Climate Change in the Community

Individual action has a huge part to play in tackling climate change. Scientists estimate that changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

For Sandwell specifically, in 2018 we found the biggest problems areas were residential buildings and on-road transport, which are both areas we can help with as individuals.

We don't need perfection from one or two people, but everyone doing as much as they can to reach our targets.  

What are the benefits of responding to climate change?

By acting on climate change, we can also change Sandwell for the better:

  • We can reduce our energy bills if we insulate our homes
  • We can reduce cars on the road, giving us cleaner air to breath for healthier kids and adults
  • We can have more parks and green spaces for us to enjoy and to increase wildlife
  • We can reduce the likelihood that flooding will become a significant problem for Sandwell
  • We can have greater energy security if we invest in our own renewable energy like solar panels and wind turbines
  • We can create green jobs for a strong workforce
  • We can future-proof businesses and increasing 'local spend' by keeping money in the local economy

So what are the easiest things we can do that will have the biggest impact?

What can I do to act against climate change?


Get the basics under your belt

New to Climate Change? Have a read of Climate Change Facts page to see what it's all about


Reduce the distance you drive

A review of 7000 studies found that on average living car-free is the number one thing you can to reduce your carbon footprint.

This isn't practical for most of us, but reducing the number of car journeys we take, or changing our mode of transport, is a great thing to do.

Could that short journey to the shop be made on foot or by bike? This will improve air quality and health, and save money on petrol costs. See our new programme for cycling and walking in Sandwell.

Or could you take the bus into town? Buses emit around half the amount of greenhouse gases than cars, and reduce congestion on the roads. See our page on public transport in Sandwell.

Check if longer journeys could be made by train, for example a train from Sandwell & Dudley station to Birmingham New Street station emits about 70% less carbon than driving, and takes half the time.

By reducing car use, we can improve the air quality in Sandwell, which has numerous health benefits, see our Air Quality Page for more information.


Energy saving measures at home

There are lots of ways to save energy in the home, many of which will also save you money at the same time. The impact of these actions range from small to large:

Small Medium Large
Swap to LED lights Lower the thermostat by 1C Draught-proof your home
Use radiator reflectors Install a smart meter Insulate your loft
Only boil the water you need Wash your clothes at a lower temperature Consider cavity wall or solid wall insulation
Close curtains/doors to keep heat in Hang out your washing to dry instead of using the tumble dryer Install solar panels
Use the eco setting on appliances Turn off radiators in unused rooms Switch to a heat pump
Turn off appliances instead of leaving them on standby Use a timer for your heating Swap to a renewable energy tariff
Turn off lights in unused rooms    

For more ideas and advice, have a look at our Energy Saving Tips page, or at the Energy Saving Trust's website


Lower your meat consumption

Reducing how much meat, fish, dairy and eggs you eat is a great way to help the planet.

Cows and sheep produce methane, a harmful greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide. However, once it's in the atmosphere, methane is 80 times stronger over the first 20 years. Because we consume such great quantities of meat, especially in western society, the methane from these livestock contributes significantly to global warming.

Forests are cut down to give animals space to roam and land to grow their food. If we reduced the amount of meat we eat, it would leave more space for natural habitat to flourish and wildlife to increase.

Not eating meat is often cheaper and healthier for you too. Beans, grains and lentils are all high in protein and cost a fraction of the price of meat, while increasing your fibre intake which improves gut health. Cooking from scratch also means you know exactly what you're putting into meals.

Trying meat-free Mondays, or having beef or lamb less frequently, is a great start. 


Check who your money is with

An often-forgotten player in tackling climate change is the money saved in bank accounts and pension schemes.

As most of us are aware, when we deposit money it doesn't sit there until we wish to withdraw it again, some of it at least is being invested into other organisations, including fossil fuel companies.

For example, $742 billion was invested by banks in the fossil fuel industry in 2021. By switching banks, you can direct your money away from funding activities which contribute to climate change.

Check how well you bank scores here and for more information the Make My Money Matter website provides a great dive into why you should consider where you keep your money. 


Switch to renewable energy in your home

Unfortunately due to the energy crisis, it is no longer fairly easy or viable for lots of us to switch energy tariffs or providers at the moment. However, doing this still has one of the biggest impacts when tackling climate change. 

Renewable energy comes from a source that won't run out, such as solar power from the Sun or wind power. This is instead of fossil fuels which emit harmful carbon emissions by burning limited oil, gas or coal supplies. If you switch to a tariff which provides renewable electricity, this will mean your supplier should buy enough renewable electricity from the network to match how much you use. 

This Green Energy Tariff guide from MoneySavingExpert is a good beginners guide and also covers why some companies are better to choose over others. 


Questions? Email the climate change team