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Heather and Frank with their in-home display Heather and Frank with their smart meter in-home display

Research by Smart Energy GB found that almost 8 in 10 young people worry about climate change at least once a month, and only a quarter believe that cities with clean air will still exist in 50 years' time. But many don't understand the impact their own energy use has on the environment.

Heather and Frank playing cards with their smart meter in-home display nearby

The challenge

After seeing the rising concern, grandparents to eight Heather (80) and Frank (85) of Dartford are challenging under 16s to swap an hour of tech time for some old school, energy-free fun.

Since getting a smart meter installed the couple have seen how easy it is to lower their energy usage by taking small steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

But with awareness of environmental issues at an all-time high, they noticed that tech such as smart phones game consoles were taking over much of young people's free time, including their grandchildren's.

Heather and Frank gardening

They hope that the challenge to put down powered devices for just one hour on Clean Air Day will show how easy it is to reduce our energy demand, make small changes to help the environment and reduce air pollution.

"Growing up in the 40s and 50s, we played free sports, not e-sports, and spent time playing inside and out, rather than with our eyes on a screen. We don't expect young people to give up phones and gaming for good, but we're challenging under 16s to an hour of energy-free fun on Thursday 20th June from 5-6pm for Clean Air Day, to show that we can all do more to save our precious planet."

Old-fashioned fun

For anyone unsure of what exactly to do for their energy free hour, Heather and Frank have compiled a list of some of their favourite pastimes as children:

  • Launch a paper aeroplane competition
  • Try something creative such as knitting or sewing
  • Make your own doll house from cardboard boxes
  • Conjure up some energy-free fun with some simple card tricks or try your hand at classic card games such as Snap, Rummy or Old Maid
  • Unleash your artistic side by drawing or painting
  • Organise a sporting event - if you enjoy a kick about this is easier than it sounds. Try getting your friends together for a penalty shoot out or a game of one touch
  • Have a go at being greener by planting some herb seeds at home to mix up some of your meals
  • Or if it's raining take on the family at a board game such as Monopoly or Scrabble

Where to start

We all know we need to do our bit to tackle the climate crisis -- but often, it can feel quite overwhelming knowing where to start.

By taking part in Heather and Frank's energy-free hour we can all encourage our children and grandchildren to be that little bit kinder to our planet; and by getting a smart meter installed, you can show your children just how much of a difference they are making.

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