All across the globe, the effects of climate change are being felt. There’s ice which is breaking up on rivers at an earlier time than they should, while glaciers are getting smaller, animals are having to relocate, and trees are flowering much more quickly. Scientists have forecasted that worldwide temperatures are set to keep on rising over the next few decades though, with greenhouse gases produced via human activity seen as a main cause of this.
You can help in the fight against climate change, however. Work on reducing your carbon footprint, for example, and set up more urban gardens. After all, this study by the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) has stated that more than 85 per cent of the population of Britain currently live in towns and cities, with gardens accounting for a quarter of the total urban areas of various cities.
Do you own some of this garden space? Keep reading for tips from plant supports provider Suttons on how to use it in the battle against climate change:
Consider growing your own vegetables…
Currently, the personal outdoor space on offer throughout the UK is being used to replace around 20 per cent of all bought food. With this, ambitious gardeners can reduce their carbon footprints by up to 68lbs of CO2 on an annual basis. This is thanks to several factors, including the time it takes to get your food to your plate being cut considerably. It’s estimated that the average distance your food travels before it’s consumed is a staggering 1,500 miles, meaning that transportation of the goods is burning fossil fuels.
There’s so many more benefits to growing your own vegetables. You can receive peace of mind that your food is free of chemicals, for example, as well as avoid the requirement to make unnecessary packaging, and bring down the cost of your weekly food shop too.
…and composting too
Another great way to battle back against climate change is to try your hand at eco-gardening. This could be by adding compost to your soil so that it can provide the earth with crucial nutrients and microorganisms. If you want to cut costs too, instead of buying compost, you can also use kitchen scraps, so long as it’s not meat or fish. This will also reduce the waste transported to landfill.
Methane and other greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced when you use composting in a garden. This in turn means that you won’t need to resort to using chemical fertilisers and pesticides. It also helps soils hold any carbon dioxide and improves tilth and workability of soils. However, it’s important to carefully maintain your composting or it may reverse the desired effect.
The benefits of a garden filled with plants
When there’s a domestic garden in a city, it’s like providing the urban district with an air-conditioning system. Did you know, for example, that the shelter of trees and hedges can act as insulation in the winter to help bring down energy consumption and heating costs? Place your evergreen shrubs and bushes carefully around your property to reduce the speed of the air movement reaching your building. However, make sure you don’t create any unwanted wind tunnels directed towards your house.
Vegetation in a garden also sees a city being presented with an aerial cooling system, because of the shade on offer. It’s predicted that if we increased our vegetated surfaces in urban areas by as little as 10%, then we could help control the summer air temperatures that climate change is bringing. This would also help reduce CO2 emissions.
RHS research states that around one in four front gardens in the UK are now completely paved though. Furthermore, more than five million don’t have a single plant growing in this space. London was the worst culprit and the impact of this is raising urban temperatures and the loss of biodiversity.
However, a crucial fact about every plant to bear in mind is that they can absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. As a result, they are all crucial for enhancing the quality of air we breathe. With vehicle usage ever increasing, plants are playing a vital part in offsetting some of the emissions automobiles are releasing.
Be wise when using water in the garden
If long-term forecasts are to be believed, drier and hotter summers could soon be seen across the UK every year. Great, right? Well, yes, for any sun lovers out there, but this could have a knock-on effect for our gardens — which in turn will continue to affect our environment. So, what should you do? If you don’t already have one, get a water butt. If you do have one, add another! Catching rain water to use on your floral displays and lawn will help you minimise your mains water usage, thus helping the environment and aiding self-sufficiency.
Once temperatures increase, it’s predicated that the amount of household water that is applied to a garden will jump by more than 30 per cent. Therefore, a water butt can be an effective tool to have on hand — especially with hosepipe bans becoming more regular. Another way to cut your water usage is by re-using any ‘grey water’ which has previously been used to wash dishes or have a bath.