#LockdownClimateChange: Pledge to learn from lockdown to help climate22 April 2020
People across Reading and beyond are being urged to keep at least one change they have made during the COVID-19 lockdown after it ends to help combat climate change.
Billions of people around the world have seen their lives change in recent weeks due to enforced social distancing and ‘stay at home’ orders to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Working from home, cutting travel to the bare minimum and shopping less are all behaviour changes people have made.
Among the resulting environmental impacts have been reduced air pollution, less road traffic, fewer peaks in energy demand due to more flexible working routines and more grocery home deliveries, which have a lower carbon footprint.
Thousands of people have also used their extra free time to take part in citizen science projects addressing environmental issues, such as the popular Rainfall Rescue project led by the University.
Starting on Earth Day 2020 (Wednesday 22 April), the University of Reading is asking people to pledge to continue with one or more of the changes they have made to their lifestyles after the COVID-19 crisis ends, in order to maintain a positive impact on reducing carbon emissions.
Professor Tim Dixon, Professor of Sustainable Futures in the Built Environment, and the University of Reading’s representative on the Reading Climate Change Board, said: “It’s still early days, but the COVID-19 lockdown period is undoubtedly having a positive impact in reducing carbon emissions. Lockdown can’t continue forever, but after the coronavirus crisis eases, we have the chance to continue to keep climate change in lockdown, rather than automatically switching back to high-carbon lifestyles.
“This period can act as an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’, and learn how some of the dramatic behaviour and infrastructure changes we must make to combat climate change would actually affect our lives, and help benefit people, business and the planet as a whole.
“Many people may have found there are elements of their lockdown lives they prefer, such as driving less and cycling more, or working from home rather than daily commuting. Individual actions are a small but important part of the solution to climate change, and it makes sense to keep doing them wherever we can, now and in the future.”
The University of Reading is challenging the public and businesses to pledge to keep one or more low-carbon behaviours and share them on social media for Earth Day using the hashtag #LockdownClimateChange.
Examples might include:
- Working from home more often
- Holding more video meetings rather than travelling
- Cycling or walking more often and driving less
- Flying less
- Having groceries delivered to your home
- Using local food suppliers
- Throwing away less food
- Maintaining gardens to benefit wildlife
- Making use of public parks and green spaces
- Growing your own fruit and vegetables
- Altering routines to cut peak demand, such as timing laundry at non-peak times
- Continuing to engage in projects that will help tackle climate change and other environmental issues. For example, the Reading Climate Change Partnership Climate Emergency Strategy consultation