By Mukti Mitchell
- SMART HOMES: Smart Living always starts at home, so make yours warm and cosy! Insulate your property by fitting loft insulation, draft proofing, secondary or double glazing, and wall and floor installation. You’ll save money and energy, so it’s good for the planet and great for your peace of mind (See – cosyhomecompany.co.uk for details). You could also consider switching to a green energy provider.
- SMART SHARED LIVING. Get a lodger, rent a room or share a house. Sharing bills radically cuts your carbon footprint and saves money. And having people around meets our need for community, sharing life’s experiences, as well as enjoying other people’s cooking and pooling together to cover the chores!
- SMART FOOD: Eat organic, local food, it’s tastier, healthier, supports the local economy and has lower emissions. It’s also much better for everyone involved in getting the food from the field to your fork, for trading this way helps build communities, nourish traditions and encourage innovation, helping the countryside to keep buzzing with life.
- SMART COOKING: Cook from scratch – listening to music or cooking with a friend is more fun, and fresh ingredients use less refrigeration, processing and packaging. Cooking a good dish from scratch makes you feel great about yourself, and tastes way better!
- SMART SPENDING: Use your money like a vote – spend it with organisations you would like to see in your ideal world. For me these are small scale, ethical shops and farms – places where I’d like to work myself. Spending your money in the shops you like makes you feel really good, and positive that you are building the world you want. You can also watch your money grow in a renewables investment opportunity.
- SMART SHOPPING: Purchase quality, long-lasting products. A product that lasts five times longer has one fifth the CO2 emissions over its life span. Natural clothes made from wool, hemp and leather last far longer than synthetics, and curiously don’t smell, so require much less washing!
- SUPER SMART SHOPPING: Double up! The perfect pair of shoes is good for home and work. The perfect bicycle goes on and off road. The perfect coat is good for rain and shine. Versatile products can take more time to find, but once we have them, they serve multiple purposes, save physical and mental space, and embodied energy.
- SMART TRANSPORT: Use shared transport – buses, trains and full cars all emit a quarter of the emissions of a solo car journey and tend to be very cost effective. Having the chance to chat, read or relax on public transport can really lift your day – it’s like being chauffeur driven!
- SMART TRAVEL: Holiday by ground or sea transport – due to radiative forcing, high altitude emissions are around three times more damaging. Travelling abroad by ferry, ship and train is also much more fun! (See – voyagevert.org for details of an exciting new sustainable ferry service!) Plus optimise your travel: travel less often and spend more time – a longer stay makes for a richer experience.
- SMART HOLIDAYS: Take holidays in your home country – it’s nice to get away in the winter, but in the summer, home may be the best place in the world! Getting to know your own country can be, surprisingly, even more interesting, and the English countryside and coast have so many hidden gems to uncover!
Mukti Mitchell is Director of the award-winning CosyHome Company, which retrofits energy saving insulations for period properties. The author of The Guide to Low Carbon Lifestyles (downloadable at lowcarbonlifestyle.org.uk) and five highly commended online carbon calculators, Mukti has been leading a low carbon lifestyle for 15 years. A director of pioneering sustainable ferry service Voyage Vert, he famously sailed around Britain in a zero-emission micro yacht, and is an acclaimed writer and speaker on low carbon living.