Climate change and what you can do
Climate change and what you can do
Most people and businesses in the UK say that they are already taking some action on climate change and want to do more. We know it can sometimes feel overwhelming knowing where to begin, but everything that you do makes a difference.
A lot of people are concerned about the cost of making changes. The good news is that many of the changes you can make will save you money as well as make a difference to the climate.
The information below includes information about the main grants that you may be eligible for as a Sheffield resident, business or organisation.
The United Nations Act Now campaign and the WWF Carbon Footprint calculator helps people to understand their impact on the climate and offers advice on changes they can make the most difference. Can Do South Yorkshire also provides some local resources and case studies, and our Sheffield information on the Act Now top 10 actions are:
1. Save energy at home
For information about accessing energy efficiency grants, including grants for renewable energy and home energy advice, visit Warm Homes Sheffield.
2. Walk, bike or take public transport
Cycling UK are providing a months’ free ebike hire and cycle training.
Love to Ride South Yorkshire provides useful information for cyclists, including how to find quiet routes while Pedal Ready also delivers cycling training in Sheffield. Find out more about traveling and cycling in Sheffield.
3. Eat more vegetables
The ShefFood Partnership has information and events on eating sustainably and making good food available for everyone in Sheffield. Growing your own vegetables is a great way to eat sustainably and to enjoy time in nature.
Sheffield City Council provides access to allotments across the city, and there are plenty of community allotments if you are just getting started.
4. Consider your long-distance travel
Taking one less long-haul return flight can reduce your carbon footprint by up to almost 2 tons of CO2e: that’s about the same as the carbon footprint of about 50 million plastic straws or driving twice around the world. Sheffield is well-connected by rail, and ferry travel to Europe is in easy reach from Hull.
5. Throw away less food
Love Food Hate Waste provide information about reducing food waste and saving money. Locally, Food Works collect surplus food from organisations (as well as growing their own) and save it from becoming waste by sharing it through their market and kitchens. All are welcome to buy their produce.
6. Reduce, reuse, repair, recycle
Reducing the amount of new things that we buy saves money and the planet. Sheffield has a wide choice of vintage, second hand and charity shops where you can buy, donate and often sell lightly used items.
Using reusable water bottles saves money and plastic. Many shops will offer a discount for using reusable cups or refill water bottles and the Refill app can help you find them, as well as publicly available water fountains. There is a water fountain next to the Town Hall, in the Peace Gardens.
Plastic Free Sheffield Central provide a reusable cup hire service for events.
Information about Sheffield City Council waste and recycling services can be found here.
7. Change your home’s source of energy
Installing renewable energy such as solar panels saves money over time, although there is usually an investment up front. A number of the grants available through Warm Homes Sheffield include renewable energy and provide free installation for people who are eligible. The government’s GOV.UK: Renewable Heat Incentive also provides financial benefits for using biomass boilers, solar water heating and certain heat pumps. If you get renewable energy generation fitted, be sure to contact your energy provider to sign up to the Smart Export Guarantee to ensure that you are paid for any energy that you don’t use and is exported to the national grid.
8. Switch to an electric vehicle
To help businesses reduce their emissions we're offering a free electric van trial for small and medium businesses to them to decide if they want to use electric vehicle. Taxi drivers can also try out the electric taxi scheme.
Find out more about charging your electric vehicle in Sheffield or look at sites such as ZapMap for locations of most publicly available chargers, including those installed by Sheffield City Council.
The government offers grants to support the wider use of electric and hybrid vehicles via the GOV.UK: Office of Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).
9. Make your money count
Using an ethical bank or building society for your banking and borrowing can make a big difference at very little cost. Locally, Sheffield Credit Union provides ethical savings accounts and loans.
Investing in community energy for example through Sheffield Renewables, increases the amount of renewable energy generated in Sheffield supports local communities and can earn investors a small rate of interest.
Buying from local small businesses is often more environmentally sustainable and helps to boost the local economy especially if you walk or wheel to your local shops.
If you give to charities, local sustainability and nature charities and groups will always be grateful for donations.
10. Speak up
Opportunities to be involved in consultation and engagement about climate change will always be made available to people on the distribution list for our newsletter. You can sign up here (tick the boxes for consultations and surveys and environment news and information).
Many local environmental organisations are members of the South Yorkshire Climate Alliance and their newsletter and website provides information about campaign opportunities.