How to take your first steps towards sustainable living – words Al Woods
The United Kingdom may be known for it’s rolling countrysides, idyllic hills and breathtaking coastal trails, but with demand for housing, as well as new transport and infrastructure developments happening every year, it’s time to stop and think about the impact on our local environment.
As urban developments and modern life take their toll on our remarkable landscape, what steps can we take to protect our natural landmarks and wildlife?
How can we help retain the UK’s unique and picturesque charm? As set out in the latest plans by government agency Natural England, the focus is on educating people on sustainability, conservation and how together we can secure the future of the natural environment.
One of the best ways to get on board with sustainable living is to get outside and see exactly what you’re helping to protect. Why not track down you nearest area of natural beauty (AONBs) to get inspired? These regions can fall under a number of categories which have exceptional landscape or scenic qualities, areas rich in wildlife or those with a strong cultural heritage. They are protected by local authorities who are responsible for ensuring the beauty of the site is retained and that the landscape is kept as natural as possible. Even in areas where wildlife or landscapes require containment, mesh fences are often installed. The wire mesh for fences is made to blend into the natural habitat significantly reducing any visual impact on the area’s beauty.
Sustainability starts at home
If you’re ready to get started on your sustainability journey there are a number of steps you can take to reduce your impact on the environment from the comfort of your home. These can be pretty simple from ensuring you turn off all your devices and plug sockets before you go to sleep at night, to using energy-efficient appliances. Better still, why not try and go appliance free? Swap your dryer for hanging clothes outside and limit your use of heating and air-conditioning. It’s also important to be aware of the kinds of products you’re using everyday. Countless household items are impossible to recycle and are destined to end up in landfills. Cutting out single-use razors, forks, cups, bags and food storage containers is a great way to start your sustainability journey. If you want to dedicate a little more time to environmentally-friendly living why not try your hand at growing some of your own food? Remember, it’s also more eco-friendly to opt for locally-sourced produce from your area, so try out market stalls and independent sellers instead of major supermarkets. If you’re popping out to do some shopping, make sure to take your own bags with you.
Your responsibility for helping protect the planet doesn’t stop when your leave the house. Outside of the home, there are also simple changes to be made that can go a long way. With just a few small alterations to your lifestyle you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Transport emissions are the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas levels in the UK, so next time you’re heading out why not leave a little earlier and walk or cycle instead? Alternatively you can check local timetables and commit to taking public transport where possible. When it comes to vacations, why not think inside the box? Staycations — aka taking your holiday inside the UK — are becoming increasingly popular thanks to a growing awareness of eco-friendly travel and measures by the UK government to improve homegrown tourism.