Are you doing your bit for the planet?

We're not as green as we'd like to be according to a new survey. TOM POTTER has been out to find out what Suffolk people are doing to help the planet while environment editor PAUL GEATER looks at how we can all do our bit.

We're not as green as we'd like to be according to a new survey. TOM POTTER has been out to find out what Suffolk people are doing to help the planet while environment editor PAUL GEATER looks at how we can all do our bit.

HELPING to save the earth is something many people aspire to - but it isn't something most of us find easy to do in practice.

But we're not going to be put off from the green message and are determined to do our bit to be more environmentally-friendly over the next 12 months.

The new survey was carried out by YouGov on behalf of Saab cars which are trying to persuade us to buy their new vehicles - starting at £18,500 - which can run on bio-fuel.

In Ipswich the five worst green sins were:

1. Being wasteful about energy consumption in the home - 31per cent admit they should keep a closer watch!

Most Read

2. Using transport when walking is an option - 27pc of people in Ipswich admit to this.

3. Cleaning with non-environmentally-friendly products (25pc).

4. Boiling a kettle full of water when making just one cuppa (24pc).

5. 19pc admit to feeling guilty about not switching to environmentally-friendly light bulbs.

So how can people become greener? Simply taking trouble to switch off appliances when they are not in use can save a phenomenal amount of power.

Don't leave lights on during the day, ensure televisions are switched off - not just left on standby - and ensure computers are switched off, not left on the “sleep” setting.

Walking instead of driving or travelling on public transport has a dual benefit - as well as being good for the environment, it also helps improve your general fitness.

And for many journeys it can may not be much slower than being carried. It usually takes about half an hour to walk a mile and a half at a reasonable pace - but by the time you have waited at a bus stop and then in a traffic queue, the journey can take nearly that long anyway.

Many cleaning products contain chemicals that are far from being environmentally-friendly, but there is a belief among many people that eco-alternatives just don't do the job as well.

Low-energy lightbulbs are an obvious way of cutting down on energy use, but they do have their downside.

They cost considerably more than traditional lightbulbs and they don't give off the same quality of light - they take several seconds to warm up and don't provide the instant light that most people are used to.

However the initial cost is saved over the lifetime of the bulb - each lasts considerably longer than a traditional bulb and uses up only about 20pc of the electricity for the same level of light.

One other downside of energy-saving lightbulbs is that shade manufacturers do not yet seem to have got the message that bulbs are getting larger.

Another way of helping to be more green is to re-use bags - don't pick up free plastic carrier bags every time you go shopping, sturdy re-useable bags are becoming more fashionable as people become keener to do their bit for the environment.

Liberal Democrats in Suffolk have called for the county to follow Ipswich's lead and try to persuade shops to phase out disposable plastic bags.

Group Leader Kathy Pollard said: "There has been much debate about the problem of plastic bags recently and it seems like an excellent time for the County Council to start leading the way across Suffolk. Liberal Democrats on Ipswich Borough Council have been doing great work with their 'Choose2reuse' scheme, now it's time to extend that good work across Suffolk.

“As more and more people become conscious of the damage plastic bags do to our environment, both in terms of taking a long time to decompose in landfill and in terms of unsightly litter on our streets, they want to make the switch to 'bags for life'. I think it's only fair that if the County Council is going to try and persuade both the retailers of Suffolk and its consumers to ditch the plastic habit, we, as an organisation, stop using plastic bags altogether."

Teenagers in developed countries around the world are more concerned about climate change than issues such as drugs, violence or war, according to a survey.

A poll of nearly 50,000 youngsters from countries ranging from the UK to Russia and Singapore found almost three-quarters (74pc) believed global warming was a serious problem.

Two-thirds of the 12 to 17-year-olds questioned in the online survey thought climate change was going to have a negative impact on their lives, although 64pc believed it was still possible to stop the warming of the planet.

But 78pc thought their governments were more concerned with terrorism and international conflict than climate change and almost a fifth (18pc) thought their national leaders were not concerned at the scale of the climate problem.

Despite their concerns about the issue, nearly two-fifths did not know what caused climate change or how to prevent it.

Greenpeace International executive director Gerd Leipold said: "Today's teenagers are tomorrow's decision makers.

"They are 'Generation C' - the generation that has to beat climate change.

"It will be up to them to create a revolution in non-polluting, renewable energy to prevent global warming from affecting the lives of billions of people and threatening the survival of countless species of animals and plants."

Kirt Sanford, 21, from East Bergholt said: “I work at Flatford Mill Field Centre, where we encourage the use of local produce. I recycle and would take more public transport if there was incentive to do so.”

Bernard Price, 67, from Felixstowe said: “Our house has been completely double glazed and insulated and we plan to fit a condensing boiler. I own a four-wheel-drive which isn't very environmentally friendly but it's my toy and I can't part with it.”

Margaret Fisher, 74, from Back Hamlet said: “I have a compost heap and make sure I never overfill the kettle. I was brought up to not waste energy or water.”

Laura Pizzey, 16, from Capel St Mary said: “I try to recycle and always make sure the television is turned off when I'm not watching it but I occasionally leave lights on around the house.”

Amy Bullard, 23, from Castle Hill said: “I walk when I can, instead of using the car. I would get the bus more often but the service isn't very good.”

Dan Dawson, 22 from Claydon said: “I take showers rather than baths to save water and I ride a moped which is less harmful to the environment than a car.”

Cleo Wilson, 32, from Nacton said: “We use energy saving light bulbs around the house and share car rides. We do our best but there isn't enough government responsibility in this country.”

Gemma Coote, 20 from Whitehouse, Ipswich, said: “I walk almost everywhere and make sure that the car is only used for long journeys.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter