It was I believe, following the brilliant success of the film our very own Nicola Schafer produced on Hedgerows that I suggested perhaps we could produce a parody of the BBC television programme ‘Shop Well For Less’ but re-name it ‘Shop Well For The Planet’. I think the BBC Spies were out that day listening to me as they are now featuring on BBC One ‘Shop Well For The Planet’. Oh well, I didn’t patent the idea and it seems it was a good one because the programme shows how ordinary people can change their shopping habits in order to live with a lower carbon footprint. The series is still on and available on BBC I-player as well. It surprises me how often the target family start off saying that they think living a greener lifestyle will be more expensive and too difficult. It really isn’t either. There are some good ideas in each programme and they are not all the same so if you think you wouldn’t like to take that action, choose another.
Another good way of discovering how you can live well for the planet try one of the carbon footprint sites now available. These generally give you a bite-size action to try to achieve in your own time. https://zero.giki.earth, which I think, is great for the tips and bite-size suggestions and you can track your progress.
This site: https://greatcollaboration.uk/about#parish allows the parish to track how we are doing as a community which may be useful. https://greatcollaboration.uk/insights shows that there is one person contributing in Watlington at the moment (me). I believe Giki also offer this option but it will need to be paid for.
I would also recommend watching Money for nothing & Repair Shop on BBC 1 and I-player. Look what was achieved with a pair of old (circa 1940s) ice skates that were about to be thrown on the skip:
Here are some easy wins that you could try to limit your own carbon footprint:
1. Try shopping locally whenever you can and take with you some reusable bags to put your shopping into. You can purchase string bags for your fruit and vegetables. Just keep them together in one larger bag that you take shopping whenever you go. Similarly, keep a reusable cup in your bag so if you stop for a takeaway coffee you can use your own mug. If you shop locally you may see local shopkeeper give a little jig of joy but you too could give a skip of joy as you will have reduced your carbon footprint. If you also try to buy locally produced items this is a further cut in your carbon.
2. Try to refill containers and buy from So Sustainable – they reduce plastic use and have lots of alternatives to try.
3. Try growing your own – even if you just have a window box you could grow something edible in it.
4. Try wearing your clothes longer between washes i.e. wash less often and when you do wash use a lower temperature.
5. Turn your heating down if only by one degree and wear warmer clothes in winter – you won’t even notice the difference.
6. Try to detect any draughts in your home and block them off if possible.
7. If your windows are single glazed especially, hang heavy lined curtains to keep heat in and cold out. Remember to tuck them behind radiators (these are often placed under windows) you don’t want the heat to go out the window but into the room.
8. Have at least one meat-free day. WCAG has been sharing vegetarian recipes but there are plenty of recipes available online too. Sometimes it’s enough to just miss out on the meat from a recipe you already cook regularly. For example Pasta sauce or chilli or pizza to name just a few.
9. Reduce your car use by walking or cycling (much healthier) or using public transport. If you are using your car less and find it’s just sitting on the drive or in the road you might consider using a site like https://www.hiyacar.co.uk/ so that you can share your car with others or dispense with your own car and use others.
10. Think twice and think again before taking a long haul flight. Even a short-haul flight could be replaced with a rail journey that becomes an interesting part of the holiday. If you fly for work consider whether this could be achieved by a zoom meeting.
11. Buy less ‘stuff’. Consumerism is not climate-friendly. You can often find what you want second hand and in reasonable or even good condition. If you haven’t already please join Waste Not Want Not Watlington – Library of Stuff on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/575575550048884 where you may find what you want or give away what you don’t want or even just borrow something from your neighbours when you need it. Alternatively, try repairing your stuff – when was the last time you darned a pair of socks?
12. When you need a piece of furniture considers getting a piece of wooden furniture – wood is a store of C02. Antiques can be surprisingly reasonably priced. If buying modern wooden furniture ensure it is made from sustainable sources.(preferable from UK timber)
13. Switch to a bank account that doesn’t support fossil fuels and research any pensions to ensure they are not funding fossil fuels.
14. Use Ecosia search engine and they will plant trees for you.
by Terry Jackson