Here at Child Friendly Leeds, we have been setting fortnightly challenges for you to enjoy during lockdown. The theme for this fortnight is #SkillsForLife with a focus on responding to the climate emergency.
We’ve teamed up with #LeedsByExample to get you thinking about the skills you can build on to reduce your carbon footprint and care for the environment now and in the future.
The competition will run from Monday 1 June and it will close on Friday 19 June. We want to see how you are building your #SkillsForLife through your actions against climate change. We have lots of ideas, shared in this blog, of how you might do this.
Just share your entry on social media and use the hashtag #OurChildFriendlyLeeds. There are prizes to be won for the best entry.
What is my carbon footprint made of?
Your carbon footprint is a measure of your personal contribution to climate change. It takes into account how many greenhouse gases are released as a result of the way you choose to live your life. The bigger the carbon footprint, the bigger your impact on the environment.
From the food that you eat and the stuff you buy, to how you travel and the energy you use in your home—all of the carbon that goes into these things makes up you carbon footprint. To measure yours, fill out WWF’s Carbon Footprint Calculator.
To find out more about how our actions and carbon emissions affect climate change, watch this useful video.
What can I do?
Don’t panic if your carbon footprint is bigger than you’d like! It’s easy to reduce your environmental impact.
There are so many #SkillsForLife you can easily work on to reduce your carbon footprint, protect our planet and #LeedsByExample. Here’s a few ideas to get you started…
Learn to ride a bike—or ride somewhere new!
Many people in Leeds choose to travel around the city by car, sometimes even for very short journeys. Unfortunately, most cars are powered by fossil fuels which mean they emit harmful and greenhouse gases.
Cycling and scooting are fun ways to get around and they’re good for the environment too. Learning to ride one—or learning to go somewhere new—is a skill for life that is also good for your health.
Take a look at our cycle planning page to get some ideas on where to go and what routes to take. Don’t forget to share your cycling adventures with us by using #OurChildFriendlyLeeds.
Cook a climate-friendly meal
Learning to cook a tasty and healthy meal is definitely a skill for life but did you know that some food is better for the planet than others? For example, eating one beef burger every week has the same environmental impact as driving a car for 320 miles! That’s like driving from Leeds all the way to Cambridge and back! To find out why this is, watch this video.
Dairy produce and meat, especially beef and lamb, have a higher carbon footprint because of the land, water, and energy used to feed and rear animals. So by eating a few less meals with meat in each week you’ll reduce the impact your diet has on the environment.
Why not try cooking a meat-free meal for your family to enjoy? If you need some inspiration on what to cook, take a look at some of these easy climate friendly recipes.
Grow something green to help local wildlife
Over the last 30 years, more than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered due to a loss of habitat, our use of pesticides, climate change and the way we grow and source natural resources. Without pollinators such as bees and butterflies, crops including apples, soft fruits, beans, courgettes, tomatoes and strawberries will be harder to grow and more expensive to buy.
You can do your bit to help wildlife in Leeds by having a go at some gardening: whether it’s in your garden, or on a balcony or windowsill, these pollinator friendly plants are easy to grow.
For more information on biodiversity, check out this video activity to find out more about it and why protecting biodiversity is so important.
Help your family waste less
Over 600,000 tonnes of stuff is thrown away from Leeds’ homes and businesses every year! However, many of the things we throw away could be useful to someone else or could be recycled into something new.
Take a look at this activity to find out what happens to the plastic you throw away and learn why it’s so important to reuse and recycle—as well as reduce the amount of stuff we throw away in the first place.
Luckily, we can recycle lots of materials and reuse unwanted stuff by donating or repairing it. You could help more people to recycle by designing a poster that explains what can and can’t be recycled and what can be reused or repaired locally using these helpful pages by Leeds Recycles and Zero Waste Leeds to display at home.
Learn how to save energy at home
Whilst some electricity we use at home comes from clean and renewable sources, a lot of this energy is still created in ways that directly cause climate change. You can therefore make a big difference (and help save money) by reducing the amount of electricity and water you waste at home. For example, turning your heating down by just 1 degree can save around £80 a year!
Turning the heating down, switching off lights and appliances, changing lightbulbs to L.E.D or using less hot water are all things that can reduce your household’s impact on the environment! For information about where our energy comes from and how much electricity appliances use at home, take a look at these worksheets and read these top tips from the Energy Saving Trust.
Try and find out how much energy you use at home and come up with ideas for how you can reduce this, then create a poster, video or leaflet to explain this to your parents.
Whatever you do to help the environment or reduce your carbon footprint, make sure you share it with us on social media. Post on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #OurChildFriendlyLeeds to enter the competition.