yet in aviation, technological improvements are creating just 1% annual carbon savings as the industry continues to grow at 4-5% a year. So everything we can do to fly less and fly smarter this year should set us up for a lighter wing print and a lot less flygskam!

Sources:
i Christine Bednarz/National Geographic (10/2018) The 10 busiest airports in the world. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/lists/transportation/worlds-busiest-airports-things-to-do-layover/
ii & iii European Commission. Reducing emissions from aviation. https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/aviation_en
iv Stuart Clark/The Guardian (11/2019) Can we have net zero emissions and still fly? https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/nov/24/can-we-fly-and-have-net-zero-emissions-air-industry-e-fan-x-rolls-royce-engines-kerosine-carbon-2050
v Duncan Clark/The Guardian (9/2010) The surprisingly complex truth about planes and climate change. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2010/sep/09/carbon-emissions-planes-shipping
vi Signe Dean/Science Alert (7/2018. There’s one simple thing you should do if you really want to reduce your carbon footprint. https://www.sciencealert.com/the-best-ways-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint-environment-science-less-children
vii Stuart Clark/The Guardian (11/2019) Can we have net zero emissions and still fly? https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/nov/24/can-we-fly-and-have-net-zero-emissions-air-industry-e-fan-x-rolls-royce-engines-kerosine-carbon-2050
viii Edie (11/2019) From plastics to rewilding: How Eurostar is gaining a competitive edge in the era of eco-travel. https://www.edie.net/library/From-plastics-to-rewilding–How-Eurostar-is-gaining-a-competitive-edge-in-the-era-of-eco-travel/6947
ix Phil Davies/Travel Weekly (3/2019. Summer staycation searches and bookings ‘up by a third’. http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/327837/summer-staycation-seaches-and-bookings-up-by-a-third
x International Glamping Business (1/2017) Glamping more popular than ever in the UK. https://www.glampingbusiness.com/2017/01/06/glamping-popular-ever-uk/
xi Edie (11/2019) From plastics to rewilding: How Eurostar is gaining a competitive edge in the era of eco-travel. https://www.edie.net/library/From-plastics-to-rewilding–How-Eurostar-is-gaining-a-competitive-edge-in-the-era-of-eco-travel/6947
xii John Vidal/The Guardian (8/2019) Offsetting carbon emissions: ‘It has proved a minefield.’ https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/aug/02/offsetting-carbon-emissions-how-to-travel-options
xiii Tatiana Schlossberg/The New York Times (7/2017) Flying is bad for the planet. You can help make it better. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/climate/airplane-pollution-global-warming.html
xiv BBC News (8/2019) Climate change: Should you fly, drive or take the train? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49349566
xv Helen Coffey/The Independent (6/2019) Flygskam: What is the flight-shaming enivornmental
movement that’s sweeping Europe?
https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/flygskam-anti-flying-flight-shaming-sweden-greta-thornberg-environment-air-travel-train-brag-a8945196.html
xvi International Airlines Group (10/2019) IAG backs net zero emissions by 2050. https://www.iairgroup.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/newsroom-listing/2019/net-zero-emissions
xvii Stuart Clark/ The Guardian (11/2019) Can we have net zero emissions and still fly? https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/nov/24/can-we-fly-and-have-net-zero-emissions-air-industry-e-fan-x-rolls-royce-engines-kerosine-carbon-2050

 

Autumn outside in Surrey

Written by Ali Fisher

This Autumn let’s challenge ourselves to get outside more. It’s better for us and it’s better for the planet. Living in Surrey we are rich in opportunities to imbibe in the wonders of nature. So, what’s stopping us?

Better for Us: A 2018 report from the University of East Anglia analysed 140 studies involving 290 million people and concluded that nature really does provide a health boost. The health benefits of living close to nature and spending time outside include reducing the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.i

Getting back to nature, can even improve our work. The human brain can struggle to cope with the daily information overload of modern life. Being in nature restores depleted attention reserves and can help with our creativity and problem-solving.ii Definitely a nudge to leave our desks and head outside for a daily stroll and some natural inspiration.

Better for the Planet: As Sir David Attenborough has wisely put it, “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” A deeper connectivity with nature will inspire more of us to take care of the precious environment that we inhabit.

