Monday, 31 January 2011

Confessions of a Wannabe Eco Warrior: Part Three

A lot has been said in the media of late about our Carbon Footprint – the principle being that every human activity either directly or indirectly causes greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere and this contributes to climate change. I’d like to reduce my carbon footprint but its actually really hard! Funnily enough there is one thing I do which has a zero carbon footprint (CF), and that is breastfeeding! The production of baby milk substitutes has a high CF due to the rearing of the cows, the production of the cows feed, manufacture and transportation of the milk powder, the manufacture of the product itself, then there’s the packaging – tins, plastic etc. The long shelf life of formula milk means that a hard wearing container is essential. When I sit here and breastfeed, my carbon footprint is minimal… I say minimal because I do admittedly need to breathe… #justsayin

But as I’ve already said, living greener doesn’t just have to mean drinking out of used yoghurt pots and wearing only organic hemp clothing. It’s about the small do-able tweaks here and there that really do make a difference. So here’s a list of ‘all the small things’ I can do to minimize my impact on the world – in most cases is helps me to save money too which is a nice little bonus.

• Turn off the lights when you leave a room and use low energy light bulbs.
• AVOID Standby on appliances – TVs, Microwaves, DVD players, Stereos all use around the same amount of energy on standby as when in use! Turn them off where possible
• Use the lowest temperatures on your washing machine & dishwasher as possible to reduce energy use.
• Install a water meter – it will make you more careful about the amount of water you use so it doesn’t cost you so much, plus did you know that drinking water is actually only 3% of the worlds available water? Best look after it then.
• Put a brick in the toilet cistern – it reduces the amount of water flushed away, also consider not flushing every time… Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth.
• Collect rain water in a water butt leading from your gutters then you can use this to water the garden/vegetable beds rather than running it from fresh water taps. Use it to water the house plants too
• Don’t over fill the kettle, only boil as much as you need, result: less water waste & less energy used
• Consider swapping to washable nappies to avoid filling landfills with disposable nappies – the nappies we throw away now will outlive us. Chemicals released from the nappies are not healthy either for the world or for babies skin. The World Health Organisation has called for fecal and urine waste to stop being put into the ground, ie with disposable nappies and this is a great way to avoid it.
• Drive your car less. Your ’soon to be flatter’ tummy will thank you for it… not to mention your wallet and the ozone layer.
• Avoid air travel – the carbon footprint is uber high. Holiday local. I didn’t say that all these ideas would be popular.
• Buy your food local if you can to avoid travel costs (monetary & environmental), both to you and to the supplier.

Look out for Part Four where I delve into the issues surrounding ethical living and responsible shopping.

I would love to hear your ‘tweaks’ toward your greener living!

Part One : http://michelletant.blogspot.com/2011/01/confessions-of-wannabe-eco-warrior-part.html
Part Two : http://michelletant.blogspot.com/2011/01/confessions-of-wannabe-eco-warrior-part_30.html

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