This weekend Mark & I helped on a river clear up with Lincoln Canoe Club as part of the Clear Water Access Paddle Cleanup Campaign. On Sunday we took part in the WH&T Going Green the Big Community Clear Up. Two great initiatives to encourage more of us to take action to improve our surroundings.
When we litter pick we often find evidence of how the litter has caused problems to wildlife, including sadly, decaying bodies of small birds and mammals. Understanding how the inconsiderate actions of people adversely affects wildlife, motivates me to take care of this planet.
We talk about changing habits and doing what we can, when we can. Keep an eye on WH&T Going Green Face book page for regular going green ideas to see what appeals to you.
To combat the amount of rubbish we found brought to my thoughts two extreme measures: Zero Waste and Refuse.
Zero waste followers try to minimise their impact by ensuring anything they buy does not result in them having any rubbish e.g. using their own containers to buy food or using refill stations, always using their own bags, composting & repurposing.
A quick win is taking your own bags/containers to the local farm shop. They embrace you doing it as it saves them money on bags (even a paper bag becomes rubbish & uses resources to make) and you have nothing to throw away.
I don’t expect to change every habit, but I keep chipping away at it because even putting things in recycling doesn’t have the same big impact on the climate as not using them in the first place.
Which leads us onto Refuse in the way of refusing to be a consumer, refusing to be caught up in the spin of great marketing, refusing to buy things that you really don’t need.
Even if we’re buying products that can be: recycled; are packaged in cardboard; are compostable; are better for the planet than another item you already have that’s not worn out and still does what it was bought for but is made of plastic instead of glass/bamboo etc etc… we are still using up resources. The largest contributor to the worlds carbon emissions (31%), are caused by making things…yes surprisingly even higher than producing electricity (27%)*.
Next time you go to buy – ask why?
Why do I need this? Why can’t I repurpose something I already have? Why can’t I do things a bit differently to avoid needing it?
If you do need to buy something then consider the source. I like to check if I can buy from a B Corporation company or refer to The Ethical Consumer before I purchase anything.
Sometimes I have to get things through Amazon but on at least three occasions I have ended up not buying what I thought I needed as there was nowhere ethical to get it from.
The less I buy the less chance there is of rubbish being produced along the supply chain. Which brings me neatly back to the local clear ups – rubbish mostly thrown out of cars/delivery vehicles, people on their way to make something to buy or on their way back from buying something.
Whilst we are proactively improving our local environment we should also consider how we can be motivated to change our purchasing habits to improve the worlds environment.
My own journey has led me down a path of not just better recycling, less plastic use etc., but towards campaigning through Greenpeace & Friends of the Earth. Mainly just signing petitions but as I say – do what is right for you. I’m not really a soapbox on Hyde Corner activist.
Please watch this video from Greenpeace.
Yes, a soapbox moment, but please indulge me and take some time to look at the work Greenpeace do. It may be something you wish to support if you can.
*How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates.