A great deal of mournful claptrap is spoken about how we will have to ‘change our lifestyles’ if we are to deal with climate change, as if this were inevitably a bad thing. But are you living now exactly as you did ten years ago? Five? Two? The fact is that we change the way we live constantly. All we have to do is change a little more purposefully, perhaps a little more courageously, so that we can continue doing more or less what we want while using less of everything. There is no real choice here. If circumstances thrust change upon us, our ‘lifestyles’, and those of our children and theirs and beyond, will be changed whether we like it or not, and very much for the worse.

Have a look at these ideas and start doing what you can, right now – there is nothing to be gained by delay. They are brainstorming thoughts and thus in no particular order, and if you have any more, please let me know. Some are big, some are small. All of them will help us consume less and waste less, thus reducing the mess we make and the carbon we emit. Some will save money. Perhaps more importantly, once the habit of thinking and behaving this way develops, it is quite painless and it not only quietly encourages friends and neighbours, it grows, and more ideas come along. Remember, basic policy is to set an example to politicians by stopping all carbon emissions and then starting to remove carbon from the atmosphere. And, bluntly, if you feel that adopting any of these ideas will radically impinge on your ‘lifestyle’, I suggest you get a proper one!

  1. Think about how carbon can be removed from the atmosphere.
  2. Improve insulation (roofs, walls, fridges, ovens, kettles etc)
  3. Use low wattage lamps and switch them off when not needed.
  4. Local Authority will not take window envelopes? Tear the window out and recycle the rest.
  5. Use the blank side of junk mail letters for notes, lists, your great novel etc
  6. Do not keep the TV, computers etc on stand-by
  7. Replacing domestic equipment? Check on the power consumption.
  8. If you cannot boil water for just one cup of tea, put the unwanted hot water in a flask.
  9. If you have a solid fuel stove, keep a pan of water on it warming for use in the kettle.
  10. Shower instead of bathing. If you have a bath, use the water to flush the toilet if you can
  11. Turn down your room and hot water thermostats.
  12. Collect rainwater to flush the toilet, clean the car, water the garden.
  13. Recycle or, preferably, re-use everything you can.
  14. Use a shopping bag instead of disposable plastic ones.
  15. If you acquire any plastic bags, use them to line your waste bin
  16. Fit solar panels for hot water and for electricity
  17. Fit a wind generator
  18. If you are in the country, is water generation of electricity a possibility?
  19. Think about collecting of heat from the ground under the garden
  20. Refurbishing? Think about a combined heat and power electrical generator. (Also rig it to work as an emergency generator)
  21. Need a new car – put it off as long as possible, then think about LPG, hybrid, electric
  22. Use the car less – walk, run, cycle more.
  23. If you fly a lot, really cut back on it.
  24. Politely pester supermarkets and manufacturers about reducing packaging, food miles etc
  25. Thermostatic valves for central heating radiators (Ones that work, not the old ones that invariably jammed and could not be used to turn off the radiator)
  26. ‘Tax & 100% Dividend’ carbon tax: fossil fuels are taxed proportionate to the damage they do and the total revenue from this is distributed equally to everyone. This will benefit low users and encourage high users to economize.

If you are a tinkerer, think about these

  1. See 1 above
  2. The car is a near-perfect heat wasting machine. How to capture, store and use that wasted heat?
  3. A simple heat pump/ventilation system that can be fitted in existing properties to capture heat from the air leaving the house and using it to warm the fresh air coming in
  4. The economic/ecologically sound extraction of hydrogen from water.
  5. The compact storage of hydrogen.
  6. The chemical, mechanical and biological storage of the energy from randomly generated electricity.
  7. Cheap motorized bicycles
  8. Cheap and simple way on insulating 9? solid brick walls
  9. Rubbish macerator/compactor to reduce the volume of non-recyclable rubbish. The disposal industry is no longer ‘men with lorries who know men with quarries’ – most of the holes are full and radical new thinking is needed.