Last year, City Science CEO Laurence Oakes-Ash had an idea to encourage colleagues and friends to take action on climate change - Low Carbon Lent.
As he discussed in a blog earlier this month, he suspected that it might be easier for people to change if they made a temporary commitment rather than a permanent one - decades of research consistently show that new habits can be formed through repetition over a sustained, but not overly long period of time.
So Low Carbon Lent was born as a campaign designed to challenge people to make a change in their life that reduces their carbon footprint for the period of Lent (but that might - hopefully - be sustained long after).
As part of Low Carbon Lent 2022, City Science team commitments included:
- Jade committed to setting a shower timer; only putting on the heating below 16 degrees; looking for low and seasonal foods and finding a more environmentally friendly alternative to Cif
- Jo committed to going vegetarian for the period
- Simon L committed to going vegan for the 40 days
- Elliot committed to 6/7 meat-free days a week; only consuming UK fruit, vegetables and drinks; and reducing his energy usage by 20% by switching off appliances and lights when not in use
- Laurence committed to examining all family food shopping and finding the best food alternatives after considering miles travelled, transport modes, intensity of production and more (yes, he even had a spreadsheet!)
- Bob committed to giving up single-occupant journeys
- Heather committed to replacing all the leaky sash and single-glazed windows in her house with double-glazed alternatives
- Stephen committed to eliminating baths and restricted the length of his showers to reduce hot water usage
- Joshua committed to cutting out all non-essential car journeys; shopping locally and cutting out fizzy drinks (including beer!)
The hope was that encouraging people to make a change to their lifestyle to reduce their carbon footprint for the period of Lent might lead to them sticking to the change afterwards.
One year later, many of the commitments the City Science team made have been sustained.
So we’re delighted to be encouraging our team and the wider world to participate in Low Carbon Lent this year (22nd Feb - 6th April).
Want to join us in taking part in Low Carbon Lent?
Here are some examples of changes you could make:
- Not driving to work but walking or taking public transport
- Not eating any red meat (or reducing your consumption)
- Choosing organic and locally-sourced produce
- Not buying any new clothes (or using a swap shop instead)
- Shopping locally rather than out-of-town
- Arranging a party to swap children’s toys
- Halving the length of showers
- Taking a reusable water bottle instead of buying single-use plastic ones
- Turning down the central heating and wearing an extra layer at home
- Not taking any journeys by car alone
- Cutting out all non-essential car journeys or choosing to car-share
- Booking a staycation instead of a foreign holiday
- Planting your own veggies
Please help spread the word!
If you are willing and able, please share the idea of Low Carbon Lent with your friends, family and colleagues. You can link them to this blog or tag them on social media.
If you are an employer or involved in an organisation or group and would be able to share the news of Low Carbon Lent with your team and wider network, we have a media pack with some graphics and example social media posts available. We even have suggestions of how an organisation can make a commitment to Low Carbon Lent to help reduce their carbon footprint.
Find out more on the Low Carbon Lent website, where you can download images to share on your socials with your commitment.