When we look back at our (mostly) sunny summer, can we honestly say we made the most of our outdoors time, recharging on Vitamin D and connecting with the natural world around us? If you answered no, then you are not alone. 9 out of 10 of us are spending close to 22 hours inside every day, despite 39% of us recognising that daylight significantly affects our mood.iii

For many of our kids the lure of the screen is just too much, meaning the average child in Britain spends twice as much time in-front of a screen than they do outdoors, with 4 hours every day in-front of a screen versus just an hour and a half playing outside.iv

So, if you’re feeling inspired to spend a bit more time outdoors this autumn, here’s a taster of just a handful of the opportunities on our Surrey doorstep:

As Sir David Attenborough has wisely put it, “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” A deeper connectivity with nature will inspire more of us to take care of the precious environment that we inhabit.

  1. Did you know Surrey is England’s most wooded county? Woodland makes up 23% of the county’s land area, more than double the UK average of 8.5%.v So why not make the most of our precious woodland treasures and give ‘forest bathing’ a whirl? Popular in Japan and recommended by the Woodland Trust, forest bathing (you don’t need to get wet, just spend time in a forest!) allows you to use all 5 senses to connect with the environment and clear the mind. Some have claimed it can boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, aid sleep and even counter illness.vi
  2. The Surrey Hills have been designated one of 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England. The AONB covers a quarter of our county and 40% of this area is wooded.vii Maybe you’ve spotted the campaign which launched this July #GetOutOut? 70 years on since the Government passed an Act of Parliament to establish National Parks & AONB, the campaign aims to connect a whole new generation of urban dwellers with the easy to access breath-taking countryside around us. Check out going-outout.co.uk for more inspiration.
  3. We are very fortunate to have 80 Wildlife Trust reserves in Surrey and one is right on our doorstep in Burpham. Autumn is a beautiful time to visit the Riverside Nature Reserve (can be accessed by Bowers Lane). Pad along the boardwalk and check out the wildlife in and around the lake, spot the ducks, dragonflies and even bats at sunset.
  4. Check out the surreyhills.org website or follow #mysurreyhills for some inspiration on what you can discover in the Surrey Hills. Each month @SurreyHillsAONB is releasing a new video interviewing local people and talking about what they love about the Surrey Hills, starting with James Giles, the National Nature Reserve Manager at Thursley.
  5. Want to get out and get your hands dirty, how about joining the Pewley Downs Volunteers. The volunteers meet on the first Saturday of every month 10am to 2pm and work together to cut down the scrub on the nature reserve and protect rare plants and insects found on the slopes of the chalk downland.
  6. Maybe pop along to the 10th Surrey Hills Wood Fair. The fair is on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October at Fish Pond Copse in Cranleigh (GU6 7DW) to celebrate everything that is ‘good about wood’, including woodland demonstrations and activities. Please note this is a ticketed event.
  7. Leith Hill is impressively the 2nd highest point in southeast England. Exploring its trails takes you through woodland, heathland and farmland and offers the reward at the top of an extra climb up the impressive Leith Hill Tower. Hear more about this iconic Surrey landmark at the National Trust Heritage Open Day on Saturday 21st September or experience your first forest bath at Leith Hill on Sunday 20th October (booking required).
  8. Something a bit different: Try a day of mushroom foraging. Forage with expert John Wright, organised by Surrey Hills Yurts, running on the 7th and 8th of October.
  9. Consider getting involved in Seed Gathering Season. Organised by The Tree Council for the last 21 years, the campaign runs for a month from the 23rd September – the autumn equinox – and aims to inspire local communities to gather seeds, fruits and nuts and grow the trees of the future.

So challenge yourself and your family to more outdoor time this autumn. Think of it as ecotherapy – the practice of restoring health through contact with nature – which is becoming increasingly recognised and even prescribed by medical experts.viii Invest in your health & the planet with a commitment to more time out in the green. After all, it can be free of charge and, for as long as we look after it, remains in abundant supply.

