Now, in the new year 2020 and only 10 years away from the IPCC recommended 2030 for cutting our global emissions to reduce catastrophic warming, it is the perfect time reflect on what environmentally friendly changes we have already made in our lives, and how we can make further changes to continue to reduce our environmental impact.
Personally, I am proud of what I have achieved in 2019, and I am looking at making further changes which will have minimal impact on how I live day to day. I am fully aware that in an ideal world my life would look something like Colin Bevan’s “No Impact Man”(Book Review: No Impact Man) , but some of what he managed to achieve does not fit in with my work, or with the location in which I live. Therefore, I am happy to make all the changes I can, and accept that it will not be perfect, but it will be better than doing nothing.
- Reduction in personal plastic consumption by switching to a milkman, buying from a refill shop, buying from local sellers such as butchers and green grocers.
- Reduction in chemical usage by changing to natural cleaning agents such as vinegar, and swapping to soap and shampoo bars.
- Protecting marine life by researching and using reef-friendly sunscreen.
- Staring a compost bin to reduce methane emissions from landfill.
- Ensuring my energy supplier was still the greenest option for my usage.
- Conscious clothes shopping, buying mainly secondhand or buying organic well made items.
- Reducing the amount of meat I eat by making vegetarian meals a couple of times a week.
- Up-cycling clothing for myself and my family.
- Consciously buying and wrapping gifts at Christmas.
- Spreading eco-living tips via starting this blog and conversations with friends and family.
2019 Unsuccessful Enterprises
- Cycling to work, this seemed like an easy win as I have a very short commute, however I work long shifts and it was just not feasible for me to cycle after finishing a long day late at night. I have therefore gone back to driving in.
- Using the train, 2 out of 5 of my train journeys this year have been unsuccessful. Firstly, strike action took place last minute on one of the journeys, meaning a 2 hour train would then take 6 with multiple changes. Secondly, I looked into getting the eurostar into the alps for skiing, which the website advertises with prices from £75 ……. the price we got quoted was actually quadruple that of a flight and therefore took making the journey by train out of our budget.
- Growing my own vegetables, unfortunately my garden is small and just doesn’t get enough sunlight, so nothing grew very well.
- Further reduce my plastic waste by making my own yogurts.
- Experiment with oat milk (I have always been quite weary of dairy substitutes, but as dairy has a notable carbon footprint I would like to try and reduce what I use).
- Try fruit and veg boxes from the milkman, I often feel guilty about having to drive to get my local, non-packaged veg, as the milkman is already delivering to us we may as well reduce that carbon footprint by getting more delivered.
- Get involved in local initiatives and actions to help other people reduce their carbon footprint.
- Try and find an “better” denim, whether it be second hand or from organic cotton etc, as my jeans are now beyond repair.
- Planning an eco-friendly holiday, reducing travel emissions, researching places to stay that are run on renewable energy, eating locally when I am away.
If anyone else has had great achievements in 2019, or has some brilliant ideas for 2020 I would love to hear them. To become a more environmentally friendly society we are going to need to work together, spreading ideas and encouragement, so we may as well start now!