Goodbye to Green guilt
We all have good intentions when it comes to doing the right thing
for the environment yet we also have plenty of excuses as to why
we can’t implement these changes.

Thankfully, the truth is we don’t have to turn our lives upside
down, or become a radical green goddess or god to make a real difference. Environmental experts Adeela Warley and Donnachadh McCarthy explain how we can all make small changes in our lives
that collectively make a big impact. They’re easy to achieve and
each one contributes to a better, and a greener world.
It wont affect me
'People think that because they can't see anything happening, climate change and
other environmental issues won't affect them,' says Adeela Warley, of Friends of the Earth (www.foe.co.uk). But think of the heat waves, mild winters and the floods that made so many people's lives a misery in June this year and you realise we're
already being affected.

‘There’s no doubt that future generations will be affected by climate change in a big
way if we don’t act now,’ says Donnachadh McCarthy, author of Saving The Planet Without Costing The Earth (Fusion Press, £11·99). ‘So people are starting to take an interest in the environment because they realise it’s their children and grandchildren
who will suffer.’

Getting the kids involved in green initiatives not only increases their awareness, but
also gives them a chance to contribute to a more eco-friendly world. For projects
and ideas about how you and your family can get involved and help the
environment, visit www.kidsrgreen.org and www.woodcraft.org.uk.
Change is expensive
'This is a fallacy as going green could actually help you save money', says
Donnachadh. 'If, for example, you walk the kids to school or cycle to work you will
save on petrol and reduce your CO2 emissions. And the bonus is that you'll get
plenty of exercise too, so you won't be needing that gym membership.'

Another easy, and money-saving, green tip is to reduce the temperature of your
home by just one degree Celsius. Simply turn the thermostat down one notch and
you could cut your heating bills by up to 10 per cent.

Replacing one conventional light bulb with an energy-saving bulb will save you £90
over the life of the bulb – and it will last up to 12 times longer than an ordinary bulb.

A great way to help the environment and save a few bob at the same time is to
avoid air travel – take the train or a ferry to Europe or consider staying in the UK
for your holiday. Obviously you can’t count on the weather, but Britain is full of
beautiful and exciting places to visit (see Great British Getaways).
It wont make a difference
Some people feel that, because climate change is such a huge issue, any individual action is just a drop in the ocean. Will turning off your TV at the plug really mean
polar bears won't have to swim for days to find an iceberg? Probably not, but it's all about the ripple effect where one tiny action causes another which then in turn
affects something else.

‘It’s our small efforts, coupled with the demands that we make – both as consumers
and voters – which encourage large businesses and governments to make big
changes,’ explains Adeela.

And small changes really do add up both financially and environmentally. Again,
those energy-saving light bulbs are a good example. According to the Energy
Savings Trust (EST) if every home used three energy-saving bulbs there would be enough surplus energy to run all the country’s street lamps – that’s some saving!
Find out how to become more energy efficient at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.