Sources:
i University of East Anglia / Science Daily (2018) It’s official – Spending time outside is good for you. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180706102842.htm
(Viewed: 5 August 2019)
ii Jill Suttie (2016) How nature can make you kinder, happier & more creative. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_nature_makes_you_kinder_happier_more_creative
(Viewed: 5 August 2019)
iii Stephanie Walden / USA Today (2018) The Indoor Generation. https://eu.usatoday.com/story/sponsor-story/velux/2018/05/15/indoor-generation-and-health-risks-spending-more-time-inside/610289002/ (Viewed: 1 August 2019)
iv Richard Jenkins / The Independent (2018) Children Spend Twice As Long Looking At Screens Than Playing Outside. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/children-screens-play-outside-computer-phone-time-healthy-games-a8603411.html (Viewed: 5 August 2018)
v Surrey Country Council (2008) Surrey Woodland Study 2008. https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/96735/Surrey-Woodland-Study-2008.pdf (Viewed: 5 August 2019)
vi Harriet Sherwood / The Guardian (2019) Getting back to nature: how forest bathing can make us feel better. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/08/forest-bathing-japanese-practice-in-west-wellbeing
(Viewed: 1 August 2019)
vii Surrey Country Council (2008) Surrey Woodland Study 2008. https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/96735/Surrey-Woodland-Study-2008.pdf (Viewed: 5 August 2019)
viii British Medical Journal (2005) Getting Close to Nature is Good For You. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051124220320.htm (Viewed: 1 August 2019)

 

Can we move Burpham’s Earth Overshoot Day?

Written by Ali Fisher

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date that human demands on planetary resources exceed what the planet is able to regenerate in a year.

In 2018, the global date of Earth Overshoot Day was 1st August. That’s equivalent to us humans using the resources of 1.7 earths in a year. We have been in ‘overshoot’ since the early 1970s (so that’s all of my life-time!). Last year, the UK’s Overshoot Day was 8th May.

Check out http://www.overshootday.org to calculate your personal Overshoot Day. Be warned you might not like what it tells you but it offers great insights into what is impacting your personal Overshoot Day and changes you can make.

So what can we do to #MoveTheDate in 2019 and stop taking more than our planet has to offer?

If we swap 50% of our driving miles for public transport, walking and cycling, Earth Overshoot Day could move back 12 daysi. Check out http://www.surreycc.gov.uk for inspiration for local cycling routes or if you need an added incentive to switch up your walking, the average Brit can burn between 80 and a 100 calories per mile walkedii.

Surrey is already leading the way on food recycling as the English local authority with the highest number of residents recycling food waste. Go Surrey!

If we can halve our carbon emissions, we can move Earth Overshoot Day back by a whopping 3 monthsiii.

Given the biggest global source of greenhouse gas emissions is electricity and heat productioniv, Burpham residents can help by reducing energy usage, whether it’s by switching to LED bulbs which use 80% less electricityv or clothes washing at cooler temps.

If we can reduce our food footprint through a more plant-based diet and cutting food waste, we can move Earth Overshoot Day back by 38 daysvi. Surrey is already leading the way on food recycling as the English local authority with the highest number of residents recycling food wastevii. Go Surrey! And an impressive one third of the UK say they have reduced the amount of meat they eat or taken it out of their diet altogetherviii.

 

Sources:
i, iii, vi, ix www.overshootday.org ii Wendy Bumgardner / Very Well Fit (2019) How many calories does walking burn per mile? www.verywellfit.com/walking-calories-burned-by-miles-3887154 (6 March 2019) BBC News (2010) Statistics reveal Britain’s ‘Mr and Mrs Average’ www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11534042 (6 March 2019) iv United States Environmental Protection Agency (no date) Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data (6 March 2019) v The Telegraph (2017) Should businesses see the light with LEDs? www.telegraph.co.uk/business/energy-efficiency/why-leds-are-good-for-businesses/ (6 March 2019) vii Waverley Borough Council (2018) Surrey top of the league for food waste recycling www.waverley.gov.uk/news/article/367/surrey_top_of_the_league_for_food_waste_recycling (6 March 2019) viii Rebecca Smithers / The Guardian (2018) Third of Britons have stopped or reduced eating meat – report www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/01/third-of-britons-have-stopped-or-reduced-meat-eating-vegan-vegetarian-report (6 March 2019)

 

Time to make some sustainable New Year resolutions.

