Monday, 12 August 2019

A Conversation About Climate

We continue to settle into our new home and village finding new ways to join in and become part of the community. Last Friday I dodged the showers and joined a group of like minded villagers for a three mile walk along the surrounding fields and footpaths. We started and finished at the newly refurbished pub, where we had an excellent cup of coffee and pastry at the end of our walk... undoing any good it might have done us. But it was about community, friendships and supporting a local business as well as walking. We are incredibly lucky to live somewhere surrounded by so much natural beauty and with so much to offer.


Another village group we have both joined is a collection of like minded individuals who have become increasingly concerned about climate change, because we cannot carry on thinking this is someone elses problem if we want to continue to enjoy our countryside and be able to leave it for future generations. None of us are experts but we have come together because we all want to learn more about climate change, ecological issues and most importantly to find out what we can actually do about it. We are hoping that by having conversations about it, learning more, spreading the word and leading by example then others will follow. And of course, the best place to start is at home.


We have started by taking some small pledges to ourselves about making changes in our lifestyle. One of these is to reduce our use of single use plastics. The recent programme The War on Plastic with Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall was quite an eye opener on this if you still need convincing. I stopped putting fruit and veg in plastic bags at the supermarket quite a while ago... yes I am that irritating woman in front of you trying to balance and weigh six loose apples as they roll off the scales. I stopped myself asking a man why he was putting his bananas in a plastic bag the last time I was there... but then afterwards I thought why didn't I say something. Probably because you never know how someone might react... You need to be brave to be an eco-warrior! 

But something I have continued to use is cling film. So when the last roll ran out I vowed never to buy another and instead I invested in some beeswax wraps. They are not especially cheap (This pack of three from Lakeland were almost £20) but they are re-usable, lasting for up to a year and when  eventually they cannot be used any more they are compostable. I know I probably could make my own but I really don't have the time, however I have found another supplier BeeBee Wraps who are a small local business (local to us in Cambridge) that I really like the look of, so I intend to order some more from them as they worked really well for wrapping Stewart's sandwiches. Apparently they are not good for wrapping meat but we don't eat meat at home at all so it's not a problem for us... and anyway reducing meat consumption is one of the biggest things you can to to reduce your carbon footprint. But that will be a subject for a whole other post.


The second pledge I have taken is to join in with Oxfam's Second Hand September, and not buy any new clothing for the whole of September. To be perfectly honest this isn't such a big deal as I don't really buy that many new clothes so to forgo for just 30 days is no great sacrifice. So instead, my friend and I have pledged to do it for a whole year starting on the 1st September. Given that the UK alone sends 11 million items of clothing to landfill every week this could make a real difference if enough people signed up. Are you willing to join us?


I will try to give regular updates here on how we are managing but the idea is no new clothing, except what we make ourselves (but that also means no new fabrics bought either in my case... just using what I have). Everything else will need to be sourced from charity shops, or altered and mended. Except underwear... I think I draw the line at second hand knickers!

I would love to know your hints and tips for what you are doing to live for a more sustainable future.

13 comments:

  1. Luckily ( or not some might say) things come out of my mouth before I consider whether I'm brave or not ... a girl came out of a shop in front of me last week and proceeded to drop her till receipt on the ground, I said excuse me and asked her to put it in the bin, she did exactly what I asked of her!
    I haven't used cling film in 18 months now, I used containers with lids for the fridge etc. and I save paper bags from bakeries etc (cereal bags are good too) for sandwiches, scones etc for lunches.

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  2. This year I bought some clothes in Carrefour, somewhere in France, the first I have bought for about 20 years or more other than shoes.

    I don't know when I last used cling film, small leftover items are stored in jamjars, larger quantities in my old and much used plastic storage boxes. I don't drive any more and can't recall when I last cooked meat though I do eat a little when at my parner's house because he will have cooked it - though he usually cooks fish for me. It is a dilemma, this plastics quandary; we can but do our bit and hope that, collectively, we can make a difference.

