Simple Steps

While there may not be a political will to take climate change seriously, and I am talking as much here about Ireland as other countries, we as individuals can make a difference. You may think – “what can I do?” but you can do lots of simple, little things and if you encourage a friend to follow suit and they in turn encourage another friend, we soon have a movement of people.

So as a first step, find out about your own carbon footprint. There are some good online carbon footprint calculators. Check out WWF Calculator (UK), Carbon Footprint (can choose various countries including USA ),  and Friends of the Earth (Ireland). Depending which one you use you will see where you can make improvements. I wanted to do a graph showing you the different countries but it seems every website I go to shows a different set of figures! So here are the figures from the Friends of the Earth site.

carbonfoot1

Here are some of my simple ideas for reducing your carbon footprint.

Food – think where is it coming from

Our food often comes from thousands of miles away. I am as guilty as anyone else with bananas and avocados in my fruit bowl. But that banana traveled over 5000 miles to get here! Perhaps I should just eat more homegrown apples. If you planted an apple tree in your garden. You could walk out, pick the apple of the tree, bring it into the house. So maybe twenty steps! In addition, the apple blossom in early spring is a great food source for pollinators.

Travel

It is not always possible to walk, cycle or take public transport,  but can you combine car trips. So for example,  do your shopping on the way home from work instead of making a special trip. Offer to pick the neighbour’s children up from school when you are picking up your own.

Waste

Of all the carbon issues this is probably one of the ones we in the western world have made most progress.  The majority of people recycle and compost these days and that is great, but we must continue to improve. What I would like to see is more repair shops. So that when the fridge breaks we can get it fixed for the fraction of the cost it would be to buy a new one! Or instead of going out an buying a brand new item consider buying second hand.

Perhaps in the next post I could list some of your suggestions – why not include your favourite carbon busters in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

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32 thoughts on “Simple Steps

  1. Eliza Waters

    I use a clothesline in the warm months and a wooden rack in winter next to our wood stove (less use of fossil fuels). Central heating thermostat timers to lower temps when house is empty or at night. We have a great recycling station (#2 in the state) that also offers gently used clothing and other household items (I found our espresso maker there free). I buy used clothes when I can, buy bulk food rather than packaged, use reusable grocery bags. I really think before I buy something, not a huge consumer. I eat as little dairy as I can, meat, too as the carbon footprint is highest on beef. CFLs for lightbulbs.

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  2. Cynthia Reyes

    Thanks for a very thoughtful post.
    Here is my contribution, as requested
    To cut down on waste:
    Pledge to use everything in your freezer before you buy any other perishables (except the daily stuff like milk and eggs, of course).
    Make your own stock from vegetable peels and ends. And don’t forget it in the freezer!

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  3. Helen

    Wow – you’re doing really well. My results came out at 8.9 tonnes. That said, it didn’t ask if there were any children in the house, so presumably my heating, for example, would be a lower amount if it was shared with my daughter. Still, it is a useful exercise to do.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      I haven’t been on a plane for quite a few years and we only use wood to heat our house, both of which I think help lower the overall use:-) You are still well below average which is still great result.

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      1. Helen

        I haven’t been on a plane either in recent year, which will account for the lower than average consumption. There were other factors, too, such as good sourcing and such like. The main carbon comes from driving my car but can’t see any way round that right now.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      All excellent suggestions. I find it hard to give away books, even when I have read them I love keeping them. Which is one of the reasons why I try and make use of the local library!

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  4. Taragh Cosgrove

    Hi!
    It would be great to show people how to compost on a small scale in their back garden cost efficiently.I think people are a little afraid of it smelling,rodents etc and if they were shown maybe that would dispel the myths!

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Interesting point. I know in the UK they did a Master Composter programme to try and encourage household composting. I am not sure how successful it was.

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  5. Rainbow Junkie

    Climate change or not I have always tried to minimise my use of resources when it seemed reasonable but as I get older it seems to be going the other way. I used to keep my heating at no more than 18 deg in the daytime but now I am older I have to keep it more like 20 deg or I get chilblains. I can see other areas that may go the same way.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Heating of houses is an interesting one – because they is the amount of heat we use, the type of fuel we use, how well insulated our house is, what type of glazing we have etc. Lots of factors to consider.

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  6. Meanderer

    Some good ideas here. I’m with you regarding food miles and have been purchasing fruit and veg with more thought recently. Stocking the freezer with more frozen veg is one way of having out of season ‘local’ produce all year round, especially as I recently discovered that frozen and canned veg can be as high or higher in nutrients than fresh (remarkably).

    Recycling is becoming harder. Living in a rural area, we don’t get a glass collection and with bottle banks disappearing from supermarket car parks we have to throw the glass in with general household waste.

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      1. Meanderer

        In one word: cutbacks. There used to be lots of local recycling spots in villages, plus recycling areas in supermarkets, along with the huge general recycling depots. The local ones and supermarket ones have gone and the depots which serve a wide area have restricted opening hours and are being merged with other counties making it difficult for people to get to them. It will encourage more fly-tipping for sure. We were told by a neighbour that general waste is being scanned for recyclables – something we knew nothing about – so hopefully stuff gets picked up that way.

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  7. heretherebespiders

    If you work outside the home – consider setting up recycling at work. My company did that, and we were second place in the green awards Ireland. People who recycle at home rarely think of all the waste that a business can create. We also have motion sensitive lighting in most of the building.
    We compost, recycle as much as possible, have LED lights or low energy lights, a NEST to regulate heating, and a WATTSON to show our energy usage. These things not only help with the carbon footprint, but save us money, too.
    And of course, I have a whole lot of plants, inside and out!

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  8. Julie

    Great post and very thought provoking – at home we recycle and repurpose, rarely eat meat now, but haven’t yet switched to a green tariff, something we need to address.
    We have a very good local organic farm shop and I grow a lot of veg at home, we both cycle and walk, but my downfall is driving around the country to support my daughter in her sport, which counteracts the positive actions. We lift share as much as possible but I drive a Diesel, bought when I thought this was a greener option, we know better now.
    When I am in a supermarket I try to buy produce not in plastic packaging and my daughter lives near a butcher that produces ethical meat, I could live without but my husband is not happy with this, so I try to shop there.
    Insulating houses properly is very important as well as saving money it helps with emissions.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Again all valid points Julie. I think we all have to weigh up the good and the bad and try and find our best way forward. I am going to do another follow up post because you have all got me thinking more about this. Thanks for your contribution 🙂

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      It’s a tough one Melissa because of course you want to go home and see your family and friends. And it’s not as if you are flying a few times a year. The way you live in general though is so positive for the environment – you have to weigh that up against the “bad”.

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  9. Pingback: Six months in 17 for 2017 | Murtagh's Meadow

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