Each of our action categories are important in their own way.
The simplest way to reduce energy demand from producing, transporting and disposing of goods is to reduce the amount of 'stuff' we buy - and be aware of where we are buying it from.
The more food, clothes and other goods that we waste the more precious natural resources we use and the more emissions we produce. A quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions come from food and global emissions from textile production outweigh that of international flights and shipping combined.
However, what we choose to consume is also important. The choice of things that we eat can have a bigger impact than how far the food has travelled, or how much packaging it’s wrapped in.
Of course, the overall impact of consumption goes beyond the energy it takes to make it. Emissions from our 'waste' (and the treatment of waste-water) is responsible for around 5% of UK total gas emissions. The average UK person sends a staggering 330 kg (the weight of a male Giant Panda) of waste to landfill or incineration per year!
Consuming less, reusing, recycling and recovering materials and energy is the future!
As well as carbon, there are many other implications of producing the food and goods that we consume. Workers' rights, animal welfare and ecological standards are important considerations, whether for home made or imported goods/food. Imported items may have different regulations than items produced in the UK, and it is important to consider these impacts even when buying locally. Conversely, sharing resources, knowing our producers and suppliers, buying locally and eating good food can all have huge benefits for community resilience, local economies and our own health and wellbeing. Thinking about our choices and behaviours as consumers is more important than ever.
We are lucky in Herefordshire to be living close to where our food is produced and opportunities to source locally grown food are increasing - check out local box schemes, farmers markets and independent shops for seasonal food with low food miles
There are repair cafes in Malvern Hills, Ledbury and Kington. Facebook Marketplace signposts to local groups that are well placed to help to sell or buy goods second hand
The Herefordshire Green Network is very active in the county and always happy to help make links with others who can help communities to act together to grow food or set up their own sharing resources or repair cafes
There are several community gardens in the county, helping to connect people to the source of their food, and projects like Growing Local working to change our food culture with education around food growing and food preparation. Kids Kitchen are inspiring adults and young children to enjoy cooking great food together
In 2019 Herefordshire Food Alliance, a network of local organisations concerned about household food insecurity, examined the extent of food poverty across the county and mapped the areas most at risk. Public Health are continuing to coordinate a Food Alliance, looking at the impact of the food system on health and well-being locally. In the meantime the county has a network of independent food banks, supported by the Diocese, which support people at risk of going hungry. In 2019 Hereford Food bank supported over 2500 individuals with emergency food parcels - check them out for information and volunteering opportunities.