Ahead of next month’s Earth Day, the Jersey National Park team outlines some steps we can take to live a more sustainable life.
OUR planet is an amazing place but it is one which increasingly needs our collective help to enable it to thrive.
It is simply not enough to conserve what we have inherited. We can – and must – change the story from decline to recovery and ensure that our Island is more sustainable, more welcoming and full of promise. If every person pledged to do just one thing to help our environment, that would have an enormous impact.
Earth Day is an annual event, this year taking place on Saturday 22 April, which is designed to demonstrate support for environmental protection. The Jersey National Park is reminding Islanders just how they can do that.
Transport is Jersey’s largest greenhouse-gas emitter, accounting for a hefty 36% of the Island’s carbon footprint. Active travel options, such as walking or cycling, are the best solutions to reduce this impact as they do not generate any greenhouse-gas emissions. They also have the added bonus of keeping us physically active and healthy, while giving us a chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Check out the suggested routes you can take to be more active on the Access the Countryside page at gov.je/Environment/AccessCountryside.
In Jersey, only 8% of our plastic bottles make it into the recycling stream. Although we must increase the recycling efforts, we cannot recycle our way out of the ongoing plastics crisis.
Fortunately, there are many ways that we can reduce our plastic. According to Water UK, the average person in the UK is now using 150 plastic water bottles every year – that’s more than three a week.
To start your journey towards being plastic-free, you can sign up to the Refill app, which can help you live with less plastic. Download the free app to tap into a global network of places where you can reduce, reuse and refill. From a coffee on your commute to free tap water on the go, or even shopping with less plastic, the app puts the power to go packaging-free at your fingertips. See refill.org.uk for more information.
Get planting to support local biodiversity
Researchers estimate that roughly 15 billion trees in the world are cut down each year. Trees are vital. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen which people need to breathe. They also stabilise the soil and filter the water we drink and they provide shelter and food for animals and humans alike. A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insects, fungi, moss, mammals and plants.
Consider joining a community project, such as Grow Jersey, with nature at its core. Grow Jersey is a community smallholding, farming regeneratively for the benefit of local wildlife and humans alike, growing food for the local community and providing access to the physical and mental health benefits of nature. See facebook.com/growjersey.
Use less water
The average person in the UK directly uses a staggering 150 litres of water every day. It’s not just the water that comes out of our tap or shower that we use. Water is used in everything we do or consume from growing the food we eat to making the products we use.
Our full water use, including indirect use, equates to 3,400 litres every day. Of our total water usage, 74% goes towards food production, 23% on industrial use and 3% for domestic use.
In Jersey, as an island with limited underground reserves of water and no links to external water networks, we rely on rainfall for most of the mains water supplied. The supply of water in the Island is therefore vulnerable to periods of low rainfall or drought.
Jersey Water will help you to ‘get water fit’ through an initiative which includes a short survey to help you find out how and where you use water in your home, as well as discovering easy ways to make savings. Visit getwaterfit.co.uk for more.
Switch it off
Electricity doesn’t just happen – it has to be produced from things around us. Across the globe, most electricity is produced through the combustion of fossil fuels (such as coal, oil or gas), something which makes a direct contribution to climate change.
In Jersey, we have a decarbonised power supply, with 98% of our electricity sourced from low-carbon French nuclear and hydropower, and 2% generated from the Energy From Waste plant. Although the supply is decarbonised, meaning it has a lower carbon footprint, we should still try to consume less.
Jersey Electricity has an app which enables you access insights into your electricity consumption at home (on a daily, weekly or yearly basis), compare that with similar homes, and find out ways in which you can save. Visit jec.co.uk and search for the MyJe app.
Reduce, reuse and recycle
Buying and selling second-hand is one of the easiest ways we can reduce our environmental impact, and it makes economic sense too.
When we lower the demand for raw materials, we also reduce the demand of the production of goods such as furniture and clothes (including reducing the energy and water resources required to make them), prolong the lifetime of the items and reduce waste. All this translates into savings in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions.
Jersey now has three Repair Cafés. St Brelade was the first and that was followed by one in Grouville. The third, in St Helier, is due to launch very soon. More details about the first two can be found on their respective Facebook pages.
There are so many ways in which you can buy second-hand items in Jersey, with lots of charity shops across the Island waiting to be explored. View a list at citizensadvice.je/charity-shops.
Pick it up
All stormwater drains in Jersey lead to the ocean so any litter that is dropped in our streets will head straight to the sea next time it rains.
We can ensure we dispose of, or recycle, our litter securely, and we can reduce the chance of our wildlife being impacted. If you would like to organise a street, park or beach clean with your community, Plastic Free Jersey has kits you can borrow. The kits consist of tubs, bags, gloves, first-aid packs and hand sanitisers. Contact Plastic Free Jersey at plasticfreejersey.com to find out more.
Our everyday actions – as individuals, as businesses and as a community – have the ability to create real change. By taking part in some of these activities, together we are making our world a happier, healthier place to live – a place for us all to thrive.