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‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly … Careful!

Written by on November 30, 2021

The Christmas lights have been switched on, the first trees are up and the buying frenzy that is Black Friday has come and gone – well almost. Yes, it is time for Zero Carbon Harrogate’s Guest Post…

It’s not hard to tell that the festive season is upon us and whether you celebrate Christmas or not it can be an expensive and wasteful time of the year, both financially and in terms of carbon emissions. According to ‘money.co.uk’, the carbon cost of Black Friday alone in 2021 could be almost 400,000 tonnes of carbon, equivalent to around 216,000 flights between London and Sydney!

The self-imposed voluntary excesses of Christmas are bad enough, with all the cards, decorations, presents, packaging and food but here in the northern hemisphere it coincides with some of the coldest days of the year, which results in an increased demand on our energy use and hence our carbon emissions.

There are ways to limit these excesses, without becoming a Scrooge. Take those gifts to start with. Instead of material things, why not give memories, experiences or your time; help your family or friends with a task; make your own craft or bake, or try buying second hand. If you really do want to buy something a bit special, try to buy items which are likely to have a low carbon impact, as far as you can tell at least.

When it comes to the food the first rule must be to buy only what you will really need and the second is to buy seasonal products, that come from as close to home as possible. According to ‘Zero Waste Week’ well over four million Christmas dinners are thrown away every year – that’s equivalent to 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies, 740,000 portions of Christmas pudding and 11.3 million roast potatoes.

When it comes to food shopping, we have some amazing local farmers, farm shops and suppliers here in the Harrogate District who are working hard to be sustainable and who need our support.

As for limiting energy use, well the rocketing price of energy has made this even more of a priority. The four primary areas to look into are: reducing home heat loss through insulation; improving home heating system efficiency; buying energy efficient products and generating your own renewable electricity. Some energy saving measures will need a significant, upfront financial investment but many will quickly pay for themselves by way of lower energy bills, and given the current low interest rates on savings accounts, now may be the perfect time to start. The Energy Savings Trust has some great information and advice on each of these areas, as well as on ways to save money and reduce carbon emissions in other areas of energy use.

To help reduce carbon emissions, without making a large investment, the simple step of changing to a green energy provider comes top of the list, but given the current circumstances in the energy market, switching between suppliers or even tariffs is not a simple matter and may be costly, but it is something to prioritise as soon as it becomes a viable option.

The steps we need to take to address climate change can sometimes seem like a real chore and take all the fun out of the things we enjoy but in fact they are doing the complete opposite, they are helping to ensure that the things we value and enjoy can continue. Climate change is the real threat to our traditions and way of life if it remains unchecked. A warming climate means disruption to all aspects of life, with consequences that are yet to be fully recognised.

Having a jolly but careful festive season can help save energy, save money and secure our future.


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