This section is organised by topic: just click on the headings below.
Many climate experts believe that one of the biggest impacts of climate change for Britain in the next 5-10 years will be food: shortages of supplies, and sharply rising prices. We can already see this starting.
Global warming causes more frequent and extreme weather events, such as torrential rain, severe droughts, and high winds. These reduce crop yields or cause complete harvest failures. Climate impacts on agriculture will be worse in other countries, such as the Mediterranean area where much of our fruit and veg are imported from. In South-West England, we could increase production if we adapt crops and cultivation methods (see research summary here).
The Bridport Food Matters website provides a comprehensive guide to climate responses on food issues, including:
- Finding suppliers of local produce.
- Grow your own, with climate adaptation.
- Local food access and food bank projects.
- Healthy affordable recipes.
- Climate responses for consumers and producers.
Home energy is about 25% of the average UK household’s carbon emissions. This is mostly energy for heating, but also for cooking and other appliances. Gas prices are expected to rise 50% or more in 2022, so saving energy is a priority for your finances and for the planet.
Some of the steps you can take are fairly easy, others would need substantial investment, and currently there’s only limited grant support available.
- Turn down your thermostat! A couple of degrees could save you hundreds of pounds.
- Improve your insulation. Bridport Town Council website offers various sources of information and advice. See here.
- Especially if your boiler is old, or fuelled by oil or coal, consider replacing it, ideally with a low emission system like a ground-source or air-source heat pump, or efficient modern storage heater using off-peak green electricity. See more at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.
- Switch to an electricity provider using 100% renewable energy: you can see recommendations on best suppliers at www.greensquare.co.uk.
- You can get a free home visit to advise on energy savings if you are on a low income through the LEAP (Local Energy Advice Partnership) free home visit scheme, operated locally by Ridgewater Energy: details above.
- We can assess our carbon footprint (emissions) with an online calculator, see www.footprint.wwf.org.uk, or for more detailed analysis www.carbonfootprint.com.
Travel is around 27% of the average UK household’s carbon emissions. Car travel is the biggest part of this, but air travel and cruises are also significant.
A lot of our travel arises from convenience or from leisure activities, so you might consider different choices which would save you money, and cut your emissions.
- Leave your car at home for short trips: 30% of car journeys are less than 1 mile.
- Use bike, foot, bus or train if possible. Tell Dorset Council if you’d like improvements for non-car travellers, e.g. more frequent buses.
- Join the trend and get an electric car, or a plug-in hybrid which is electric for local trips: these are expensive, and more Government support is needed.
- Avoid air travel and cruises if possible. See www.seat61.com for great train routes.
- Help start a car sharing club for Bridport: this is being investigated by CoCars, see more atwww.co-cars.co.uk.
Some private experts believe that habitat loss, i.e. the destruction or degradation of ecosystems, is one of the most serious aspects of the climate crisis. One reason is that this is causing very large population loss for species of many kinds, including animals, fish, birds, insects and plants, including many extinctions. These losses are important for many reasons: not only to maintain diversity and respect non-human life, but also because of the impact they are already having on food production and other human needs. To read more about this issue, and antidotes such as regenerative agriculture, see this blog on the book by Charles Eisenstein, Climate – A New Story. There are a number of local projects involved in habitat renewal and conservation. Here are some of them:
Bridport Tree Planting:
This is a volunteer project which plants trees in both public and private spaces, and can provide trees at little or no cost in small numbers for people to plant in their own gardens. It is coordinated by Joe Hackett in conjunction with West Dorset Friends of the Earth: see more at Bridport Tree Planting.
Dorset Wildlife Trust:
DWT runs a range of conservation sites across the county, and relies heavily on volunteers to help maintain them, as well as carrying out wildlife surveys and other tasks. See www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.
This is a voluntary group which maintains the area around Allington Hill on the north-west edge of Bridport, and has frequent groups for conservation volunteers. See www.allingtonhillbillies.org.uk.
Government figures show that three-quarters of UK adults are worried about climate change impacts. For some of us, this is another stress to live with, alongside rising prices, covid, and lots more. For some, it is causing mental health conditions which need help. This website offers pointers for both situations.
General wellbeing resources
Mental health resources
- For local organisations in Bridport, see our Directory section here.
- The Climate Psychology Alliance is a network of professional therapists and counsellors, who offer useful resources on their website, and can provide up to 3 free sessions of therapeutic support for people suffering with climate distress. See www.climatepsychologyalliance.org.
The UK National Risk Register and the Dorset Community Risk Register both foresee substantial risk of various emergencies which could affect Bridport within the next couple of years, including severe weather events, extended power cuts and others. Here are some basic steps we can all take:
- Keep some basic supplies at home such as water, food, torches.
- Prepare for longer power cuts by having some way of heating and lighting one room without mains power, plus a battery-powered radio.
- Know your neighbours, and be aware of anyone in your street who’s elderly or vulnerable, and may need help in an emergency.
You can see Bridport Town Council’s detailed Community Emergency & Resilience Plan here. This sets out detailed provisions for a range of emergency events. It gives contact info for relevant public services, including a Floodline number, Dorset Fire & Rescue, etc. It details the responsibilities of the many organisations who might be involved. It also indicates specific responses to various emergencies, such as floods, power cuts, etc.
To see more detail of the Dorset Local Resilience Forum’s assessment of various emergency events, and their probability, see www.dorsetprepared.org.uk.
Some of the climate impacts we will face in future will be ongoing problems, but the timing and shape of these is hard to predict. Here are some of those which many experts anticipate:
Food: there are likely to be more supply shortages and big price rises. For more tips on resilient food supply, see here.
Essential services: we will probably face more interruptions to electricity and gas supplies, and also to internet and social media. One result of the Ukraine crisis could be a cyber war affecting online communications. Review the services you depend on, and seek ways to cope if they are interrupted.
Wellbeing: the climate crisis is already affecting mental and emotional wellbeing for many people, and this is likely to grow. There are several local organisations who can help, or for online support try www.deepadaptation.info.
Bridport Climate Response has produced a short, 4-page leaflet which gives you a summary of the climate crisis and practical steps you can take: click here.
If you’d like a longer but readable overview of climate change causes, impacts, and potential responses at household and community level, see our A Bridport guide to climate response.