Oxford. 27 October 2006. If you could change just one thing in your daily life to help counter climate change, what would it be? Members of the public joined Earthwatch last night in London for a hard-fought debate to discuss how individuals can best make a difference.
The audience were faced with fifteen choices, including ditching the TV, joining a car share and buying fresh local produce, but were asked to vote for just one. While everyone recognised that all fifteen actions were important, it was the electricity meter that stole the show.
Days after Britain was named and shamed as a nation of energy wasters, the public decided that scrutinising the electricity meter on a daily basis was the most important first step in reducing carbon footprints across the country.
"The average UK household uses ten kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricy per day from lights and appliances alone," argued Dr Brenda Boardman from the Environmental Research Institute at the University of Oxford. "I challenge everyone to get their household electricity usage down to just five kilowatt-hours a day. I have done it myself and it can be achieved."
She continued, "Go home, look at your electricity meter and challenge yourself to do everything you can to reduce it until you hit this target. I promise that it will save you money and you will become obsessive about not leaving appliances on standby."
Switching to a green energy supplier was voted a close second and replacing the car with a bicycle came in third. Only 2.3 per cent of people voted to ditch the television for a low carbon hobby, and 4.2 per cent of people prioritised doing nothing but meditate.
"In holding this debate, Earthwatch hoped to challenge people to think harder about their personal choices in saving energy which could make a real difference to climate change gas emissions and the environment," said Dr Roger Mitchell, Earthwatch Chief Scientist. "Reading an electricity meter regularly gives direct feed-back on excess electricity use. Trying to drive down the amount used will mean paying more attention to appliances on stand-by, lights left on, the need to fit more low energy light bulbs and turning down the heating to lead our lives in a more energy efficient, environmentally friendly way."
The Earthwatch Debate on Climate Change took place at the Royal Geographical Society, London, 7:00 pm, Thursday 26th October.
For press information, images and interviews please contact Zoë Gamble, Senior Press Officer, Earthwatch. + 44 (0) 1865 318852 / 07725690469 / firstname.lastname@example.org