Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Switch it off

I expect you have heard about 'Climate Change'. Sometimes people also talk about 'Global Warming', but this is not an accurate name for what is happening to our planet's climate. The most accurate name for it might be 'Climate Chaos' as basically the weather patterns all over the world are becoming more disrupted by increasing levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere, so we see more droughts in one part of the world and torrential rain causing flooding in another with more frequent hurricanes in yet another.

You may not be sure that any of this is really happening, but weather reports from around the world don't leave much room for doubt. The only thing we can't be 100% sure about is why it is happening but, whatever some people say, the evidence seems to point to human beings having a lot to do with it as the film 'An Inconvenient Truth' (available as a DVD from some libraries) explains very clearly. You can see a trailer of dramatic highlights on YouTube. There is also a book available.

As the way you and I live is almost certainly causing a lot of problems for a lot of people and could soon (in our lifetime) bring about even more extreme weather conditions in the UK, I want to do what I can to reduce my impact on the climate and if enough people do the same before it's too late, then perhaps things won't turn out as badly as some people fear. Perhaps in time we can even reverse some of the worse effects of climate change – if we make a real effort before it's too late.

Even if you're not convinced what you do will make much difference to the world, saving energy will make a difference to your bank balance, as saving energy saves money at the same time.

One really simple thing we can do,to save energy and money, is to turn off the lights when we leave a room, assuming that we aren't leaving someone else in the dark and we aren't just popping out to make a cup of tea and coming back in a few minutes.
Switching lights off once we've finished using them can save us £10* a year.

However, switching light bulbs on and off too often shortens their life, which is why I suggest you make sure that neither you nor anyone else wants to go back to that room for a reasonable length of time such as 10 to 15 minutes. 

Likewise switching off all our electrical appliances, including mobile phone, shaver and battery chargers when we are not using them will also save us money as well as reducing our carbon footprint.

Switching off items such as televisions and computers rather than leaving them on standby for hours on end could save you a further £30 a year.*

Don't worry if you forget more often than you remember to start with, it takes time to get into new habits.  I've found many of these things are second nature now, but it took a while to develop these new habits.

* According to figures on the Energy Saving Trust website.

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