10 December 2021

Twelve days of Climate Star Christmas – top tips for saving the planet

Climate change has been at the top of the news in 2021 – and UEA has been in the thick of it. Our pioneering climate researchers were at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, we launched the climate change podcast Why Haven’t We Solved It Yet?, and the Climategate BBC drama The Trick burst onto screens.

UEA is a leading voice in the climate research community, and our students, staff and alumni are doing great things to protect our planet, too. From adopting eco-friendly lifestyles, to calling on the Government to enact change, UEA’s Climate Stars prove that no act is too small to make a difference.

And today we start the Christmas countdown by asking twelve of our Climate Stars for their top tips for everyday sustainable living in 2022. From travel to toothpaste, web searches to wildlife (read on for some seriously ingenious ideas for protecting bees and hedgehogs) they’re speedy, simple and could make a real difference…

 

1. Transform a teapot into a ‘beepot’ – graduate Lucy Jeffrey

“This is one of the best things I have learned this year. If you have an old teapot, plant this in your garden with the spout out. Place some toy stuffing, tumble dryer fluff or animal moulting into the teapot, and this will make a perfect nest for bumblebees, which they can access through the spout. Save the bees!”

Read about research by UEA’s Prof Andrew Bourke into new ways of gathering essential information on bumblebees to support these vital pollinators. 

2. Buy less, buy better – student Thomas Panton

“By considering our spending choices more and moving away from cheap, fast fashion brands like Primark, Asos, and Amazon, you can own products which aren’t just better for the planet but are also going to last you longer and save you money in the future. It is worth investing in brands like Greenr.co.uk with a sustainable ethos, rather than being a part of the throw away consumer culture.”  

"We must alert those who can enact change"

3. Save sustainably - Dr Sarah Eglington

Move your banking to an ethical bank that chose organisations that are committed to making a positive impact on the environment. Between them, 35 of the world’s major banks have provided $3.8 trillion to fossil fuel companies since the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted at the end of 2015.

“Sustainable investment involves avoiding harmful industries and moving toward renewable energy, social justice, global equality organizations, and more.”

4. Have yourself a climate conscious Christmas - graduate Helen Davies

“This Christmas consider recycling wrapping paper for presents and use old Christmas cards for labels. It is estimated that each year in Britain we throw away enough wrapping paper to circle the globe nine times, so explore inventive ways to wrap your gifts this year, with sustainability in mind. Tape cannot be recycled so use brown paper tied up with string instead. Equally, you could use gift bags that can be reused within different groups of people.

“You really can continue your environmentally conscious lifestyle during the holiday period!”

5. Petition your parliamentarian – medical student Amit Singh

“I would encourage people to engage with their MP, or other people of influence, to create system change. Find and join a local group working on environmental sustainability. There is strength in numbers, whether through campaigns, demonstrations, or lectures. We must alert those who can enact change.”

 

6. The case for plant based – graduate Ricky Knight

“For me, it’s important to buy local, and not to eat anything that is out of season – within reason of course. I’d also strongly recommend that people adopt a vegan diet, or at least a vegetarian one to begin with. If everyone in the UK cut out meat for just one day of the week, 215 million animals would be spared each year, alongside 95 billion litres of water.”

Read more into UEA research that revealed the impact of wild meat consumption on greenhouse gas emissions

7. Listen and learn – educator Kit Rackley

“Talking about the climate issue is fundamental to encouraging change. If you don’t have connections to people with unique experiences then listen to a podcast of marginalised voices. UEA’s Project Change has teamed up with a group of educators to interview people of indigenous heritage and understand their thoughts on climate change. Check it out and chat to others about what you heard!” 

8. Go green online – student Hannah Laniado

“I would encourage people to download Ecosia to use as a web browser; they plant trees every time you search for something on the internet. Equally, use apps like Depop or Vinted to buy and sell clothes, so they don’t go to waste and avoid fast fashion sites. It’s little things that make a genuine difference.”

“You really can continue your environmentally conscious lifestyle during the holiday period!”

9. Feet don’t fail me now… – sustainability champion Bailey Wooldridge

“Every Sunday I set aside an hour to plan the week ahead in terms of my journeys. For example, I think about whether I could use public transport, or walk and cycle instead of driving. Equally, I’ll try to arrange a lift share, and if I have to drive, I will tie multiple stops into one journey.”

10. Separate your scraps – catering manager Karen Gallant

“Obviously, we would prefer no food waste, but it happens and we’d rather it went through the correct channels. Food waste can then be collected and taken to an aerobic digestion plant. This Christmas I would encourage people to separate their waste properly, and be mindful of how much food they are letting go to waste.”

11. Help your hedgehogs – student Scarlett Woods

“Discuss wildlife-friendly garden improvements with your landlord or consider them yourself if you are a homeowner. Each night hedgehogs roam between 1-2km during their active seasons in the autumn and winter months. ‘Hedgehog Highways’ can be implemented in walls or fences to give animals like hedgehogs safe pathways between gardens.”

We’re pleased to say that UEA is a hedgehog friendly campus.

12. Reuse and recycle – Prof Andy Jordan

“Get more for your money: when you’ve finished a tube of toothpaste, for example, safely snip the top off with a pair of scissors. You’ll be amazed at how much is left inside! It will also make the tube easier to rinse out and recycle.   

“If you really want to practice sustainable living, consider whether reducing the quantity of products you buy is in fact the best thing for the planet… and your pocket.”  

 

Find out more about on UEA’s pioneering role in fighting climate changeAnd for more information at studying at UEA, check out the School of Environmental Sciences and the MSC climate change course