Londoners urged to take responsibility for climate change

The simplest individual actions can help reduce the threat of climate change and this week Londoners were urged by their Mayor to make their own DIY repairs to the planet.

Ken Livingstone, Kim Wilde and Steve Howard launch the DIY Planet Repairs campaign in the shadow of Tower Bridge

Ken Livingstone, Kim Wilde and Steve Howard launch the DIY Planet Repairs campaign in the shadow of Tower Bridge

Ken Livingstone was joined by pop star turned gardener Kim Wilde and CEO of the Climate Group, Dr Steve Howard this week to launch a new campaign calling on the people of London to change their lives in six simple ways to stop wasting energy and needlessly adding to global warming.

The DIY Planet Repairs campaign asks that everyone unplug, switch off and turn down appliances.

"We're in a position where climate change and the fear of what's happening to our planet has moved all the way up on the various polls that we do to become one of Londoners' major concerns," said Mr Livingstone.

"What isn't getting across is that we can all do quite a lot with some very simple changes to the way that we live. We can solve the problem not by making our lives worse but by living them differently and eliminating the waste.

Mr Howard added: "This isn't about sacrifice, this isn't about the language of hair shirts, it's about people making smarter choices - better choices for the environment and better choices for their wallets.

"London has been exemplary in this but now it's time for every single person to do their bit."

He compared the situation today with yesteryear's enforced wearing of seatbelts.

When the idea was introduced, there was a lot of grumbling and people said they would forget but now it is second nature to put on the belt as you get into a car.

Things needed to become the same with saving energy, he said.

"When we leave a room, we switch a light off, it's as simple as that,"

"The message is don't worry about what you can't do, think about the simple things you can do instead."

Kim Wilde said: "Every way you turn nowadays there seems to be an abundance of messages on how to best to tackle climate change.

"As a keen gardener, I am acutely aware of the potentially devastating effects of climate change on everyday life. Anything that brings clarity to the subject of what we can do to help has my support.

"I think once people get started on something like this it can really encourage them to go one step further," she told edie.

"Just by switching off your light you're making a choice to take responsibility for your place on the planet.

"You're planting a seed that grows in people's consciousness about taking action and not feeling helpless."

She said it was easy for people to get disillusioned and think that there was nothing they could do to tackle such a huge problem.

"People do feel like that, they've felt like that for years but it's a very negative thing to feel and it's far better to take action than to sit around crying helplessness," she said.

"People feel a lot better once they start to do something about it.

"I've got two children now and when they ask me 'mummy, what did you do?' in ten years' time I don't want to say I was too busy to bother."

Full details of the six simple steps to repairing the planet can be found on the campaign's website, along with a planet repair kit.

In brief, the recommended actions are:

  • Wash clothes at 30 degrees
  • Switch off appliances rather than leave them on standby
  • Switch off lights in empty rooms
  • Unplug mobile phone chargers - they still use energy when not charging a phone
  • Turn down the thermostat which controls central heating by one degree - or more for the brave and hardy
  • Don't overfill the kettle and only boil as much water as needed

    A giant carbon counter clocking up the tonnes of carbon wasted by Londoners will be doing a tour of prominent locations in the capital over coming months.

    Sam Bond

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