If you want to really make an impact, community groups can be a very powerful way of getting things done and helping to improve the quality of life for people in your community. A community project that promotes sustainable energy can help bring a community together, improve the warmth and comfort of people's homes, save money and help the environment.
Think about the environmental costs of the things we buy for our kids. For example it takes an unbelievable 7000 litres of water to grow the cotton for one cotton t-shirt and a plastic toy can take hundreds of years to decompose. 11% of landfill waste is made up of clothes, shoes, electrical goods and toys. So the choices you make for your children could affect all of us for years to come. Recycle old items and get kids equipment from friends and family who no longer need it, we can reduce both the amount of waste we produce and the natural resources that we use.
Nowadays, for the average new build, developers buy enough material for 1.5 houses! So not surprisingly there's a lot of good salvageable and reclaimed materials out there which, unless used, will end up in landfill. Don't let their waste go to waste, see the sections below about reclaimed wood and other useful materials. Plus home improvements are a good opportunity to improve the energy efficiency (and energy rating) of your house and reduce your fuel bills.
Just because you care for the environment doesn't mean you have to sit in a darkened room and never go out... quite the reverse! There are plenty of green activities that can have benefits not just for the local environment but can help you to get fit, learn a skill or meet new people.
If you're moving house find out how energy efficient the property is beforehand as it could cost you £500 per year in excessive fuel bills if it isn't insulated to recommended standards and contains old appliances. This is now easier to do as from Oct 2008, every property for sale or rent has to include details about it's energy performance.
Everything you buy has used energy in the sourcing of its raw materials, manufacture and transport. Before they've even been bought consumer goods have generated carbon emissions and electrical equipment uses energy over the course of its lifetime. Finally when goods are disposed of more energy is used to transport them to landfill or recycle them. For this reason, if you want to shop greener you should buy less of what you don't really need, make sure the stuff you do buy will last and, wherever possible, buy second hand and give away unwanted goods.
Campaigning can sound serious or time-consuming but what it really means is speaking up for the things you care about. It can be as simple as asking for local food to be stocked in your supermarket, or finding our whether your bank, local councillor or workplace has an environmental policy. You won't be alone: a recent national survey found that over 60% of us see global warming, climate change or dwindling natural resources as the biggest threat to the world's future.