Practical ways to save the world

PUBLISHED: 14:23 29 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:46 15 June 2010

As the nation marks a Day of Action on Climate Change this week, the Herald looks at ways Axe Valley residents are tackling the environmental issue.

As the nation marks a Day of Action on Climate Change this week, the Herald looks at ways Axe Valley residents are tackling the environmental issue.Set up by the Network for Climate Action, the day gives a stark warning that 'climate change threatens our very survival' and urges action.While its website offers advice such as 'take your cows and veg to a carbon trader, local councillor and Sustainable Seaton member Claire Wise offers more practical tips."We have to reduce consumption. Just try to cut down on things and not be wasteful," she said."Turn lights off when you're not in the room, walk more, use public transport when you can."And when you do buy a new car, think really hard about the CO2 emissions, and the fuel consumption."But she cautions that people need to face up to the reality of climate change now.She said: "People react in different ways. Some put blinkers on and don't want to know. Others think it can't be much of a problem or the Government would be doing something. And yet others think science would do something."But there's no magic wand that's going to save the day. I wouldn't want to put all my eggs in one basket because, if it doesn't happen we're really stuck.Sustainable Seaton is looking to the future and preparing for events, like when oil is not so readily available, and having the vision to prepare for it.Transition Town status means a town reacts to environmental damage by assisting the Government to meet environmental targets, such as cutting down on CO2 emissions and endeavouring to recycle wherever possible.Mrs Wise points out that it is positive action to a pressing issue: "Climate change is the greatest challenge to global security and stability. It's a big issue and we've got to do something about it."Some residents and organisations across the Axe Valley are even stretching to the use of solar photovoltaic (pv) cells which use energy from the Sun to create electricity to run appliances and lighting. Although costly to install, it could save people more than one tonne of CO2 emissions a year, equivalent to £150 to £200 off an electricity bill.Among its users are Seaton Primary School, Seaton town councillor and Axmouth resident Pepita Collins, and Dalwood Hill resident Peter Addie.Mr Addie said the system helped tackle climate change as it produced no greenhouse gases and could reduce CO2 emissions."On an annual basis, we are putting more electricity back into the national grid system. And locally, it's dramatically more efficient than a power station."He said, in the very long term, it would also be financially beneficial.While he appreciated this might be a big step for some people, he believed they could make a huge difference simply by getting into better environmental habits."We have to make people realise the amount of harm they are doing. I do all aspects of environmental living. We produce our own fruit and vegetables and would recommend people did that or at least buy locally."For transport, I mainly cycle or use the bus or train. I would hire a car as a last resort."He felt another priority was insulation, and not just for the house. "It's the crutch of energy conservation. And people walk around their house in freezing weather with hardly any clothes on! They should just put on socks and a jumper. By reducing their thermostats by two or three degrees, they could be just as comfortable and save 20 or 30 per cent on their energy bill." The next Sustainable Seaton event will be a showing of A Crude Awakening at Winston's in Beach Road, Seaton, on Wednesday, May 14, at 4.30pm and 7.30pm. Visit www.sustainableseaton.com or phone (01297) 24466. for info.

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