    I have just looked at your Pub, it is a wonderful place to go and the food looks very good too. I must tell my partner about it for when we go on a 'wander around the lanes'.

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  3. I think we are all realising about plastic.Here in Wales we started no free plastic bags in supermarkets.Very quickly everyone adapted.Every little counts.

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    1. Absolutely. Every single action we can take will help.

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  4. You seem to have found yourself a lovely community to become part of.
    I have started using bees wax wrap and have also begun to take my own reusable plastic bags and containers when I do a supermarket shop. I put everything through the checkout then spend a few minutes taking off all the plastic packaging and putting the food into my own containers. The staff are very cooperative when I hand the unwanted packaging in at the customer service counter and I think a growing number of shoppers are doing this. I found The War on Plastic programme to be fascinating and worrying in equal measure. It is up to us all to do whatever we can to improve things.

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    1. Is your 'unwanted packaging' going to be recycled by the shop? Or straight to landfill? That doesn't feel like a solution to me. Supporting any unpackaged products works for me.

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  5. the apples - I am reusing my stash of flimsy bags. Our usual supermarket weighs at the till - so no confusing unrecylable labels. Another option is to make a drawstring bag of mesh fabric - almost weightless and convenient to use (produce bags can be bought, but you sew, might even have some suitable leftover fabric?)

    Our Neighbourhood Farm shop uses plastic basins as 'baskets' then they weigh at the till ... and into my shopping bag.

    Maybe if you have enough interested people your village could support a Zero Waste shop? Ours are multiplying steadily. We have choices in neighbouring suburbs too.

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  6. I sometimes miss village life and your post has reminded me of just that. How lovely to join interest groups with like minded people. I am fighting a losing battle with reducing plastic waste - I seem to be the only one in the family who cares. I have mesh bags for loose fruit, which is quite handy and where possible I buy soft fruit in cardboard punnets. We have two tiny pieces of clingfilm, which are covering my fruit fly trap. I am a bit crazy, I made beeswax wraps. It is easy but time consuming. I make them because my boys keep losing them, which makes commercial ones not a good option. Anyway, all just a drop in the big sea but I believe strongly that every little helps. Have a good week xx

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    1. P.S. Apologies for not replying to your email. I only just remembered now (life is a little challenging at the moment). Thank you so much for writing xx

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  7. I bought some thin cotton bags for supermarket veg, then used some muslin and French Seams to make some for a friend. It was a quickie gift so forgot to photo. Personally I use bar soap in the shower again (can’t stand the bar shampoo though, but it did give it a good go) and I buy hand soap in a huge 5litre container (still plastic sadly) to refill the pump dispensers rather than keep buying new. Saves a fortune too. My hairdresser is starting to do product refills too as they buy them in huge containers. Every little helps.

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  8. I haven't bought cling film for years but am guilty of using aluminium foil at times. We do use plastic storage boxes for sandwiches and to store food in the fridge but some are already breaking. Up to now I've used cereal bags in my artwork as drop sheets but I'll have to think about using them for food. My worry about that is whether it is hygienic. I'll look into the beeswax wraps. I'll take the pledge not to buy new clothes other than undies.

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  9. Hi Gina, love this post! At the girls' school we have had a couple of swap shops instead of buying new clothes, wellies, books and toys. You take a couple of bags and if you like take an approx equivalent amount home, anything remaining goes to the charity shop for recycling.......might help you make the years target if you need something!!

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  10. Sounds like you're embracing village life and putting down roots. Similar efforts here to do our bit towards saving the planet. Know what you mean about the challenges of going into full-on eco warrior mode. I was offered the chance to do training (!) but had to be agree to be prepared to be arrested/detained/imprisoned. As someone with severe claustrophobia, I had to decline. Didn't think my request to leave the cell door open would go down at all well!

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I love getting your comments and I love to read what you have to say so thank you for taking the time! I reply when I can by email... or if you are a no reply blogger, then I sometimes post a reply in the comments.