NEWS: The Scilly guide to saving energy

The pressures that islands face from climate change - and how they can deal with them – comes under scrutiny next month on E-Day, when the Isles of Scilly will aim to show the rest of the UK how easy it can be to cut the carbon emissions that are leading to rising sea levels.

E-Day, or Energy Saving Day, will be the first coordinated and measured attempt by a community in the UK to reduce its energy consumption and will feature real time displays of the electricity being used and the money being spent on it. The Isles of Scilly will cut energy by, among other measures, reducing thermostats, installing energy-efficient light bulbs and ensuring electrical appliances are not left on standby. Tools include a Scilly-o-meter, which shows how much electricity the community on the Isles of Scilly has used since midnight.

Events for E-Day will run from 3-6 October, and has been organised by Dr Matt Prescott, who led the “Ban the Bulb” campaign to phase out incandescent, energy-intensive lightbulbs. The Isles of Scilly were chosen in part because, like all islands, they face the challenge of dealing with rising sea levels and being more vulnerable to extreme weather. In a similar UK-wide exercise last year, the Isles of Scilly saved more energy per capita than anywhere else in the UK.

The Isles of Scilly will seek to cut energy use by three per cent on 6 October. “That doesn’t sound much, but if 22m households in the UK took the same steps – heating water for less time, using energy-saving light bulbs – then you can start turning power stations off,” said Dr Prescott. “We are going into the unknown - oil is going to run out. It’s a problem and we do have to learn to live without it.”

The E-Day project will also involve an Earth Summit that will bring together speakers from island nations around the world to share information about the challenges they face. Representatives from the Galapagos Islands, Samoa, Madagascar will be joined by Ursula Rakova of the Carteret Islands, a small island group politically joined to Papua New Guinea. The Carteret islanders look likely to become the first peoples in modern history to evacuate an island because of sea level rises caused by climate change.

“Islands are more vulnerable because they tend to have less infrastructure,” said Dr Prescott. “They are among the most vulnerable places in the world and at the forefront of the impact of climate change.”


Comments: 0
More about BBC Worldwide.