We are celebrating Earth Day, with seven ways we can help invest in our Island. Earth Day is an annual event, this year being held on Friday 22nd April, to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
First held in 1970, Earth Day now includes a wide range of activities co-ordinated around the planet, which are recognised in more than 193 countries. This year the theme is focused on accelerating solutions to combat our greatest threat, climate change, and to activate everyone – governments, businesses and individuals – to do their part.
Mike Stentiford, MBE said: “Our planet is an amazing place that increasingly needs our collective help to thrive. It’s simply not enough to conserve what we have inherited – we can change the story from decline to recovery, ensure that our Island is more sustainable, more welcoming and full of promise. Earth Day offers a twenty-four hour slot to pledge for a better deal for our Island and our planet, with many simple ways of doing so.”
Sheena Brockie, Sustainability Consultant, Co-Founder of Plastic Free Jersey and the Founder of The Good Jersey Life, said: “We have the simple, but effective, power to use our voices and actions as drivers for change. There is a part for everyone to play, a chance to be part of the solution and not the problem. Our everyday actions can have a huge ripple effect, not just on our living ecosystems, but also in the pace of corporate and government action.” She added: “If every person pledged to do just one thing to help our environment, it will have an enormous impact as a whole.”
We have teamed up with Sheena to provide seven ideas that individuals can pledge to:
#1 Use less water
The average person in the UK directly uses a staggering 150 litres of water every day. It’s not just the water that comes out of our tap or shower that we use. Water is used in everything we do or consume from growing the food we eat, to making the products we use. Our water use including indirect use, equates to 3,400 litres of water every day. Of our total water usage, 74% goes towards food production, 23% for industrial use, and 3% for domestic use.
In Jersey, as an Island with limited underground reserves of water and no links to external water networks, we rely on rainfall for most of the mains water supplied. The supply of water in the Island is therefore vulnerable to periods of low rainfall or drought.
Jersey Water will help you ‘Get Water Fit’ which includes a short survey to help you find out how and where you use water in your home, as well as discovering easy ways to make savings.
#2 Go plastic-free
In Jersey, only 8% of our plastic bottles make it into the recycling stream. Although we must increase the recycling efforts, we can’t recycle our way out of the ongoing plastics crisis. Fortunately, there are many ways we can reduce our plastic. For instance, one reusable bag can prevent the use of 600 plastic bags.
To start your journey towards being plastic-free, you can sign-up to the ‘Refill’ app. The app will help you find places for free tap water, so you can refill your own reusable bottle. It also shows you where water fountains are located, as well as where you can get coffee on the go with your reusable coffee cup.
#3 Get active
Transport is Jersey’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, accounting for a hefty 44% of the Island’s carbon footprint. Active travel options, such as walking or cycling, are the best solutions to reduce impact as they don’t result in any greenhouse gas emissions in their use. And they have the added bonus of keeping us physically active and healthy, whilst enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Check out the suggested routes you can take to be more active, on the Access the Countryside page:
#4 Switch it off
Electricity doesn’t just happen – it has to be produced from things around us. Across the globe, most electricity is produced through the combustion of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil or gas) that has a direct contribution to climate change.
In Jersey, we have a decarbonised power supply, with 98% of our electricity sourced from low-carbon French nuclear and hydropower, and 2% generated from the Energy from Waste plant. Although the supply is decarbonised, meaning it has a lower carbon footprint, we should still look to consume less.
Jersey Electricity has recently released an app where you can access insights into your electricity consumption at home (on a daily, weekly or yearly basis), compare it with similar homes, and find out ways in which you can save.
#5 Buy second-hand
Buying and selling second-hand is one of the easiest ways we can reduce our environmental impact. When we lower the demand for raw materials, we also reduce the demand of the production of goods like furniture and clothes (including reducing the energy and water resources required to make them), prolong the actual lifetime of the items and reduce waste. All this translates into savings in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions.
There are many ways in which you can buy second hand in Jersey – charity shops such as Acorn Reuse Centre, Durrell, Hospice, Silkworth and the smaller charity shops; the Ecycle Jersey or selling pages on Facebook or selling forums such as eBay.
#6 Pick it up
All stormwater drains in Jersey lead to the ocean, so any litter that is dropped in our streets will make it straight to the ocean next time it rains. We can ensure we dispose of, or recycle our litter securely, and we can reduce the chance of our wildlife being impacted.
If you would like to organise a street, park or beach clean with your community, Plastic Free Jersey has kits you can borrow. The kits consist of tubs, bags, gloves, first aid packs and hand sanitiser. Contact Plastic Free Jersey to find out more:
#7 Get planting to support local biodiversity
Researchers estimate roughly 15 billion trees in the world are cut down each year. Trees are vital – they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen for people to breathe; they stabilise the soil and filter the water we drink; they provide shelter and food for animals and humans alike. A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals and plants.
Consider joining a community project with nature at its core, such as Grow Jersey – a community smallholding, farming regeneratively for the benefit of local wildlife and humans alike, growing food for the local community and providing access to physical and mental health benefits of nature.
Our everyday actions have the ability to create real change; as individuals, as businesses, as a community. By taking part in some of these activities, together we are making our world a happier, healthier place to live. A place for us all to thrive.
The question remains, what will you pledge to #InvestInOurIlsand and #InvestinOurPlanet?