Five ways to change the world

June 2008

Climate change is the biggest threat the world has ever faced, but that doesn't mean the individual is powerless. Kate Griffin lists five things you can do today to help slow down climate change.

  1. Kick the EasyJet habit. Flying is a quick and cheap way of getting to your destination, but it's also one of the biggest causes of climate change. One flight to Spain produces more greenhouse gases than some people in the Third World will produce in a whole lifetime.
  2. Replace your ordinary lightbulbs with energy-saving ones. They may cost a bit more than ordinary lightbulbs, but they last more than ten times as long and save electricity too, so it's saving you money in the long run.
  3. Do a Home Energy Check. The Energy Saving Trust says that doing the check could save you up to £250 a year and it doesn't involve anybody visiting your home. Go to or ring 0800 512 012.
  4. Change your shopping habits. Food grown in your home country is much better for the planet than food grown abroad, because air-freighting uses so much fuel and produces so much pollution. Mark Lynas in Six Degrees estimates that air-freighted iceberg lettuce uses up ten calories in fuel for every calorie in the lettuce itself.
  5. Find out about the grants and deals available for energy-efficient home improvements. For example, Oxford City Council is currently offering discounted cavity wall and loft insulation, plus a £75 council tax rebate if you get your home insulated with British Gas. See or ring the council's Sustainable Energy Team on 01865 252197.