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The Council

Environment

On 24th June 2019 Thatcham Town Council declared a Climate Emergency.

On 24th June 2019 Thatcham Town Council declared a Climate Emergency and unanimously resolved to explore how Thatcham Town Council can support and promote a wider programme of activities to help Thatcham, as a whole, become more sustainable, with the ambition of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

7 Everyday Challenges, Choices & Changes:

Enjoy Nature

Climate change threatens to make extinct many species of the natural world that we take for granted. On top of that, we are in the sixth mass extinction, also known as the Holocene Extinction and the Anthropocene Extinction, which is an extinction of species caused by man, principally by the destruction of habitats where the threatened species live. Climate change is one cause but so too is the deliberate destruction of environments for such activities as growing crops, mining and land development.

In Thatcham we are blessed with a variety of habitats, from reedbeds and lakes to streams, a major river and canal, woodland and heathland on Greenham and Crookham Commons as well as mixed farmland, open public areas and gardens. We should enjoy them, value them and protect them.

We should also think about the effects on habitats overseas caused by our life choices, such as the food we eat, the chemicals, minerals and compounds that we use, the products we buy and the effects of the holidays we take.

Use and waste less

China is often blamed as a country with high carbon emissions including many from burning coal. But much of the manufacturing of goods for the west, and for this country in particular, is carried out in China. So in effect their emissions are our emissions. If we want these emissions reduced, we should try to consume less.  We can do this by:

  • Not buying stuff that we do not really need;
  • Replacing things less often;
  • Making more effort to have items repaired;
  • Re-using items destined for the bin more often;
  • Recycling as much as we can.

Your money matters
You may have investments and/or you may have a pension. If so you can influence what type of company these financial instruments invest in. Ask questions and have your say. Insist that they disinvest from companies investing in fossil fuels. Ask questions about their environmental principles and policies. Surprisingly this is an area where your influence can be far greater than in some of the other areas covered here. Money talks.

Think about food

We all need to consume food. We know now that some food causes far more carbon emissions than other food. Here are some issues to think about.

Food miles

Try not to buy food that has been sourced from a foreign country and flown in to the UK. This happens when we buy food out of its normal growing season, or where it is a product that cannot be grown in the UK. But do consider each food on its merits: for instance, bananas cannot be grown in the UK, but the states where they are grown depend on being able to successfully export them.

Seasonality

Buy food that is in season. As stated above, buying food only when it is in season means that it has not necessarily travelled a long distance to reach our plates. Nor has it been grown in artificial conditions of temperature or humidity, which require energy that may be sourced from fossil fuels.

Meat

In general the rearing of livestock to feed us requires more carbon emissions than the growing of plants. Beef from South America, or soya to feed livestock anywhere in the world, may have been grown on land previously supporting rain forests. So go veggie or vegan if you can. But some meat is grown on pastures which do not have an alternative use, and the net carbon emissions are then lower.

Fish

The unchecked plundering of the seas by some unscrupulous fishing boats is both unsustainable and cruel. But the farming of fish, especially salmon, can also be cruel with inadequate treatment of diseases and parasites, as well as damaging to the population of wild fish.

Food packaging

The wanton use and disposal of plastics for food packaging are now a source of major pollution and a concern as they are difficult to dispose of. Try to use food that is not wrapped in plastic, or uses plastic that is recyclable. And make sure you do recycle it!

Save Energy

Saving energy in your home is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon emissions, and it can save you money too. Domestic energy accounts for on average 28% of the CO2 emissions of a household in West Berkshire, of which heating fuels such as gas and oil account for 4.1% and electricity, 1.3%.

 

Here are some things you can do to reduce CO2 emissions from domestic energy use:

  • To reduce emissions from electricity use:
    • Switch your electricity provider to one who sources the power from renewable sources only, such as wind and solar.
    • Change your light bulbs to LED.
    • Install solar photovoltaic or solar thermal panels on your roof.
    • Switch off lights and appliances where possible.
  • To reduce your use of energy for heating and hot water:
    • Insulate your house by lagging your loft, treating your walls with an insulation material and change your windows for double-, or preferably triple-glazed ones.
    • Turn the thermostat in your house down. You should be able to live comfortably at a temperature of 18OC or less. If necessary, wear an extra layer of clothing in winter.
    • Take showers in preference to baths and minimise the length of time that you run the shower. Consider running it for a short time to lather yourself, then turn it off while you wash, then turn it on for another short time to rinse yourself.
    • When the time comes to replace your boiler, instal a ground-source or air-source heat pump instead of a new boiler.
    • When boiling your kettle, boil only the amount you intend to use, not a full kettle’s-worth.

 

Travel wisely

The transport sector , even with aviation excluded) is the largest emitting-sector of the UK economy. In West Berkshire the emissions over a 5-year period, classed as being under the scope of influence of Local Authorities after excluding Motorway traffic, shows an upwards trend accounting for 39% of all emissions and about 2.3 tonnes of CO2 per person.

These are the things you can do to save emissions on travel:

  • Don’t fly. Take holidays in the UK or take the train or drive to Europe;
  • Use your car less: take the train or bus where you can;
  • Change your car for an electric one – but remember it will take about 5 years to offset the carbon costs of manufacture with CO2 saved.
  • Cycle or walk when you can: Buy an electric bike if this will encourage you to leave the car at home.

Join in

Climate change can only be halted by a concerted international effort. That was one of the themes of the COP26 conference in 2021. Politicians may do what they can, but they need support from their electorates. That’s us.

You can demonstrate support for their efforts in different ways:

 

Related Links

Green Providers Directory

Solar Streets

Thatcham Litter Pickers

Thatcham Refillable

West Berkshire Council Environment Strategy

West Berks Climate Action Network

West Berks Green Exchange

Eco Friends (formerly known as West Berkshire Sustainable Community)

Documents

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