How to make a difference

I’m in reflective mood today, so here’s some ideas on how to make a difference to the situation we find ourselves in regarding wrecking the planet.

Sorry if this sounds a bit political, but it strikes me there’s a lot of small things we could do that won’t affect our lives much but might just help to save the planet. Or at least make it last until it doesn’t concern me – about 30 years should do.

Eat less meat – unless you’re a vegetarian, because that won’t be possible. If you cut your meat eating by 50% you will save approximately one tonne of CO2 per year. You will probably live longer and be a little bit better off too. Pescatarians are only 2.5% more expensive (in carbon terms) than vegetarians (though I always consider them morally suspect, to be honest, particularly the ones who claim to be “vegetarian but I eat fish” – that’s not vegetarian at all). Vegan diets produce 25% less carbon than vegetarian diets.)

Go on holiday at home. A return flight between New York and London produces about a tonne of CO2. That means I’m giving up bacon sandwiches so you can have a holiday abroad? I don’t think so. Stop it!

Build a wildlife pond (even a small one) – that’s my new enthusiasm this week.

Don’t drive as far, and buy a more efficient car. We’re not all going to take to bikes anytime soon, not with my knees anyway, and the buses aren’t that good round my way so, being realistic, I need a car. It’s not too big, I don’t generally drive above 60, even on a motorway, and try to be economical in the way I drive as it saves money anyway.

Do something else (lists really need 3 or 5 or 10 items I always feel).. It just needs to be a small thing, or a few small things. I recently stopped having drinking straws when eating in fast food places. That will save about 750 straws over the course of my life. It isn’t much, but it’s now got me thinking about reducing other plastic, and about the number of times i eat fast food (remembering I sometimes have tea, not soft drinks).

That’s the depressing thing – I can actually find a lot of small changes to make and I’m only just starting to make them. I am, to be honest, a little bit ashamed of myself.

15 thoughts on “How to make a difference

  1. sue

    Hubby and I clean out unused items and put at the curb side with a FREE sign. They’re usually gone within an hour. Used to have garage sales but when I figured I was making 25ยข hr for all the work and hassle, no more!
    Of course we donate “‘ nicer” things but these are odd lots of scrap metal, wood, old garden pots.

      1. sue

        A man stopped this spring to show us photos of how he used our give aways. Scrap wood, two Windows, screening, some fabric. He built his little girl a play house. Trash( I have no imagination!!) to me, treasure to a little girl (with a great dad)

  2. arelladawn

    Love this post!! I have another to add to your list:

    Get in the habit of bringing along a sturdy travel mug with you at all times. I have been a daily coffee drinker most of my life, and it wasn’t until I went on vacation to a tiny island that I realized every single one of my to-go beverage cups (assuredly thousands during my life) was probably still bobbing around out there in the ocean somewhere! Or in a landfill. I’ve been doing it about a year now and I will say, it is now close to second-nature for me to make sure I have my mug anytime I leave home. I use it sometimes 3 or 4 times a day- stops me buying bottled water as well, as I can just fill it at a drinking fountain or any bathroom sink.

    Oh and another, my favorite perhaps: Shop at thrift stores! Even if one is affluent enough that this seems tacky or gauche, think about it. The clothes and sundries therein are, at the time you’re buying them, effectively carbon-neutral. They’ve already been harvested, manufactured, shipped, etc. the first time around. So you can feel fully guilt-free about whatever you might find there, as you’re not really feeding into the capitalism machine other than with a little sales tax.

  3. Helen

    Better late than never!

    Once you start in this path, I have found, you start to see more and more ‘little’ things that you can be doing – or not doing, as the case maybe.


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