North Devon Council and Torridge District Council are working together and encouraging local residents and organisations to “Find your footprint” to help combat climate change.
“Find your footprint” is a joint project between the two councils and local environmental entrepreneur, Mukti Mitchell that aims to make reducing your carbon footprint easy and fun. The project has been launched in response to the national climate emergency declared across the UK by local authorities including the two councils.
Other charities in the region, including Resurgence Trust, 361 Energy, Devon Wildlife Trust, Plastic Free North Devon, Beaford Arts and the AONB Biosphere Reserve, have also joined the project, which hopes to reach 10,000 people across the region.
The project kicks off with “Find your Footprint” week from 17-24 October. Individuals and organisations can find out their carbon footprint using a five-minute online tool and then pick one action from a range of easy lifestyle options that save CO2. They can then measure their footprint again to see how much it has reduced as part of “Celebrate your Savings” week in March 2021.
Mukti Mitchell, director of Carbon Savvy, a CO2 saving advice provider, says: “The great news is that reducing your carbon footprint almost always leads to improvements in your quality of life, so this will also make us all happier, healthier and wealthier in Northern Devon over the next 10 years.
“When I ask people at talks and workshops what they want to do to improve their quality of life, I often hear: spend more time with my family, partner, children and friends. Spend more time in the garden, or walking the dog or in nature. People are surprised that their most valued activities actually save CO2; so if we do more of the things we love, it’s good for the planet too.”
Caroline Leaver, North Devon District Council Lead Member for Climate Change, says: “We know we need to do something and this is a real opportunity for us to lead the way, in collaboration with Torridge District Council, Carbon Savvy, and others. Working together, we can take action to achieve our target of zero CO2 emissions by 2030 – for the sake of our own lives, and for our children and grandchildren.
“An average UK carbon footprint is close to 15 tonnes per person per year. The five biggest areas which emit CO2 are: heating our homes, transport, intensive food production, international holidays, and shopping for products. Simple actions like taking one less flight, buying organic milk, increasing your loft insulation or purchasing a long-lasting household appliance, have a big effect when lots of people are doing them together.”
Jon Gething, Chair of 361 Community Energy, a not-for-profit organisation developing community renewable energy and providing energy saving advice across northern Devon, says, “Everyone’s lives are very different, so the easiest action for one person is not the same for another. That’s why it’s best to choose one action that’s easiest for you and not worry about what anyone else is doing. This way you make the most progress with the least effort, which feels good.”
Councillor Peter Hames, Torridge District Council Lead Member for Climate Change says: “Radical change often begins with one small step and so the “find your footprint” campaign is a perfect way to help people make those small changes that collectively can mean so much for our environment. Hopefully people will be encouraged to make bigger changes in their lifestyles but if they start with just one or two then that’s still a big win for the planet and future generations.”
“Find your Footprint” week will include a survey on how people in Northern Devon rate their well-being today, and what improvements they want to see in their own lives and across the county.
To take part in “Find your Footprint” week go to www.carbonsavvy.uk/findyourfootprint where you can take the survey and find out your carbon footprint in just five minutes.