Cllr Gregor Murray, Executive member for Climate Emergency Wokingham Borough Council writes part 7 in a series on tackling the Climate Emergency
To be successful in achieving our climate goals, there are things that governments around the globe must do with other nations, and things they must do in their own countries. For businesses, there are choices to be faced as an industry, and choices that businesses must tackle by themselves. And in Wokingham Borough, there are actions that we can take as a whole community, such as building a solar farm or planting more trees, and there are choices that we need to make as individuals.
Choosing to live more sustainably isn’t always easy. The most common questions that I am asked are “what can I personally do?” and “where can I start?”
Helping to answer those questions is one of the most important things that the Council is working on. We refer to it as ‘the Big Idea’, but what we mean is ‘helping residents to choose to live more sustainably.’
Earlier this year, we began consulting with experts and working to prepare initiatives to help all of us to make the choice to live more sustainable lifestyles. We are focusing on eight key areas:
- Transport – helping us all to live more active lifestyles;
- Waste – cutting the total tonnes of waste we generate while also increasing recycling rates even more;
- Energy – using less energy while maintaining the connectivity of life;
- Food – encouraging sustainable sourcing and sustainable consumption with minimal waste;
- Clothing – reducing consumption of fast fashion by encouraging repairing, reusing and repurposing;
- Water – reducing the volume of water we each use, and mostly waste, every day;
- Schools – enabling our children to learn and live sustainable lifestyles throughout their lives; and
- Businesses – working with our local business community to help them, and their employees live more sustainably.
This month we are holding an event where we have invited some of the leading national behaviour change and incentives-based businesses. They will meet with our senior officers and pitch their ideas of what we could do to help us all live more sustainable lives. We are open to ideas of any size or scale. We know that, in order to help each of us make the choice to live more sustainable lives, we will have to engage you in a number of different ways.
Only through making many individual changes can we achieve our climate objectives. Each one of us has a role in deciding to change – but we also know that we will each need a lot of help and support along the way. That is why, as part of ‘the Big Idea’ we are also calling on all local businesses, charities, religious groups, sports clubs, community groups and neighbourhoods to join with us and engage in shaping and delivering our sustainable living programmes.
As separate households, we can each save a few kilograms of food from being wasted; but as a community we can save hundreds of tonnes from being wasted each month. Individually we can walk or cycle more; but as organisations we can cut thousands of non-essential miles from our roads each week.
Individually we each have a choice to make about how sustainably we want to live our lives. These choices will quickly add up and have a lasting, beneficial effect for our community, our nation, and for our planet. The important thing is to recognise that the choice is ours to make, and then to act on it.
Next week – let’s talk about community engagement.
last week - How planning can tackle climate change