District-wide initiative to reduce carbon emissions to tackle climate change

Harpenden resident Linda Shall has pledged to drive electric as part of Count Us In.

Harpenden resident Linda Shall has pledged to drive electric as part of Count Us In. - Credit: St Albans CAN

A new campaign is encouraging local people to reduce their carbon emissions as part of practical steps on climate issues across the district.

The initiative is being run by St Albans Climate Action Network (St Albans CAN), whose members include Sustainable St Albans, St Albans Friends of the Earth, Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, the UK Student Climate Network Hertfordshire, engineering business AECOM, and St Albans district council.

Amanda Yorwerth, from St Albans Friends of the Earth said: “Many people urgently want solutions to the climate crisis, especially with the COP26 climate conference drawing our attention to how much needs doing. Individuals often feel helpless, and they aren’t sure what they can do to make a difference.

"St Albans CAN is promoting the Count Us In campaign because it has worked out 16 of the most effective actions that people can take to reduce individual carbon emissions. Making a pledge to act with local people gives focus and I really would urge people to sign up to the St Albans page and join in with others committing to take practical action.”

The campaign has set up a dedicated St Albans page on the international Count Us In site, showing how many local people are undertaking the 16 highest impact carbon-cutting steps. 45 people have taken part so far, with potential savings of over 14,000 kg of CO2.

Liz Sefton from St Albans added: “I took the 'Eat Less Meat' challenge, and I shall continue to eat less meat. It was great to have to do a pledge. It gave a sense of urgency and focus to a couple of endeavours and the challenge period was long enough to turn a 'try' into a 'habit'. “

Harpenden resident Linda Shall said: “Looking back the question to ourselves is why didn’t we do this sooner? I pledged through Count Us In to ‘Drive electric’.

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"My husband and I did this step starting off from running a diesel car each, to sharing one car, and then on to swapping that for an electric car. The hardest part was overcoming range anxiety - after deciding which colour EV to buy, of course! We tackled that by installing a charging point at home, powered by our own solar-generated electricity, and finding out where the neighbourhood ‘fast’ charging points were.”

Batchwood district councillor Sinéad Howland said: “I pledged through Count Us In to try to walk more and use my car less. During the petrol crisis I took it one step further and I decided not to fill up my car during the shortages. With less than a quarter of a tank of fuel left I am challenging myself to keep it for emergency use only for as long as I can. As a family we are having to rethink what we do and where we go, choosing activities closer to home.”

Jill Watson, chair of the 2021 Sustainability Festival said: "I’ve taken steps to repair electrical goods and reuse household stuff. Signing up to Count Us In has really motivated me, and just this week I have fixed a fan base, sewn up a hole in a pair of jeans and repainted our garden furniture.”

And Isobel Mitchell from Fleetville, added: “I pledged through 'Count Us In' to reduce the number of meals I eat with meat in them. I enjoyed being creative in the kitchen, using tofu and soya mince and was pleased that I managed to convince the kids to try some new dishes, some of which they were impressed with. Meat-free meals will continue to be on the menu some nights, and when we do buy meat, we will go for locally produced and high welfare standards.”

To take part residents are encouraged to visit the St Albans pages of the Count Us In site which can be found here https://www.count-us-in.org/en-gb/businesses/count-us-in/campaigns/st-albans-climate-action-network/

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