Doing my bit **updated**

Climate Change is a phrase that conjures up a myriad of images and thoughts for me. Changes in weather patterns, more violent and unpredictable weather and the warming of the earth and the melting polar ice caps causing sea levels to rise. I think we are all acutely aware of it. The message is loud and clear. Its quite literally rammed down our throats now. Everyone has seen an #ExtinctionRebellion protest recently.

Its a fact, our weather has changed, certainly since I was a kid and I’ve witnessed the melting of a glacier first hand seeing pictures of it 100 years ago and seeing it now. Its a scary thing to see and comprehend.

Its clear to see on the Athebasca glacier I visited in Canada. Look where it was in 1992

As a person, not a race, a continent, a country or culture but as a person, everyone living on this planet has a role to play and although my actions, on my own, might not help much to reverse it, if we all did something I think it could have an effect. So I’m going to briefly talk about me doing my little bit.

I don’t care about me. The damage is done. I care about my son, my son’s kids and their kids and so on.

Cycling to work
For four days a week, twice a day I take my car off the road and choose to ride my bike instead. No emissions, no traffic congestion, less fuel burned. The benefits are I save money, the air quality is a fraction better, traffic jams have one less car and I keep fit so I’m arguably going to be less of a burden to, say, the NHS.
Cars have a role to play in society but the wholly biased approach we have of pandering to motorists astounds me quite frankly. A 1/3 of all car journeys are less than one mile! Rather than spending billions building roads, build infrastructure and prioritise active travel and public transport. Its more efficient, cleaner and will lead to a healthier, more active nation with cleaner air for our kids. Is that not what we want?

Low emission car
My Vehicle Emissions Duty or VED is £30 a year. Its not a ‘road tax’. We are asked to pay for polluting the air. I’d happily pay four or five times that if I could. Its cheap and should be a lot more to reflect the damage cars do. Electric Vehicles (EV’s) are not the sole answer to the problem either like the media would like us to believe.

Single-use plastic
This is probably more associated with micro-plastics and plastic rubbish flooding our oceans and rivers but making it requires the burning of fossil fuels. Sally and I used to buy and drink 25-30 500ml bottles of sparkling water a week. £1 for 6 bottles. All plastic, covered in plastic. Yes, we recycle them but that requires collection, sorting and distribution. Not having them in the first place is the answer here so we have now bought a Sodastream and make our own from tap water chilled in the fridge. Tastes great too. It will pay for itself in 3 months.

As I commute a lot, I take a lot of showers which I now keep to a minimum in length purely because they’re functional rather than enjoyable these days. I’ve decided to ditch the single-use shower gel containers now too and I’m going back to a good old bar of soap. I’m on my last bottles at home and work so in a week or two I’ll be making the switch and a bit more plastic will not be used.

The irony of going to a soap bar is I had to buy a plastic soap box. I’ll use it over and over again though

soap box.jpg
my new soap box. time to get off mine!

We all recycle (I hope!). We recycle as much plastic and cardboard as we can but someone needs to get a grip of it so all packaging can be kept out of landfill. Its appalling to think I can recycle a bottle but the plastic cover goes into big holes in our land somewhere. Less packaging is the answer and what we get should be 100% recyclable. Companies should be compelled to do that by law.

You may have read my recent blog about going meat-free after watching The Game Changers documentary. I’m a month in and I’ve now settled into a routine of meat-free in the week and I only eat locally sourced, butchered meat at the weekends. I’m now a part-time meat eater. The reason for this is that the mass production of meat is one of the major contributors to global warming. Its just another simple little thing I can do and I feel better for it both from a health point of view and my conscience.

After I wrote this piece it was firmly pointed out to me that I’d missed couple of other things we’ve done recently to ‘ our bit’, so here they are

We no longer buy milk in a plastic container from the supermarket. We’ve switched to having a local pint delivered by a milkman. Proper old-skool! Firstly the taste is a revelation. So much nicer and creamier, secondly we save a bit more plastic because the glass bottles are collected, washed and reused. We don’t waste any milk either now. One pint on a Monday and Friday. Its surprised me how little milk we actually use to be honest. I like the idea of supporting a local business too. Try it. Milkmen still exist!

Bring back milkmen in their electric milk floats. Remember them? The original EV’s

Too Good To Go
Sally takes the credit for this one. Its an app thats attempting to tackle food waste. Food outlets (restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and supermarkets) sign up and make up boxes or ‘magic bags’ of about to go out of date food to sell rather than throw it in the bin. Demand is high and the app is still in its infancy but on principal its a great idea and the amount of food for a £3 box from Morrisons is staggering. We’ve had three boxes now which have been massive. Fruit, veg, bread, pastries. There could be £15-£20 worth in there. I get the politics of it, food banks etc but at the end of the day, a third of all food produced is wasted so there is more than enough to dump, sell or donate to be honest and this is just the start. I’m just glad someone is trying to do something about it.

Where next?
There is always something more we can do but some changes are more difficult than others to make. For example, I’d love to ditch my car and get rid of it. The only reason I have it is to transport my bikes and Daniel. Thats it. I’d happily use a car share scheme but there isn’t one local to me yet so the car has to stay for now.
Growing my own veg is something I’m quite interested in too. I’ve suggested work have a community garden which could be a starting point and inspire me and hopefully others to carry on at home.
Reducing packaging and single-use plastics further is possible but this would mean splitting the shopping across multiple outlets which then means more driving/parking/congestion. I’d do everything on a cargo bike if I could but we don’t have space for one and the roads and infrastructure to enable me to do it safely don’t exixt either.

So there you go, a few, simple lifestyle changes I’ve made to try and reduce the impact of I have on the planet.

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