Green Audit

As08 16 2593 Earth From Space OptimisedClimate change is real, and is man-made. That’s what the science is telling us. Every part of society, whether government, business or individuals, is being encouraged to operate in more environmentally friendly ways, to help sustain not only the quality of life we expect today, but for generations to come. We all need to start to think in terms of sustainability and not economic growth.

In 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, brought to the attention of the world the crisis now facing us – uncontrolled global warming. The latest IPCC report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5°. Regrettably, if truly drastic changes aren’t made to the way we all live, we are heading for an average temperature increase of over 3° by 2050 – which will be hugely damaging to all life on Planet Earth.

The Barn Owl Trust has always tried to be as ‘green’ as possible and fully supports that action to reduce global warming should be taken by individuals, organisations and government at all levels, now rather than later. We support the bringing forward of the Carbon Neutral target to 2025, and the need to reverse greenhouse gas emissions, because of the seriousness of the crisis facing us. So, on top of the normal conservation work the Trust does, this year we have decided to undertake a full Green Audit of all our activities. This should allow us to reduce our ‘carbon footprint’ as a charity, at a time when we are all becoming increasingly aware of the climate and ecological crisis facing the world.

We are looking at all aspects of our work to ensure we are proactively protecting the environment whatever our activities. Not only the energy we use in our day-to-day work, but also looking at the things we buy, sell and manufacture, to ensure we reduce our use of plastics, increase our use of organic or renewable resources and reduce any harmful effects of our activities on the environment. As an existing member of the team I have taken on the role of Climate Crisis Co-ordinator to ensure that the audit is completed and that the agreed actions are implemented. We already recycle paper and cardboard – wherever possible our sales goods are dispatched using pre-used materials. We encourage all staff to recycle at work and at home. We buy organic and/or fair trade products where we can; we buy our electricity from Ecotricity and we pay a carbon offset for our mileage.

Having started the audit (and it’s huge, as it will be an ongoing project) we are now looking into how we might replace some of our vehicles with electric equivalents. We are auditing fuel use for the vehicles to ensure we are being as energy efficient as possible. We are also looking into how we might increase the number of solar panels we have, and whether it might be possible to store the power we generate on site. We are replacing our light-bulbs with LEDs to reduce energy use as well as encouraging a ‘power-off’ policy for all equipment not in use.

On top of the efforts we are making ‘in house’ we are working with local Climate Crisis groups in Devon to support the work being done in local communities. This includes supporting moves to encourage local authorities to adopt a target of 2025 to become carbon neutral – a tough but necessary aim if we are to mitigate against the effects of global warming as fast as possible. We are talking with local groups, including farmers and others, about what the science is telling us, and the likely effects of global warming on the environment.

This will affect not only Barn Owls, but all life on earth, including humans. As our Parliament, District, and Town Councils have declared, this is an Emergency. We are going to try our very best to use our choices and our actions to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Gill Gant – Administration Assistant
Feedback Autumn 2019

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