As the UK population adjusted to the daily patterns of lockdown life, there have been some significant changes for the majority of us. As, recently, individuals have had to work, exercise and socialise within their own homes, it’s been observed that our carbon footprints have been significantly impacted by our newfound lockdown lifestyles. Many studies, as well as personal accounts, have reported lower emissions rates during the lockdown, largely as a result of less fuel-based transport, including aviation. But what have we been doing at home all this time?
Reports suggest that, whilst at home, many of us have used this time to take up low carbon hobbies such as gardening and DIY, cycling, reading, virtual exercise classes and zoom quizzes. However, as some sense of normality returns, and many of us start to head back to work, how can we ensure we keep-up these low emission lifestyles, whilst remaining safe?
Many of us, whilst at home, have become increasingly interested in home improvements. Statistics suggest that during lockdown, the average time spent on gardening and DIY increased by 147%. As we’ve looked around and found those odd jobs in our homes that we’ve been meaning to do for months, many of us have also started taking more notice of our gardens. Growing our own fruit and veg is an exciting and rewarding way to keep your diet associated emissions low, and our outdoor areas teeming with life. Even if limited on space, windowsills or balcony gardens of herbs and small fruit, such as tomatoes and strawberries, can work a treat. Last year, we even grew some tomatoes in our CL office! As we return to work and life gets busier, take the time to check your veggies, watch them grow and nurture them; not only are they delicious, it’s great for our wellbeing during this transition to our new ‘normal’!
As a community, we’ve also come to more greatly appreciate our green-spaces. During lockdown, our strict one-hour of exercise per day has highlighted how important our local parks, woodlands and waterways are. Spending more time exploring our local areas has made many of us realise just how important these areas are to our physical and mental wellbeing, as well as the many benefits they provide for biodiversity. If your local green-space became the highlight of your day throughout lockdown, why not see if you can get involved with a local community or conservation group to help restore and care for it?
Being at home hasn’t just meant time for activities; for many of us, this is time for work too! We have turned any space we can into our work-from-home office, free of distraction… or, at least, tried to! As zoom calls get interrupted by excited children and a nosey cat who likes to block the keyboard, we have somehow adjusted to the many distractions of home, some even finding work more productive from a space of comfort. Perhaps this is something you might consider doing post lockdown; we could significantly reduce transport emissions if those who could, and usually drive to work, choose to do so from home, even if only some of the time. Though perhaps this isn’t for you and you’re desperate to get back to work. As many of us who rely on public transport for our commute re-evaluate our options, statistics indicate that cycling has become a much more popular transport option, so much so that the government are providing £50 bike repair vouchers. In order to keep commuting emissions low if you’re opting to avoid public transport, now is the time to dust off your old wheels and get the ball rolling on your low carbon commute!
Whilst staying at home has been a priority for the last 3 months, so has our ‘essentials’ shopping list, with many households using local amenities, such as the greengrocers, deli’s and even corner shops, more frequently during lockdown. Reports indicate that 59% of us have used more local stores and services during lockdown in comparison to our usual shopping habits at larger, chain stores. Not only does this benefit the local economy but helps out our local community too! Shopping with local tradespeople often includes buying local and in-season produce, another big win for our footprint!
After spending the last few months in our own homes, creating habits to maintain our wellbeing, safety, and happiness, how will you be looking to keep elements of your low carbon lockdown lifestyle?