In this blog, I select 24 recommendations from the action plan within my book Carbon Choices, and expand on them slightly or even update them if there has been some progress! These are 24 things that I wish government, business and/ or individuals would choose to do.
(1) Price Carbon Pollution. But short haul Air Passenger Duty reduced, gas is taxed less than electricity, fuel duty frozen, methane is barely taxed. We should tax polluting activities and balance this by reducing income tax.
(2) Announce an early date to ban petrol and diesel vehicles. The UK has set 2030 (but may exclude hybrid cars), lorries from 2040. All countries should serve notice on the manufacturers ASAP.
(3) Reduce consumption of frivolous goods. Whilst some try their best, the shops are full of poor quality, over packaged goods. You should buy less stuff, buy quality goods, buy second hand.
(4) Develop an alternative method to tax mileage driven in electric cars. Government taxes from motoring are reducing as people switch from petrol and diesel to untaxed electricity. We need to charge per mile driven or else this will undermine public transport, people will drive more and congestion and stress will increase leading to a lower quality of life.
(5) Compulsory long product guarantees. Long guarantees would force manufacturers to design quality products that are repairable, reduce waste and improve our quality of life.
(6) Create a volunteer led rapid reaction network to identify and eradicate invasive species and to eradicate existing ones. Councils and landowners are under resourced. Communities have a long term vested interest and are more likely to take this issue seriously.
(7) Cut back on your consumption of beef and dairy products. They have a disproportionate impact (methane and land-use). There is a good correlation between low carbon and healthy diets - fruit and vegetables.
(8) Choose sports, hobbies and cultural activities that you can attend locally. For many activities, travel is the largest carbon impact. Choose local hobbies or use public transport or car share.
(9) Think about how and where you choose to live. Sharing a house reduces energy use, smaller houses use less too. Moving to suburbs or beyond results in an inevitable increase in your car use and time travelling.
(10) License shooting estates and large landowners. Most of our uplands are a man-made 'ecological desert'. Alongside the privilege of owing land should come a duty to restore it - for human and nature benefit.
(11) Make carbon labels compulsory on food and drink sold by supermarkets. Food carbon calculations are complex but the public has no idea what is 'good' or 'bad'. Carbon labelling allows Carbon Choices.
(12) Teach ecology at school. It's not just a climate crisis, there is a nature crisis too. Children should learn play and learn outdoors and be formally taught about nature and biodiversity.
(13) Ban goods that cause undue environmental harm or cost. Examples include plastic in tea bags, chewing gum and cigarette filters; non biodegradable wet wipes, styrofoam cups, metal foil helium balloons, incandescent light bulbs, oxybenzone in suntan lotion. Anything else?
(14) Ban or restrict building new homes on greenfield sites. We should invest in our cities to make them attractive places to live, avoid urban sprawl, reduce the need to travel..
(15) Create tax breaks for community owned tourism. Tourism can be good or bad. Community tourism maximises local economic benefits and creates a vested interest to protect the environment for the long-term.
(16) Support the circular economy! Buy Carbon Choices as a present . It is educational, reusable, recyclable, and ultimately biodegradable. If you already have a Kindle, then use it. If still not sure, have a read of these amazing testimonials. http://www.carbonchoices.uk/index.php/testimonials
(17) Companies should produce and sell products that they can be proud of. A tricky one, but why not? Businesses should be there to do 'social good' and to improve our lives.
(18) Work for an employer who does something socially useful. Persuade them to change, or retrain and leave for a more satisfying job if you can. They will get the message when they can't recruit.
(19) Join a car club if you can. Electric vehicles still have a large carbon footprint, especially the battery and electricity charging. Car sharing for essential journeys is far less resource intensive and requires less land taken up for parking spaces.
(20) Try and avoid single use packaging. Buy goods that are not over packaged. Avoidance is much better than recycling. Ask supermarkets for reusable containers - they will change if there is customer demand.
(21) Companies should compete on quality, not price. Cheap is not always good. Maintain a long-term relationship with customers - offer long product guarantees and repair, refurbishment or upgrade services. Customers will come back to your shop if they trust you.
(22) Revolutionise our diets to be healthy and low carbon. Need carbon labelling, dietary advice, cookery classes for all. Re-educate from a fatty, sugary, salty and cholesterol diet to a diet with minimal meat and dairy and lots of fruit and vegetables.
(23) Invest in our cities to make them more liveable. Green streets; with trees, vegetation, water courses; infrastructure to walk and cycle; places attractive and safe to bring up children and for elderly people; local schools and shops; good public transport and community facilities.
(24) Enjoy Christmas. We are allowed some fun. But don't waste any food - dish out what you need and keep any leftovers for Boxing Day. Food waste gives off methane - a powerful greenhouse gas. Read my blog on Christmas consumption. http://www.carbonchoices.uk/index.php/blog/blog-5
If you have enjoyed this article, you might enjoy my blogs at http://www.carbonchoices.uk and my book, Carbon Choices on the common sense solutions to our climate and nature crises. An ideal Christmas gift. Available from Amazon. I am donating one third of profits to rewilding projects.