Climate Week at SRUC

From September 18th to 22nd, it’s Climate Week in Scotland. Here at SRUC we take environmental protection very seriously – indeed why we offer courses in renewables technology and environment!

So what’s the point? Well, it’s all about raising awareness of climate change and encouraging people to do their bit to reduce our impact on the environment.

Of course, ideally we continue to do these things for more than just one week. Here are some ideas on small things you can do to help:

1. Minimise your use of disposable plastics

Plastic is used in a lot of products – probably more than you’re aware of (in fact, there’s a lot of plastic in whatever device you’re reading this on). Over the last 50 years we’ve grown our use of plastic by 2000%.

A lot of modern plastics can be recycled, and there are even some that are biodegradable now, but ideally we want to minimise our use of plastic altogether.

Most plastics take 450-1000 years to degrade, and if they’re not recycled will end up in landfill.

Things that can help with this:

  • Reusable water bottles and mugs for hot drinks (lots of places offer cheaper drinks with renewable mugs).
  • Reusable bags (some supermarkets don’t offer disposable carrier bags now)
  • Avoid buying foods that are wrapped in excessive plastic packaging

If you can’t avoid using plastics, please ensure it’s disposed of properly:

  • Don’t drop litter. Seems like a simple idea but it continues. Even a tiny bit of plastic can cause irreparable harm to wildlife. Plus, litter makes the world look awful.
  • Make use of the segregated recycling bins found in your campus – don’t just dump it in the general waste bin.

2. Unnecessary energy consumption

As an education institute, we are pretty reliant on electricity to deliver teaching and research. We continue to do our best to improve energy efficiency across our campuses and consultancy centres, but ultimately the small things really add up.

  • Turn off lights and computer monitors when you’re out of the office. Doesn’t seem like much for one person, but if everyone across SRUC turned off lights and monitors that weren’t needed, we could save over 240kg of CO2 this week alone.
  • Don’t overfill kettles – by only boiling the water you need, we can save nearly 180kg CO2. Plus you get that coffee much quicker too!
  • Putting your computer on sleep mode when it’s not in use will help us save nearly 400kg CO2.

That of course is just in the office. Imagine what can be done at home and elsewhere!

3. Travelling to work

In 2013 alone there were an estimated 2.7 million cars on the road in Scotland, an increase of 1/6th compared with a decade before that. This netted an estimated 43.5bn vehicle kilometers on the roads.

As vehicle running costs continue to increase, it’s within our interests to reduce the amount of time spent travelling in private vehicles, but also in a bid to help reduce emissions. Public transport is not necessarily a practical option for many people, but perhaps there are other solutions.

  • Consider car sharing if possible.
  • Cycling can be a great way of getting around the local area around the campuses, and SRUC has a cycling group which can offer help and support.

If you can’t avoid using your own car, you can at least take the following steps to minimise your emissions (and the reduction of your bank balance in the process)

  • Ensure that your vehicle is running well – properly inflated tyres, engine running efficiently, etc. All these small things improve the vehicle’s performance and the fuel efficiency.
  • Turn off the engine whilst idling – if you’re stuck in traffic or waiting for someone, switch off the engine.
  • Drive sensibly – erratic or harsh acceleration or braking is a great way of burning through more fuel than necessary.
  • Avoid driving altogether – if you can walk somewhere, leave the car behind, especially in the cities where it’s not cheap to park.

Here’s to a brighter future.

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