How You Can Help
In 2003, it was estimated that Wales’ ecological footprint came to 5.16 hectares per person – that’s a massive 2.8 times more than the average global footprint of around 1.8 global hectares per human. To put that into perspective, if every person on Earth was to live the same lifestyle as someone in Wales, then we would need almost 3 planet Earth to provide the natural resources required to live sustainably. Consequently, it becomes apparent that we, as a society, need to change the way we live in order to become more sustainable. Otherwise, the picture looks very bleak for future generations.
By taking a responsible action towards sustainability, we can decrease the rate of climate change and reduce our impact on our natural environment. Below are just a few examples of how you can make simple changes in your everyday lives to become more sustainable:
- Decrease water use in the home i.e. turn off taps whilst brushing teeth or taking showers as opposed to baths;
- Re-cycle as much household products and packaging as possible, including furniture and household appliances. In addition to standard re-cycling facilities you see in supermarket and public car parks, most local authorities now provide a weekly re-cycling pick up service from your home;
- Compost kitchen waste;
- Buy as much local, organic and seasonal goods as possible;
- Use less energy in the home by boiling only the required amount of water in the kettle, using energy efficient bulbs and turn off lights in unused rooms, making sure domestic appliances are not left on standby for long periods of time, and ensuring your washing machine/dishwasher is full before putting it on;
- Installing green energy initiatives into your home such as solar panels or ground source heat pumps;
- Take energy saving measures such as insulating your home, installing double glazing windows and counter-draft doors;
- Purchasing energy-efficient products when replacing old ones;
- Do not waste/throw food – plan weekly meals ahead to ensure minimum waste;
- Minimise your use of chemicals by using cleaning products and washing powder which is both environmentally friendly and biodegradable.
In the garden:
- Plant native species of plants with high pollen content – this is good for invertebrates;
- For those with a little more land, you can plant areas of new woodland with grants such as the Glasdir Woodland Creation Scheme;
- Erect bat and/or bird boxes in your garden;
- Decrease your use of herbicides and pesticides;
- Use non-peat based compost in your garden;
- Create areas of wild flowers by leaving areas of your garden uncut until the end of the summer;
- Compost your garden waste;
- Grow your own produce.
In the workplace:
- Use less of your car, especially for short journeys – you can walk or cycle, which saves money and is also good for your health. Bus and train timetables can be found on the Public Transport section of Gwynedd County Council website and National Rail Enquiries website respectively;
- Use video conferencing facilities to attend meetings if available;
- Consider car sharing to work or using public transport wherever possible;
- Encourage re-cycling and energy efficiency in the office;
- Create wildlife gardens in and around your work place.
- Get involved with local conservation or wildlife groups. Local groups active in Snowdonia include the Snowdonia Society, RSPB and the North Wales Wildlife Trust;
- Take part in wildlife surveys in your local area;
- Holiday locally i.e. a different part of Snowdonia, the Llŷn Peninsula, other parts of Wales or other National Parks throughout the UK;
- If you’re a parent, encourage your children or school to partake in environmental projects.
- Set up community initiatives with the help and advice from Gwynedd Gynaladwy.
As well as having environmental benefits, many of the above measures can also save you money, and in many instances can contribute positively to your health and well-being – therefore benefits all around!