The Energy Saving Trust, a government-backed organisation set up to encourage the public to fight climate change, says that the idea that we’re all in this together can help communities present a more co-operative and unified from when it comes to reducing waste and cutting back on energy and water use.

In an effort to show there is public support for such action, the EST carried out a survey which showed a surprising number of people – over two thirds – claimed they weren’t adverse to mucking in by organising car shares or sharing leftover food with neighbours.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: “We are certainly not advocating a return to rationing or indeed enforced personal daily allowances.

“However if we could adopt just a few of the practices used during the war, such as recycling bath water for watering plants, then it would go a long way towards saving energy and reducing our carbon footprint.

“People who lived through the Second World War were extremely resilient in the face of extreme hardship. People had very little but they made do.

“Everyone you speak to who lived through the war always speaks about how they came up with extremely ingenious ways to make life’s essentials – food and clothing go that little bit further.

The trust’s Wartime Spirit campaign was launched at London’s Imperial War Museum this week.

Juliet Gardiner, author of Wartime: Britain 1939-1945, said: “We could certainly learn a thing or two about how to cut down on waste from people who had to live for nearly six years with the essentials of daily life such as food, clothes and fuel rationed during the Second World War.

“During the war everyone was encouraged to ‘make do and mend’ and considering the shortages and what was available to housewives as a result of rationing and the points system they managed to come up with some pretty amazing recipes to feed their families .

“It is interesting that according to this research six in 10 people in the UK think a return to a Second World War approach to using resources could help curb waste. And it would be even more interesting to see how people adapted to it.”

Sam Bond

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