Before I begin I want to acknowledge that this article does come from a place of privilege. I can decide to put up my thermostat if I want to or turn on a radiator as well as having money to invest in further methods to keep warm. Many this winter will have to decide between eating and heating their homes. So whilst it is still important to reduce our heating emissions for the climate, we must acknowledge those who are doing all the things below because they have no other choice.
This winter please think about donating to your local food banks to support people who are in this position.
As the temperature drops in the Northern hemisphere, most people will at least start thinking about turning on their heating. However for those of us trying to be more climate-friendly and live a zero waste life, that shouldn't be our first action point. Many people still have heating powered by fossil fuels - often out of their control. For people living in blocks of flats, council housing, student accommodation, sheltered housing, residential homes etc, the decisions regarding one's heating provider may be outside your control. For some people the decision to swap to a green energy supplier may just be financially unattainable. But even for those on "green" energy tariffs, heating is often powered by gas, and even biofuel gas (which is more sustainable than fossil fuels), still releases carbon emissions when burnt. Meaning that ideally we should be avoiding using it wherever possible to keep our carbon footprint low.
So how can we stay warm without turning on the heating?
1. Layer up
2. Warm yourself not your home
3. Trap heat inside
4. If your heating is on, be smart
So there we have many ways you can avoid, or at least delay, turning on your heating. Our decisions alone won't reverse climate change but if we all start making small choices like these above, we would be in a good position to dramatically reduce our impact. Despite biofuels still producing carbon emissions, green energy providers are still one of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to flighting climate change so if you haven't yet swapped and are able to, please consider taking five minutes to swap today!