Climate Conscious Living
Are you working from home and looking for top tips on how to green your lifestyle?
Check out our Climate Conscious Living tips below!
It’s Food Waste Action Week 1-7 March and this year the theme is “wasting food feeds climate change”. When your peas, potatoes and slices of bread end up in your bin they release CO2 into our atmosphere. In fact, if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US.
We’re asking you to step up to the Food Waste Action Week challenge by integrating these top tips into your cooking to prevent food waste:
- It’s a date! ‘Use by’ is about safety – food should not be eaten after this date. ‘Best before’ is about quality – although food won’t be at top quality after this date, it will still be safe to eat for some time.
- Compleat. Over two-thirds of the food we waste is perfectly edible. Try leaving the skin on when you make mashed potato – this will save you time as well!
- Chill the fridge out. The average fridge temperature in UK homes is nearly 7°C, but foods will last longer if they are kept at under 5°C.
- Perfect portions. There are simple ways to cook the perfect amount - a mug filled with dry rice will cook enough for four adults.
- Snap a shelfie. If you’re not a fan of shopping lists, take a picture of your fridge/cupboard shelves before you head to the shops. This will stop you from buying something you’ve already got at home.
- Savvy storage. Not sure where something should be stored? Try Love Food Hate Waste Food Storage A–Z!
- Freeze up to the ‘use by’ date.
- Ice-cube tray – the freezer hero. Too much milk, not enough time? Pour your remaining milk into ice-cube trays and freeze – this is the perfect amount for a brew. You can use ice-cube trays to freeze fresh herbs, too.
- Use your loaf. Put your sliced loaf in the freezer, and then you can pick out a slice at a time and toast straight from frozen.
- Unidentified Frozen Objects. Before you freeze your leftovers, label the bag/container telling you what’s inside and when you froze it.
Top Tips for Saving Energy whilst Working from Home
Our very own Carbon and Energy Team's top energy saving tips for reducing your energy usage and carbon footprint whilst working from home:
1. Let the Sunlight In
Make sure your work-space has plenty of windows and natural solar light so lights can remain off.
2. Keep the Heat In
If you have a radiator near a window, make sure you tuck the curtains behind the radiator to reduce heat lose.
3. Try not to overfill the kettle
Are you a tea or coffee addict? Make sure you only boil the amount of water you need when getting your cuppa.
4. Tweak the Heat
Turn down your thermostat by one degree, and keep warm by wearing an extra layer.
5. Plug Power
Finished charging your laptop and devices? Make sure you switch off all unused sockets.
How can you reduce your food waste?
Why should you care about your food waste?
Food waste is a major contributor to the climate crises, due to it releasing methane as it breaks down. If food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases!
Find out how to reduce your food waste during lockdown via the Love Food Hate Waste website! They provide a load of tips on how to prolong the shelf life of your food and tasty recipes to help you cut down on food waste.
Need help greening your home working environment?
Below are five working from home sustainability tips:
- Switch off and unplug your devices when not in use
- Don't heat the outdoors when doors and windows are open, instead switch off when enjoying the better weather
- Go paperless – use the apps on your lap top/PC to record notes electronically
- Stay healthy by taking breaks outside, and getting your fill of nature
- Bring some of the outside in - clean your air by reducing indoor pollution with an indoor plant. This is as easy as investing in a Peace Lily or Florist’s Chrysanthemum!
Unless you live a zero waste lifestyle there is always room for improvement when it comes to taking care of the planet. A great place to start is the comfort of your own home!
Check out our top tips below:
- Refuse – Do you need that new yoga mat, outfit or bike..?
- Reduce – Think before you buy, bring your own shopping bags whilst shopping, and purchase package free items from shops
- Reuse - Instead of throwing old stuff away, why not repurpose? For fun and quirky project ideas click here.
- Repair – Have you been inspired by the BBC’s ‘The Repair Shop’ show? Fix your items rather than replacing them and you can check out resources to do this here.
- Recycle - Get to know the specific rules of recycling in your area – you can do this by checking out your local councils website. This is a great time to start your own compost heap. For top tips click here.
Getting outside and enjoying nature will not just aid your work but also your physical and mental health!
Make sure you spend time outdoors in nature!
You are encouraged to safely get outdoors, and this can include going for a run, walk or bike ride! You can also take part in Queen’s GYO (Grow Your Own) Competition.
If you have kids to teach and entertain, this is a brilliant opportunity to get outside and learn about nature! So what can you get up to?
- Feed the birds! This is a great way to entertain yourself, so make sure you hang the feeders where you can easily see the antics of the birds. If you need help identifying them check out RSPB’s Bird Identifier.
- Your kids can actively encourage wildlife by making their own bird feeder, bat box, butterfly feeding table or wildlife pond. You can download activity sheets here.
Need to get to the shop? Why not travel green and hop on your bike! This will benefit your mental and physical health, while limiting your carbon footprint.
Why not pick the green choice when you travel to the shops?
Staff within Queen's can take advantage of Queen’s cycle to work scheme, cycle+, which is permanently open to new applications. Operated by Cyclescheme, staff can find out more information on the various benefits here.
Are you worried about biking around Belfast? Or are you unsure where dedicated bike paths are located? Sustrans provides a range of resources which will help you get on your bike!
Keen to start biking with your family? Check out these nine steps to teaching your child to ride a bike without stabilisers.
One of the best things you can do is to keep yourself informed – the more you know the better. It leaves you better equipped to have those conversations with your friends and family and the people you want to influence.
Below are our top recommendations for staying informed:
- Get yourself clued up in the facts. Click here for ’10 of the best YouTube videos on climate change’.
- Why not listen to sustainability themed podcasts? For inspiration check out this 'Top 20 Sustainability Themed Podcasts 2020' Blog.
- Stay up to date with recent news on the state of our natural world.
What can you do to encourage people to act for the climate? For inspiration, and direction, we have turned to Climate Scientist Professor Katherine Hayhoe!
Katherine Hayhoe states one of the key things you can do to tackle climate change is talk about it. Click here for the Katharine Hayhoe talk entitled ‘The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it’.
Use this time to get outside with your family!
There are a range of projects and initiatives you and your family can get involved in. Check out our top tips below:
- Check out the National Trust’s ’50 things to do before you’re 11¾’. This handy guide helps children to make the most out of our limited time outdoors during in lockdown.
- Find out what wildlife to look out for on your walk, or in your garden, by checking out the RSPB’s Nature’s Calendar.
- Make your own seed bombs! Very easy to do and great for wildlife.
- Why not encourage hedgehogs to your garden by providing a hedgehog feeding station. For more information click here.