Recognising Earth Day – Our Tips for Parents and Teachers
Today marks the 52nd annual Earth Day, a special day recognised across the world to highlight the importance of protecting the environment.
With many communities coming together to take action, our own community here at Civic Engineers have shared some of their most useful tips for parents and teachers to enable some quick changes at home and school that can encourage children to get involved.
The tips are all fairly easy and quick to implement and are drawn from across our incredible team of engineers who are currently working on some of the country’s biggest sustainable engineering projects, which include Mayfield Park, Manchester; Leeds Climate Innovation District; Better Queensway, Southend-On-Sea; and Custom House Quay, Glasgow.
With the 2022 theme for Earth Day being ‘Invest In Our Planet’, we hope some of our tips below will help encourage our future generations to play their own small part investing in climate protection.
Add more plants
Director Leah Stuart, begins with a quick tip that can make a substantial difference. She says: “Plants in pots on balconies, patios and driveways improve biodiversity and act as storage for rainwater so if there’s a storm, less water goes into the sewers at once. This can help prevent overloading the sewerage system and polluting rivers.”
Buildings including homes and schools can have a negative impact on biodiversity (the variety of plants and animals that are able to exist in any given area), as well as causing greater flood risk owing to building materials and surfaces reducing natural drainage. Plants not only help to restore this balance by encouraging biodiversity but also act as an effective drainage solution.
Reduce car use
With more than a third of Britain’s car journeys being for trips that are under two miles, it is likely that many people can make a significant positive change simply by reducing some of their car usage. Leah adds, “Choose to walk to school if it’s practical for you and your children – you get fit, you save money, and you meet your friends along the way.” Claire Young, Senior Structural Engineer, adds to this point: “Avoid using the car for short trips wherever possible. Always take public transport If you can or if it’s safe for you to do so, cycle!”
Eat less meat
It is estimated that meat production and consumption generate almost double the amount of greenhouse gases compared with the production of plant-based foods. With food production as a whole accounting for around a third of all global emissions, anything to help reduce this overall impact is helpful. Clare adds: “You can try reducing the amount of meat and dairy products in your diet. Maybe try having a meat-free day at least once a week. Meat Free Monday is an easy way to remember this.”
News stories about flooding in built-up areas are becoming increasingly common throughout the year across the UK. Ongoing flood risks mean that even the smallest of contributions can together make a huge difference. Associate, Robert Webster, says: “If possible, install a rainwater butt on the rainwater pipe coming from your roof guttering and use this to help your children water plants and grass rather than getting it from the tap. This will harvest the free water that falls from the sky and also slow the flow at the source, preventing downstream flood risk.”
Locate refill shops
Refill shops have grown in popularity across towns and cities over the past few years. They give people the option of buying non-packaged products (including foodstuffs, toiletries, and cleaning products) by refilling their own containers. While some bigger brand supermarkets are joining in, most shops tend to be smaller and independent, meaning that a little research is required to locate them. Senior Structural Engineer, Dominique Pitman, says: “Spend some time with your kids helping them to find local refill stores or plastic free packaged items in the shops. Single use plastic is used once but it doesn’t degrade for hundreds of years, and is not recyclable. Reduction is significantly better than recycling, which is why it comes first in the phrase ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’.”