Climate change is widely accepted to be one of the biggest challenges humankind has ever faced, and is already having devastating effects. We have all contributed to the cause and must therefore all be part of the solution. A requirement was introduced in 2016 for councils and other public bodies to report to the Scottish Government on measures being taken to address climate change. Our fourth annual report to address this requirement was submitted to the Scottish Government in November 2019.
We are committed to reducing our own emissions and have produced a Carbon Management Plan for 2015-20 to set out what action we will take. Our fourth annual report on progress was produced in November 2019.
While we have an important role to play, climate change is everyone's responsibility and there is a lot you can do to cut carbon in your home, your office, your local community and further afield.
Do your bit as an individual
- Calculate your carbon footprint online - the Guardian's guide to carbon calculators (2008)outlines various tools
- Make your home energy-efficient: wall and cavity insulation, double- and triple-glazing and draught-proofing of windows and doors all help to keep the heat in. East Dunbartonshire's Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland (HEEPS) scheme supports local residents by providing advice and insulation.
- Switch to green electricity - Green Electricity Marketplace and greenhelpline.com can provide further information.
- Even better, generate your own energy! Carbon-neutral technologies such as wind turbines, solar panels and wood fuel boilers reduce your carbon footprint and can save you money. You may even be able to earn money from doing this.
- Remember that low-tech solutions are sometimes the best - thermal underwear, cooking in crockpots/hay boxes, door stoppers, drying greens and pulleys can all be simple ways of reducing your energy use.
- Cut your own air miles, especially for journeys within the UK - air travel is 95% more polluting than rail travel.
- If you must fly, consider offsetting: Climate Care is one option. Find out more about the cost of flying at Choose Climate.
- Consider a green fuel car.
- Reduce food miles by buying locally - the Council's Find My Nearest page may help.
Further advice - free and impartial - is available from Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 or by visit the Energy Saving Trust Scotland website. Your energy supplier should also be able to provide advice.
Do your bit as part of a collective
In the Community
You can reduce your individual and collective footprints by joining a carbon-cutting group such as a local Carbon Rationing Action Group (CRAG) or a Transition Town group.
Grant funding and support for community groups engaging in carbon reduction is available from various sources. The Climate Challenge Fund is a main source; support is also available from Community Energy Scotland, and Home Energy Scotland's Communities Team can provide in-person support including bespoke presentations and information sessions.
- Switch off your monitor when not in use - this does not cause any loss of unsaved work!
- If you are the last to leave, ensure that photocopiers, printers and lights are off
- Leave the car at home!
- Hold low-carbon meetings - choose venues accessible by public transport and arrange start and finish times to fit in with bus/train timetables. Teleconferencing facilities reduce the need to travel.
- Help others in your organisation to change - Christian Aid's 'Climate Changed' site provides some valuable support.
Encourage others to do their bit
Spread the word to friends, family, the local church and school, local businesses and any groups in which your voice will be heard! Extend the message to governments and corporations too - lobby your MSP, MP and MEP. Several national campaigns can help you take action on a large scale, a few popular ones are: Friends of the Earth and Friends of the Earth Scotland; Oxfam; enoughsenough; change.org; 38 Degrees.
Be ready to adapt
While it is vital that we limit future climate change, we must also be prepared to deal with the effects of climate change that is already in the pipeline. Adaptation Scotland provides data on climate trends and impacts in Scotland and works with others to help with others to help them prepare for these changes.
Be assured that you are not alone!
Many individuals and groups across the country - and beyond - are committed to making a difference, e.g.
- Stop Climate Chaos Scotland - a coalition of 60 organisations in Scotland campaigning against climate change
- Take One Action - Scotland's global action cinema project
You can link with such networks to add value to your actions.