A new year brings the opportunity for a fresh start, a clean slate, and the chance to put something right. And it’s no surprise that after a bit of festive indulgence the most popular resolutions are always about healthier living.

This year, as well as pledging to get yourself back on to a healthier living path, how about adding an additional resolution to do your bit for the planet? With climate change arguably the biggest global challenge we face, we can all play a small part and do our bit for the environment.

At Your East Sussex, we’ve researched six simple things we can all do as families or individuals.

  • Eat less meat. Scientists say that in three decades, emissions related to agriculture and food production are likely to account for about half of the world’s available “carbon budget” – the limited amount to hold global warming to no more than 2C. The research, led by scientists at the Oxford Martin School, found that simply cutting down and adhering to health guidelines on meat consumption could cut global food-related emissions by nearly a third by 2050. The NHS advice on red meat recommends cutting our consumption to no more than 70g of red or processed meat per day for our health – but doing so would help the health of the planet too. Or how about introducing meatless Mondays?

  • Check the energy efficiency of your home. Poorly insulated housing requires large quantities of energy to heat. Is your loft properly insulated, are your cavity walls filled? Even if this is the case you can still draught-proof the house which will make your home easier and cheaper to heat. If you’re a low income household you might even qualify for a free visit and advice from our Keep warm and well There is also a new Warmer Sussex initiative to provide you with help, advice and support.

  • Switch to a green energy provider. Most energy companies now offer green tariffs with power coming only from renewable sources, or offset. And green energy doesn’t have to cost you more: some of the cheapest energy suppliers are green energy companies, with many of the bigger energy suppliers looking to entice customers with cheaper green tariffs too. There’s some great advice on green energy on the Moneysavingexpert website, or you could consider switching to Your Energy Sussex

  • Drive less. Reducing the mileage of your car from 15,000 to 10,000 miles a year will save more than a tonne of CO2, about 15% of the average person’s footprint. On an unleaded car with 45mpg performance you’ll also save more than £500 a year if you do so! It won’t be possible for everyone but on good weather days could the school run be done on foot? Or if you need to pop into town for an errand and it’s not too far, why not forget the car? Maybe it might be possible to cycle to work one day a week, or use public transport?

  • Turn your thermostat down just one degree. According to the Energy Saving Trust turning your thermostat down by just one degree could save you £80 a year and reduce carbon dioxide by 320kg!

  • Turn appliances off and charge devices more wisely. According to the ‘Powering the nation’ study completed by Energy Saving Trust, between 9-16% of the electricity consumed in homes is used to power appliances when they are in standby mode – especially appliances like televisions. On a bill of £500 this could account for as much as £80. Likewise if you charge a mobile phone overnight, it will be fully charged after 2 hours and then for the rest of the time it is using electricity unnecessarily. So charge it during the day then you can turn off the charger when it is done.

These are all relatively small actions and pretty easy to do. But they will be a step in the right direction and, as the US activist and politician Barbara Mikulski said: “Each one of us can make a difference, together we can make change.”

Here’s to a happy, healthy and greener East Sussex in 2020!