Eco Tips

Embsay and Eastby Eco Tips

In 2021, we decided to have a weekly eco tip, in line with our themes for prayers.  We are going to collect the eco tips here.  Although the themes are a guide, we are not sticking rigidly to them if there is something else which is more topical!

January: Where are we now?

Watch 'Feast to save the planet' on BBC iplayer, if you didn’t see it on the BBC2 Horizon programme. Food accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, so making informed choices about what we eat is more important than ever and is one way as individuals and households we can reduce our carbon footprint. The programme is a dinner party where the guests have to predict the carbon footprint of each item on the menu. As the dishes are plated up we find out how to choose dishes that don’t cost the earth and as you would expect there are some surprises.

Calculate our environmental footprint using the WWF Footprint Calculator to provide a baseline of where we are now, as individual households, at the start of St Mary’s Eco-church journey towards the Eco church gold award. It only takes a few minutes to complete and once you’ve got your score please make a personal record of it so that when you’re asked to do it again you will be able to see if any practical actions you’ve taken has made a difference. Hopefully we will gain evidence needed to evaluate changes in behaviour as a result of increasing awareness of how our lifestyles impact on the earth and all that lives in it.  If you think any of your neighbours and friends in the village would be interested in calculating their footprint please encourage them.

You are encouraged to join the Eco Café, hosted by St Andrew's Methodist Church in Skipton, to rind out what other individuals and groups who are concerned about the health of our planet are doing.

Find out and reflect on whether:  your tea bags contain plastic,  your toilet roll is made from recycled paper, how many main meals have you eaten this week that contain meat? Are you prepared to make swaps this coming week/next time you go shopping to be more environmentally friendly?

February: Fairtrade

Support small farmers in this country who are acting as custodians of the land for future generations by buying  organic, low impact, less travelled food when you can and if you eat bananas make sure that they are Fairtrade. The producers of other brands are not getting a living wage.

Find about how Fairtrade contributes to a more sustainable world for us all by watching this video. It’s an animation based on the story of Teresa, a coffee farmer from Nicaragua.

Fairtrade and sustainability | Fairtrade Foundation

March: Climate Action

This week's eco action is to buy local for at least two meals in the coming week because buying local seasonal produce helps support biodiversity as well as reducing carbon emissions.

The second online Eco Café on 20 March, organised by St Andrew’s Church in Skipton, will be considering the question, “What inspires us to be green?”. Michael Jennings, from ‘Steep and Filter’ on Otley Street will be opening the discussion by sharing his thoughts.

Now is a good time to start thinking about what recycled materials you could use to make a cross to display in your garden or window during Holy and Easter weeks.

April: Water Use

Check and, if necessary, reduce your shower time. The average shower uses 75 to 190 litres of water so try and make sure your showers are under five minutes. This is normal practice in some countries where water shortages are commonplace.

If you were asked how much water an individual in the UK uses in a day I wonder what you would say. Perhaps anything between 50 and 100 litres? The figure is actually 140 litres. I for one forget that water is intrinsically linked to energy – energy needed to treat and pump the water into our homes. Then there’s energy to produce hot water in our homes. So this week’s eco-suggestions are use cold water rather than hot water when it makes sense and make sure that washing machines and dishwashers are full before using them. Our reputation for a rainy climate distracts from how the relationship between rainfall and the water available to us really works. Water is a precious resource and climate change means that it is becoming more unpredictable; so far April has been a dry month but last February was the wettest on record.

Saving water is another way to reduce our carbon footprint.

This week’s eco tip – Minimise evaporation by watering garden plants during the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler and if you don’t have a water butt to take advantage of water stored during wet weather why not investigate the huge variety available in different sizes, shapes and materials. There must be one to suit your requirements.

May: food

This week’s tip is to do with waste because 30% of the food produced in the world is wasted, with serious repercussions for the environment. In fact, if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the USA.

This week’s Eco tip is an easy one to achieve - Reduce food waste by freezing anything you can’t eat while it’s fresh and , where possible, buy loose produce so you can select the exact amount that you need. You’ll avoid packaging at the same time if you use your own bags and containers when you shop.