A lot has changed since Lewisham Council declared a climate emergency in February 2019, with a pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. More than a year has passed and we all have found ourselves in a very different reality as a result of global coronavirus outbreak. What remains unchanged is the ever increasing urgency of taking positive action against the imminent consequences of climate change. We all have to do our bit to help the Lewisham community achieve the ambitious environmental goal so let’s use this unprecedented time to reflect and mobilise ourselves for the challenge ahead. And there’s a lot you can do already, without having to leave the house!

Why now? Why you?

If you are reading this, you probably already know a fair bit about the state of our climate and how threatening global warming is to our current lifestyle and the future of our loved ones. In this post we shared a few poignant stats. Feel free to use them in your Zoom chats with family and friends around the world to help raise awareness! We all agree we need to act and we need to act quickly. In this blog series we will provide you with some practical tips on how to positively respond to the crisis through your daily life choices. Let’s start with what we all need and use the most – energy!

Part 1. Support Sustainable Energy Use

Looking at the below estimation of CO2 emissions in Lewisham, presented in the Lewisham Climate Emergency Strategic Action Plan 2020-2030, we can observe that combined domestic gas and electricity usage are responsible for 50% of total emissions in the borough. It is therefore vital that we tackle this source of emissions from every possible angle.

Estimated CO2e emissions for Lewisham Borough in 2017/18

Some of the actions necessary to meet the ambitious reduction target in this area will need significant investment by residents as well as public funding. Insulating your house, installing solar panels and/or triple glazing would be ideal but you can already do a lot to minimize home energy use, particularly for domestic appliances, by following a few of these useful tips:

  1. Switch to a sustainable energy provider.
  2. Replace your lighting with low energy LED lights, they not only use 90% less energy but they also last 10-20 times longer so you will hardly ever have to replace them.
  3. Only buy A-rated appliances, or above.
  4. Avoid using the dryer – hang clothes outside when you can.
  5. Always use your washing machine on the lowest temperature settings – bio washing powder contains enzymes that are specifically chosen because they work at this temperature. If you crank the temperature up then it can actually make the washing powder ineffective.
  6. Put lids on pots and pans to reduce cooking times.
  7. Remove wall vampires! (chargers you leave plugged in and other small electronics)
  8. Recharge batteries instead of buying throw away ones.
  9. Use microwaves to reheat food as opposed to the oven/hob – they heat up the food far quicker so are therefore more efficient.
  10. Don’t leave your computer in standby – turn it off at the end of each day.
  11. Don’t open the oven to look at the food inside – peep through the window to help prevent the expensive hot air inside escaping. More great tips on energy efficient cooking can be found in this Guardian article.

Excited about being able to finally take some action? This site will provide you with even more ideas on how to reduce energy usage at home, with benefit to the environment and your pocket. Another great resource is SELCE – South East London Community Energy group who are working towards accelerating the transition to a sustainable future in SE London. They have just launched an online/telephone energy advice service for the
self-isolating, including free consultations for the most vulnerable. Additionally, if you are part of a local community group and would like to cut
your energy bills, or help others to, you can apply for funding through the Lewisham Community Energy Fund.

We hope that you enjoy our series, in the next post we will focus on supporting the environment through
online activism. And why not start by joining our mailing list?