A few years ago, when I was doing my annual Resilience Check, I noticed my scores in the Community Networking and Emergency Planning (National Plans) sections could improve. What was I missing? I hadn’t been to a local Council meeting for over a year. Attending these, however far outside your comfort zone it may be, is crucial in developing a resilient community.
So I went along, intending just to listen with a positive attitude. After all, these people are volunteers. I ended up being persuaded into filling a casual vacancy. Now I’m the Parish Resilience Officer!
The Council commissioned a new website, and I was asked to write a list of ‘Easy Things One can do to Reduce Carbon Emissions’. Now, I’m not a fan of simplistic solutions. ‘The Handbook of Practical Resilience’, at 180 pages, is as reductionist as I usually get.
However, there are a few tips which fashionable ‘To-do lists’ often omit, and here they are…..
ENERGY – Always remember to turn devices off when you’ve finished with them for the day. Leaving them on standby wastes a surprising amount of electricity!
FOOD – Cut down on food waste by shopping with a list and planning ahead to use up leftovers. Buy food from local suppliers wherever possible.
WATER – Don’t waste water! Keep your plumbing system in good repair. A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water every day.
HOUSING – Most houses have double glazing and good insulation these days. Try turning your heating thermostat down by a degree or two, or cutting an hour off the heating time. If you only have single glazed windows, put up a set of thick winter curtains as well as your normal ones, leaving a few inches of space between them. This double layer of cloth helps keep the cold out.
TRANSPORT – Cars are very useful, but we rely on them too much. Make at least one journey a month by other means. Cycle, or get the bus, to the market. Walk to visit friends in the next town. It’s important to support all the transport options available.
WASTE – Avoid buying disposable items. Get cleaning products in bulk and fill up re-useable containers. Buy refillable pens, start using rechargeable batteries for your gadgets.
COMMUNICATION – The ‘gate poster’ has come into its own during the pandemic. Local businesses were able to advertise food delivery services with the help of their community. Do you know where you could display information so that your neighbours will see it? It’s a good way of communicating. If you’re having a clear-out, maybe you could sell a few things rather than taking them to the tip?
CLOTHES – Take good care of your clothes. If you do, you can afford to invest in good quality items, which last much longer. Learn how to check seams, zips and labels to recognise quality clothes in charity shops.
ENVIRONMENT – Look after your local wildlife. A healthy environment is a direct benefit to you. Birds are important in controlling insect pests. Wetlands mitigate flooding. Walks in nature are known to be important for our mental health.
The full programme of achievable actions to boost your level of practical resilience can be found in the Handbook, along with instructions for creating and following a Resilience Plan. It’s not all about being careful with resources. I encourage you to go on adventures, have some fun seeing new places in your locality or further afield.
‘Recipes for Resilience – Common Sense Cooking for the 21st Century’ makes food security fun, with over a hundred easy-to-follow and adaptable recipes.