In honour of Go Green Week, we've handed the climate blog over to colleagues to share what they are doing in their own lives to make a difference.
Here's Wendy Johnson, a media officer based at The Lodge, talking about her love of swapping the car for a stroll.
About a month ago we had a friend to stay for the weekend and on Saturday morning we all took a stroll to the shops on the end of the road to get breakfast. It’s a five-minute walk, if that. On the Sunday morning, famished again, we did the same trip but this time as we left the house our friend said with hope and utter seriousness, ‘Shall we take my car?’
I gave him a withering look (think Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey) and a swat of reproach with my gloves, but really I was pretty taken aback. When did we become so lazy that even a five-minute walk is too much?
The wonderful people at charity Sustrans tell me that this knee-jerk reflex to jump in the car whenever we need to go out, even for a short trip, isn’t uncommon; one in every five UK journeys under a mile is currently made by car and more than two thirds of journeys between one and five miles are made by car.
Little wonder then that as a nation we’re less active and less healthy than we’ve ever been, our roads are traffic congested and noisy, and emissions from transport continue to rise.
As its Go Green week, we’re feeling driven (excuse the pun) here at the RSPB to make small swaps that will help the environment. In the UK, car travel is the largest contributor to our personal carbon emissions so we think journey swapping is a good place to start. This isn’t about giving up our cars, just using them less particularly for short trips that can be done in other ways. Most of us would have no problems walking a mile for instance, and if it’s a journey through a town or city centre it would be cheaper, healthier and probably quicker to walk. We’re definitely going to be swapping some journeys here, and we’re keen to hear from any of you that have made a swap too.
For journeys that are just too far to walk, try cycling. I use my bike all the time, whether I’m going to town, to work, or just for a day out. I don’t wear lycra, have an expensive bike or feel the need to shower at the end of every ride (you don’t get sweaty gently pootling around, honestly) and I genuinely feel more alert, alive and happier when I’ve spent time cycling.
If you want some tips then take a look at Sustrans’ guide to choosing and using your bike or visit the Sustrans website www.sustrans.org.uk where you can plan your route along the frankly wonderful National Cycle Network.
What could you do to lower your car travel and get some more exercise this year?