Thursday, 19 May 2022

How to cut your carbon footprint

AT a recent Greener Henley meeting we talked about how to reduce our personal carbon footprints. Here are a few of our suggestions:

Gradually change to a plant-based diet. Try it for part of the week. If you are cooking meat, consider meat sourced from regenerative farming. Grow your own food where possible. Avoid foods with palm oil.

Watch your waste. According to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet report, 820 million people globally face hunger or hunger insecurity yet one-third of all food we produce is wasted. We can all do something about that.

Make your home thermally efficient with loft insulation and draught-proofing doors and windows. When it’s chilly put on extra clothes.

Heat your house manually as and when you need it and where you need it. Change to a renewable energy provider. Be aware that storing a lot of data on the cloud uses a huge amount of energy.

Change your finances to ethical banks that do not invest in fossil fuel industries, or other companies which are harming our environment. Check that your personal savings, ISAs and pensions are invested ethically.

Walk or cycle if you can. If you use your car less than 6,000 miles a year consider joining the Henley Car Club. You’ll save a lot of money and help Henley’s congestion and pollution problems.

Try to be a sustainable consumer. Ask before you buy how the product is made, what it is made from, where it was made and was everyone in the production chain treated fairly. Check that wood and paper goods are Forest Stewardship Council guaranteed.

Attach the Beagle Button to your search engine and it will give you the best ethical sustainable alternative product of anything you are buying.

Change your toilet paper to one that is made in the UK from recycled waste paper (from offices and schools) delivered to your door in a cardboard box with no plastic packaging and no overseas shipping miles.

Reduce, re-use, recycle — look after your belongings. Ignore fast fashion, treasure your clothes — they are bound to be fashionable again. If you are getting rid of items and they still have wear in them, pass them to someone who needs them.

These are just a few ideas but you may have other suggestions for decreasing our impact on the planet. Please let us know at

THE January meeting of our swifts support group discussed our achievements in our first year.

We installed 12 nest boxes and their call systems at various locations around the town. One of the boxes was occupied almost immediately, which is amazing.

Generally, juvenile swifts look for a nesting site for the following year and will “bang” it with their wings to choose it for the next season.

We managed to identify 12 existing nesting sites in the town but if anyone knows of others please get in touch. We thoroughly enjoyed watching and hearing some great swift displays over Henley.

This year we will continue monitoring when swifts arrive and watch where they nest. We hope to record the swift activity in the town in greater detail so that we can begin to assess their numbers and their comings and goings.

We also plan to put up more swift boxes and have a list of people hoping to host these wonderful birds.

Swifts are now on the red list of endangered birds so we must do all we can to protect them.

If you are having any work done to your property which requires blocking up holes and you have had swifts nesting in the past, please can you either use a swift brick in the construction or put up a nest box externally. We will be happy to advise you — please email

Finally, last year a reader from upper Market Place got in touch about a suitable place for a nest box in the vicinity. Unfortunately, I have mislaid her details. If you are reading this, please could you contact me again?

THIS month you might notice some people wearing green hearts. This is part of the Climate Coalition’s campaign to show decision-makers that real and rapid action is needed to tackle the climate and nature crisis — for the love of our families, our homes, our livelihoods and our planet.

If you want to find out more about making, wearing and sharing green hearts, have a look at

Let’s see how many green hearts there are in Henley.

Diana Barnett

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