I have always been interested in the environment and how we, and of course, I can be better when it comes to my impact on the world. Two and a half years ago my life was totally changed forever by the arrival of my first darling baby. Only 18 months later we were lucky enough to welcome our second little angel into the world. As a result, that interest has become more of an obsession. I need to be able to look my children in the eye and tell them, hand on heart, that “Daddy did everything he could to give you a wonderful world to live in”.
The reality of climate change and the environment is a complicated one and the more you learn the more you realise you will never understand it all. This can be quite off-putting and one major stumbling block for most people I speak to is “What difference does little old me and my family really make?”. Well, in isolation you don’t particularly, but, multiply that by a million or even a billion families and it makes a huge difference. This is quite literally within your control and relatively easy to do as long as you are prepared to put in the effort to make the changes necessary.
Nobody I know that is over the age of about ten years old likes “change” all that much. We find our routine and we stick with it. We are creatures of habit. But that habit has to change otherwise it is our little babies that will pay the ultimate price for our stubbornness.
So, there are many things that you could change right now and I have only listed three below. Imagine if everyone made at least one of these changes to their everyday lives and we would be taking a huge step in the right direction. And that is my challenge to you, make just one change this week. Then maybe another the week after and so on. It is all baby steps so let’s do this for the little ones!
Eat Less Meat
It has been estimated that an incredible 51% of global carbon emissions are associated with the meat and dairy industry! Emissions occur from the stage of production, to processing, packaging, and to finally being served.
I am a BIG meat eater so when this was first suggested to me I really, REALLY did not like it. It felt like I was being shamed for doing something that is only natural. But once I had calmed down I realised that I don’t need to eat meat everyday and I had never actually even tried to reduce my meat intake. So, I started with doing it for one day and the incredible thing was that I realised it was EASY. I had toast with peanut butter and marmite (try it before you knock it, it’s amazing) for breakfast, I had vegetable soup for lunch (with more bread, yum) and a vegetable stir fry for dinner (with chilli oil, which I love). My wife had the same and our children happily eat a vegetable based diet anyway as they haven’t developed the taste for meat yet.
I decided to then try this for a week. It turns out that when you actually cook a vegetarian dish properly it is better than the meat equivalent. A vegetarian chilli is where you replace the mince meat with walnuts, and I am telling you that it is genuinely BETTER and I cannot believe I am saying that.
I assumed that feeling tired after a meal was just part of eating but now I am thinking it is a part of eating meat. There is a lot of scientific evidence to support this theory and it is definitely better for you. It is true that we are designed to eat meat but not everyday or even every week. If we all reduced our meat intake to just a few times a month imagine the impact that would have on global emissions.
Switch lights and electrics off
An oldie but goldie. They have been saying this since I was a kid, which is a really long time!
The difference is that now there are ten times more electronics so it is ten times as important.
There is really no excuse, except laziness that this isn’t second nature to us all but it does take a little bit of effort. If you are really smart you could set it up so that each room has a master switch but if you dont have that then I am afraid it is time to exercise those hanches and switch them off at the mains.
Admittedly this also requires you training your children to follow suit but you managed to teach them how to walk, talk, eat and use the loo so this should be a breeze. In fact I should say you managed to teach them how to switch the damn things on in the first place so this is just the next logical step.
The modern world has encouraged us to travel the globe and reach further. When was the last time you and your family actually adventured around your local area. Lockdown has meant that we have become more local than ever. Now that restrictions are lifting there are even more places available to you. By staying local you are obviously not using any mode of transport other than your own legs to get you about. This has no negative impact on the planet and makes you healthier. As always, I am not saying “don’t ever go out of your local area or travel abroad”, just think about going local first.
There are of course big things you can do, such as, when and if you buy your next car, make sure it is electric or at least a hybrid. Today they are more expensive initially but the savings you make within the first year make it much cheaper overall. My old car used to cost £70 per week to fill up with petrol, whilst my new one costs £40 every couple of months. You don’t have to pay roadtax (in the UK at least) or residents parking and there are plenty of other financial benefits.
When considering any changes or upgrades to your house/flat make sure you discuss with the builder what your options are around making it more sustainable. Again, the outlay is higher but the savings you make in the longer term are astronomical. Solar panels are the most obvious but making sure your house doesn’t lose so much heat by fitting proper insulation and double/triple glazed windows is another great saving.
Hopefully this has got you thinking about how you and your family can be even better than you already are and if none of the above are for you then check out this link for 30 more things you can do: https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/how-to-be-more-eco-friendly.
Just make sure you do at least one in the next week and then another the week/month after.
Before you know it you will be a full on super man/woman making the world a better place for those little super babies.