Written by Ali Fisher

2018 will go down in the history books as the year that Britain woke up to the problem of plastic pollution suffocating our environment. The anti-plastic movement has become so big it’s led the Collins Dictionary to declare ‘single-use’ as the word of the year.

Whether it’s the inspiration of Sir David Attenborough & Blue Planet II, Plasticus (the giant Sky Ocean whale made from ¼ of a tonne of plastic representing the amount of plastic entering our oceans every second!) or some holiday inspiration from a 2 Minute Beach Clean, Guildford is definitely on the case to fight plastic pollution. In 2017/18, Guildford recycled, reused or composted 58% of its waste, beating both the Surrey and UK average. Go, Guildfordians!

…the average Guildford resident throws away 347kgs of waste a year. Perhaps we could aim to make ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ the phrase of 2019.

But there is so much more to do, with the average Guildford resident still throwing away 347kgs of waste a year.
Perhaps we could aim to make ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ the phrase of 2019.

Let’s talk New Year’s resolutions! Taking better care of our planet didn’t hit the top 10 resolutions of 2018. It didn’t even pip ‘Focus more on appearance’ which came in at number 10! We definitely think it deserves a place in the 2019 line up.

So, here are our ‘Top 5 Tips’ to help Burpham residents with a New Year’s resolution to ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ more:

There’s a range of ideas here. Some might suit those just starting out on their journey to greater greenness. Others might be for those already sporting their superhero green capes. Regardless, if you can find a couple of ideas that resonate then you can make a big difference locally and beyond in 2019.

Leave the house‘reuse’ ready!

Make a reusable water bottle, coffee cup and carrier bag part of your everyday kit in 2019. For those who want to go the extra mile you could add a reusable straw, your own cutlery, tupperware and home-made snacks and lunches. Brits have already proven what a huge difference our Reuse efforts can make with single-use plastic bag purchases down by 85%, saving the nation from over 6 billion plastic polluting bags every year.

Start recycling the unrecyclable.

If you have already been bitten by the recycling bug and are frustrated that you can’t save more waste from your black bin, check out http://www.Terracycle.co.uk. They run recycling collection programmes with drop offs in the Guildford area for pouches, bottle pumps and sprays, biscuit and cake wrappers, wipes packets and much, much more. Just pop your postcode and waste item into their homepage search finder and you’re off and recycling! They are even promising crisp packet recycling for 2019 – important when you realise the UK munches its way through 6 billion plastic packets a year!

Cut through the recycling confusion.

Manufacturers are now widely adopting the On-Pack Recycling Labels so check your back of packs to help get the right products into the right bins!

Go green in the bathroom.

Research has shown that we know our kitchen recycling, with 90% of kitchen packaging being effectively recycled. By the way, kitchen foil makes up a significant chunk of the missing 10%! But it’s a different story in our bathrooms where we recycle just half of our packaging.

Only 1 in 5 people consistently recycle items from their bathroom.

Only 1 in 5 people consistently recycle items from their bathroom. Time for a second bin in the bathroom? Empty bottles of bleach, shampoo, conditioner, bathroom cleaner and hand soap can all be recycled. Just remember to remove any pumps from the bottles first.

Make 2019 a sharing year.

Sharing more with neighbours and friends is a way not just to help the environment and cut down on the amount of stuff we need and consume, but also a means to fight isolation and loneliness in our community. What do you have that could be shared – the latest DVD release, household tools, gardening equipment, left-over food and flowers pre-holidays? Community sharing can give great rewards to both the giver and receiver.

The top local authority in England for recycling, reusing and composting recycles 67% of its waste. Sounds like a good target for Guildford to aim for next.

So here’s to Burpham making 2019 the year of Reduce, Reuse & Recycle.

Sources:
www.surreycc.gov.uk/waste-and-recycling/information-about-our-waste-and-recycling-services/community-recycling-centres-recycling-statistics www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/plastic-bag-charge-pay-single-use-environment-recycling-a8467061.html www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-38856081 www.earth911.com/living-well-being/easier-recycle-may-think-shampoo-bottles/ www.recyclenow.com/news/2016-10-17-britain-fails-recycle-16-million-plastic-bottles-every-day www.letsrecycle.com/councils/league-tables/