Climate change action: how parents can switch to help kids

October 15, 2007 at 8:36 am | Posted in 100% renewable, 2.4 tonnes per year!, Blog Action Day, Carbon dioxide, Carbon footprint, Children, Climate action, Climate change, CO2, Electricity, Environment, Good Energy, Parents | 2 Comments

The best kept secret to making a big reduction in your family’s carbon footprint quickly, cheaply and easily, is to sign up for electricity supplied from 100% renewable energy.

Telling children not to worry about climate change doesn’t work. Parents can more effectively reassure their kids by taking action—and I mean significant steps—to combat climate change now. Tell your kids the best kept secret, after you have taken action on it. It could do wonders for your relationship!

This dated approach won’t work anymore:

Ostrich approach to climate change

(Old cartoon from Private Eye …)

There is no point in pretending climate change is not there:

It is.

There is no point in pretending climate change will go away (or get better on its own) if we ignore it:

It won’t.

There is no point in waiting for someone else to deal with it.

They may not.

And, in any case,

they are waiting for YOU to do something first!

It took me months to get around to looking into switching our household electricity supply. Deadlines help me focus. There is no deadline to signing up for renewables, so I could wait forever … or set myself a target date, before our next child’s birthday.

There are several ways to address a problem, one of which is to face it head on. Another is to go out and buy something that makes you feel better. Perhaps switching to an electricity supply that is generated from renewable sources does both?!

Consider this:

Good to know:CO2 emissions are the biggest single cause of climate change. And the biggest cause of CO2 emissions is the generation of non-renewable electricity.
The Earth from space

Not being keen on a ‘Green Tariff‘ that would supply a proportion of our electricity from renewables, I looked around for a solution that was derived 100% from solar, wind and hydro-electric projects. (I guess suppliers offering less than 100% might be able to change the percentage in the supply mix, depending on availability or pricing. In any case, I think energy companies are obliged to source a certain proportion of their supplies from renewables in the UK anyway.)

So, I determined 100% renewable energy for electricity was my goal. No less. This, I figured, would help push demand for renewables up beyond Government minimum targets. Happily, Good Energy deliver exactly what I was looking for, and offer quick online registration for the switch. Cool. (It was so easy, I now wish I had not put off my investigation for months!)

Here’s an extract from the Good Energy website:

We supply 100% renewable electricity sourced from the natural energy of wind, sun or running water. This means that for every unit of electricity used by a Good Energy customer we promise to buy an equivalent unit of electricity from a renewable source and supply this to the grid. By switching to Good Energy 100% renewable electricity you really can make a difference to the future of our planet.

An average Good Energy customer saves two tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions a year; the equivalent amount of emissions produced on a 5,000-mile journey in a petrol-fuelled car. It means that you can reduce your household’s CO2 emissions by up to one third.

The added benefit of Good Energy 100% renewable electricity

Good Energy submits Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) to Ofgem to meet the obligation required by the government. The Renewable Obligation provides an additional financial benefit to renewables in the UK, dependent on the overall use of renewable electricity.

To ensure that our customers are contributing more than prescribed by the government, we ‘retire’ some of these certificates from the market, thus increasing their value. An increase in renewable generation means a better rate of return on renewable investment and the greater likelihood of growth in the renewable market.

I cannot think of a better way to address your child’s concerns about climate change than investigating and switching to a renewable energy supplier. Set yourself a deadline. Once I decided to look into switching, the whole online process took very little time—and was unbelievably easy.  (So easy, a child could do it, but don’t tell the kids that bit.  You still get sent paperwork for you to verify and authorise the contract!)

GreenHelplineDOTcom helps you compare tariffs for your household. Here’s my screenshot:

Good Energy Global Cool Green Helpline results

Climate change is happening. What are you doing about it?

P.S. This is one of my posts on Environment for Blog Action Day on Monday, 15 October 2007.

Blog Action Day Environment 15 October 2007

Now playing: John Mayer – Waiting On the World to Change
via FoxyTunes



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  1. Thanks for this idea! We’ve been talking for years about finding some way to use less gas in our 2-commuter, 2-car family; maybe a deadline will help us.

  2. Hello Els,
    Deadlines help me get my act together sometimes.

    Good luck!

    P.S. I know the subject of my post does not necessarily have to deal with parents and children, but I have read so many articles recently whereby adults have presented climate change as an opportunity for the younger generation to be heroes, that I am sick of that approach. I’d prefer to trigger some adults into taking some big steps to address climate change instead of leaving it to the kids, with all that entails.

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