"What's Good for the Planet Could be Good for Your Pocket"
In September, the Shropshire Star reported that the ‘fuel gap’ – or the amount of extra income a household would need in order to rise out of fuel poverty - is set to rise to £1,050 in rural areas during October.
This and other horrifying trends around the rising cost of energy worries the volunteers at Save Our Shropshire, a local charity committed to information and attitude change around climate action.
“Net Zero by Three Zero” is the charity’s motto, and Save Our Shropshire tries to reach this goal through education. The charity currently delivers a range of trainings for householders, small and medium-sized organisations, and town and parish councils. The trainings are aimed at educating people about the climate emergency, and also include a "call to action" for each learner to take practical steps in Shropshire to reduce carbon emissions in their community. Save Our Shropshire have partnered with the Carbon Literacy Project to deliver accredited trainings that award learners with a “Carbon Literacy certificate”.
Save Our Shropshire is trying to get out the message to the community that tackling the climate emergency should go hand in hand with tackling the crisis around the rises in the cost of living.
Richard Watkins, Save Our Shropshire Vice-Chair, says that households need help now. But that shouldn’t stop Shropshire thinking about the ways that the cost of energy is deeply connected to the dependence on fossil fuels. Richard says:
“The response of government to the cost of living crisis, is use less energy and get the government to pay out immediate cash. It is right that governments help. But there should be an eye on the long-term, not just short-termism.”
The reason for the high energy prices is “obvious” says Allan Wilson, Save Our Shropshire's Chair. Humans have created a lifestyle since 1750 that is totally dependent on gas and oil.
But what can we do? Save Our Shropshire argues that we need to start thinking longer-term and ask for long-term action.
But the difficulty often lies in the cost of investing in long-term changes. One of the things that Save Our Shropshire wants to do is to raise awareness that there is financial help out there for long-term investment in energy savings – and that these investments can also mean long-term financial savings too.
Some ideas from Save Our Shropshire include:
- Making homes energy efficient: Visiting Marches Energy agency’s Future Ready Homes Project for ideas, including a free home energy survey.
- There is also information available on making homes more energy efficient on the Energy Saving Trust website. For example, the site notes that households could save around £600 per year in energy bills by installing proper insulation.
- Eating a more plant-based diet will reduce the amount of harmful gases going into the atmosphere, but can also save money. A report produced by Kantar in January 2021 showed that a vegan diet costs 40 % less per person - £1.06 rather than £ 1.77. That is a saving of £260 per year per person. Or around £600 per household. Good for the pocket and the planet!
- Reduce home thermostat by 10C if you currently keep it over 20. USWITCH (the agency that helps people change providers) estimates that reducing average heating temperatures by 10C could reduce the annual bill by as much as 10% per year. (Note that the report does not recommend this for the elderly or those otherwise more vulnerable to cold temperatures). This will also reduce the demand for oil and gas and be good for the planet.
Check out the mission and resources that Save Our Shropshire have on offer by visiting their website.
Save Our Shropshire is looking for trainers and trustees!