Find out how to live more sustainably and reduce your carbon footprint.
ClimateSmart aims to reduce our carbon footprint by increasing our knowledge of sustainability and empowering change with simple, practical actions.
What is sustainability?
Sustainability is about getting the balance right between economic growth, social development and environmental protection in everyday life. Often, development is focused only on making money and doesn’t take into account the impacts – sometimes damaging - on communities and the environment. Development that balances the needs of people, business and the environment is sustainable development.
What does sustainability look like?
All United Nation Member States have signed up to 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals show us how sustainability isn’t just about the environment. It’s about ensuring a strong, healthy and just society. It’s about meeting the diverse needs of all people in existing and future communities, promoting wellbeing, social cohesion and inclusion and creating equal opportunity.
What happens when we live unsustainably?
When we live unsustainably, we damage planet earth and the ecological systems on which we depend. There is no planet B! We have nowhere else to go, which is whey we need to live and do business in a sustainable way.
One implication of living beyond our environmental limits – what the earth can support and sustain – is climate change. Our current way of living and doing business is causing climate change.
What is Climate Change?
Climate Change is the long term shift in our planet’s weather patterns and average temperatures. It is caused by too much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases - from burning coal, oil and gas in our homes, cars and factories - making the planet warmer. With this overall warming, we will have increasingly erratic weather systems, storms, flooding and melting of the polar ice caps. Many scientists believe that if we halve carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, we will slow climate change down.
Find out more about Climate Change at the Met office:
ClimateSmart aims to help us all make smart decisions, show that we care and do our bit.
What is a carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation or community. Many of our everyday activities - driving our cars, heating our homes, cooking our food - release carbon into the atmosphere. The choices we make can increase or decrease our carbon footprint. For example, walking or cycling to work doesn't produce carbon emissions - unless you're fueling your trip with bacon sandwiches every morning!
Try this handy WWF carbon footprint calculator to see how you measure up.
What can I do to become ClimateSmart?
There are many things we can do to help reduce our carbon footprint and live more sustainably. You might find you have already made a good start but would like to do more!
All of our ClimateSmart actions below will reduce your carbon footprint. Social scientists have found that when one person makes a sustainable choice, other people do too.
Start today and be the change to help fight climate crisis.
ClimateSmart Action List – let’s all do our bit!
Recycle more! 70% of people in our Council area are recycling. Are you doing your bit? Filling your blue and brown bins and doing so regularly, is a convenient and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint.
Buy food from the supermarket/shop reduced aisle! This food will go in the bin tomorrow, so buy and use it today. You’ll save money and reduce food waste.
Support your Community Fridge! Our community fridges in Cloughmills and Dungiven enable residents and businesses to share surplus food and greatly reduce needless waste.
Slow down your fashion habit! Producing clothes has a huge carbon footprint, uses lots of chemicals and, when made in developing countries, may involve labour exploitation. The best solution is a smaller wardrobe and to donate to and buy from charity shops. Do you really need new clothes every month? If you do need something new, why not look for ethical clothes? Many retailers stock ethical and Fairtrade choices.
Be PlasticSmart! Say no to plastic bags, wrap, packaging and single use plastics. Single use plastics have been in the news a lot lately for their littering impact on our oceans and wildlife. Single use plastics – straws, water bottles, takeaway coffee cups, takeaway cutlery and wipes – can all be easily avoided. As well as causing litter, making plastics produces carbon dioxide: one kilo of plastic produces about 6 kilos of carbon dioxide. By saying no to unnecessary plastic and recycling all your plastic bottles and food containers in your blue bin you will reduce your carbon footprint.
Buy recycled products! When you can, buy recycled products that take less energy to make and make better use of natural resources.
Join H2O On the Go! Bring your refillable water bottle to one of the many cafés, restaurants and premises around the Causeway Coast and Glens for a free tap water refill. Buying bottled water is a waste of money, water and plastic.
Be NappySmart! The average baby goes through 5,000 nappies from birth to potty training. Not only does this cost a fortune (£1,000) it produces around 1 tonne of waste (the same amount of rubbish as an average household for a whole year). Council has a nappy voucher scheme for residents to help get you started.
Buy local! Buying from local farmers, farmers markets, crafters and artisans who produce and sell on your doorstep will reduce your carbon footprint, support employment and circulation of money in the local economy. Live more sustainably and feel good.
Walk or bike for short journeys. Instead of driving, switching to walking or cycling for short journeys will save you money, improve your health and is often just as quick and convenient. Try a car-free day and see how you get on.
Consider an electric car! Transport accounts for 23% of the UK’s carbon emissions. If you’re changing your car, consider electric or at least a more efficient vehicle. Keeping your tyres pumped up to the correct pressure and slowing down a bit can improve your fuel efficiency and save you money.
Take the bus or train. When you can, use public transport. It will save you the cost of car parking and is often more convenient dropping you off in the town centre.
Eat less meat! Even going meat-free for one day a week will reduce your carbon footprint and help in the fight against climate change. Beef and lamb are especially high in emissions.
Plant a tree! If you don’t have space in your own garden, why not go out with a local group to plant trees. You will be helping local wildlife, improving your fitness and enjoying the great outdoors. The Conservation Volunteers, The Woodland Trust, The National Trust, Northern Ireland Environment Link, Groundwork NI, Don’t Mow Let It Grow all welcome volunteers.
Cut back on energy use at home! If you can, insulate your home better, fit energy efficient bulbs and buy energy efficient appliances, switch-off devices you’re not using (leaving on stand-by still uses around half the energy) and talk to your energy provider about green energy. Council may be able to help you with their energy efficiency advice service. Investing in a slow cooker - and cooking that locally produced food you've bought - will save energy too. For recipe ideas try Council's Slow Cooking Toolkit.