Your adaptations

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Your adaptations

Postby gtw » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:31 am

So having said I don't bang on about climate change so much these days, here I am doing precisely that. But what I wondered was the degree to which people had been successful making carbon-useful changes to lifestyle, and the areas you still struggle with, maybe feel a little guilty about and know you could go further.

Me? I'm a meat reducer, but haven't cut it out completely. Only occasionally eat red meat (its a treat), but still eat chicken, turkey and fish, which have about a third of the footprint of lamb or half of beef. Don't eat much cheese, and would happily switch out milk if I was convinced I was buying a 'veg' milk that wasn't also eco-harmful (which I understand almond and soya can be, for example). I understand oat milk is good in that respect but can't really find it locally.

I still fly, but try not to. There have been years where we haven't, but our holiday this autumn will see us fly, and it tends to be one flight a year. Flights I feel guilty about generally so I do try to 'offset' by donating monthly to Woodland Trust, but that's a very rough and approximate mitigation.

I don't have a car so travel almost exclusively by public transport or foot. Have swapped all bulbs for LED. Buy 100% green electricity, and our gas boiler uses gas which has had some kind of green trading jiggery pokery applied to it.

I'm pretty good I think on the conscious consumption side. Not buying crap I don't need for the sake of it, not taking free newspapers I will glance at for a few minutes and so on. Could still go further though. Try to buy seasonal fruit and veg but my one weakness is all year round blueberries.
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby pomfob » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:26 am

Doing a lot of that too Gary. Veggie for 30+ years, so that's not a problem. if the vegans could put a bit more effort into sorting out decent cheese substitutes and a little less going on about how awful the meat industry is (I know, y'know?), then I'd be moving their way.

Oat milk is in most supermarkets (up here, anyway). I found the taste a bit too strong, so I go with soya milk - not perfect, but reducing dairy consumption.

Recently started doing most of the laundry at 30 degrees - no difference noticed at all, so I'd recommend that.

Try to avoid flying as much as I can, iLiKETRAiNS and all. Might actually manage the full Leeds - Barcelona round trip for Primavera Sound next year by train, if the French rail workers don't go on strike (solidarity comrades, but that was a pain in the arse).

Oh yeah, don't drive, so always public transport. And no kids. Could do more, always open to suggestions - will look into the LEDs for lightbulbs thing.
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby Blackout » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:13 am

Much like yourself have not eaten a corpse for 30 years and am utterly baffled that people consider gnawing on putrefaction a "treat" but there you go. I have always been more of an environmental vegetarian than a "ickle fwuffy animals" one, a position for which I was patronised and mocked even by other green / left people as recently as about 10 years ago (well, a specific one, at work; these days he's quite green-preachy so I'm biding my time to remind him). I'm not vegan and I know I should be but that's more about the animals than the earth, so I let myself off (while reducing my consumption) because frankly I can't bring myself to give as much of a fuck about cows as much as I do the whole planet being incinerated. We cook largely from scratch, reducing waste and packaging, and at least partly on a seasonal theme.

Almost 20 years ago we deliberately chose to buy a flat specifically designed for low energy consumption, and we're still there, and the money we've saved on energy bills over the years has been ace.

I fly sometimes and sort of "allow" myself up to two flights a year, my last one was a one-way to Prague for the May 2017 tour, the rest of which was all train, and I'm still mildly pissed off with myself for that but was reluctant to use an extra day holiday that early in the year to get there overland, ended up with days left at the end of the year too but couldn't predict that in May (elderly parents means always ensuring you have some leave available). I prefer to travel by train to anywhere feasible anyway. Which includes Barcelona. Last year's hastily rearranged bonkers schedule caused by the SNCF strike was a bit stressful but even that had its moments - being literally the only passengers waiting in the massive Valence-TGV station for the one train that day (a Spanish RENFE service so doesn't count as scabbing) was really quite bizarre... and we still made the first band :)

I owned a car until 2013. Then the gods of Metrolink gave us trams. The car failed its MOT in a "cost more to repair than it's worth" manner about six weeks after the Oldham line opened, so I didn't bother. I have been late to work about once a year since then because of tram issues, compared to about 10-15 times a year previously due to traffic or car issues. We are members of a city car club and I can have a car or van in seconds if I need one. It's a win-win. Pre-2013, there was no suitable public transport to get me to work - we don't all live in super-connected London. The nearest train station to work was secluded and little-used, and on more than one of the few occasions I did have to get a train from there I saw evidence that it was unsafe (an empty wallet in the bushes indicating it and its owner had been relieved of its contents, that sort of thing - and while the stranger-in-the-shadows rapist is less common than most people think they DO still exist). This is why when a male Londoner reacted to my previous (1997-2006) car expiring by excitedly telling me I could be greener now, I had to go outside and cry.

On which subject, I think we all need to be super-aware that being preachy-preachy is not only really annoying but does have to take into account the circumstances of the person we're talking to. Would I advise my friend who is the mother of two autistic teens to get rid of her car because the buses round her way are really reliable and you can walk to a mainline station in half an hour from her place? Er, no. Have I convinced her that when she's coming to ours on her own without them that she's best off walking to said station and getting the train? Yep.

Similarly, while I do believe that as relatively affluent consumers we should do our bit, I read somewhere that 70% of global carbon emissions are caused by 100 specific corporations. The late Scott Hutchison may have said "make tiny changes on earth" but to be honest earth needs some bigger changes right now. Of course I sometimes wonder if we are just pissing in the wind to feel better, but I've always preferred to minimise my being "part of the problem" (whatever it is). I'd never have a go at someone on limited income jetting off on a charter flight to their annual two weeks of sun-soaked escape from drudgery, but if you earn a professional salary and think it's in any way acceptable to fly from London to Glasgow or Amsterdam for your weekend break / social event (specific exception obviously for people whose working hours have zero flexibility, eg the teacher in Bristol who needs to be in Dundee Saturday morning for a wedding) then yes, I will call you out on it.

Equally, if you are doing things, don't feel too guilty about what you don't do. Guilt is a complete waste of life - if you care that much, change it; if you don't, don't sweat it. Enjoy your blueberries GTW, you've earned them.
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby TheAlex » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:38 pm

I may be worse for one reason. I used to cycle to work every day, but now I work 35 miles from home and public transport is too often unreliable, though I do 12 miles of the journey by car and the rest by train. I suppose I do only go into the office 2 or 3 days a week, but then again I regularly drive 100-mile round trips for gigs, often on my own (I'd prefer train, but they don't run late enough). I walk or cycle for shorter journeys, whereas I used to drive more often.

Some of my lifestyle choices work environmentally. I take longer holidays, rather than shorter ones (e.g. a month-long trip this year vs 2 or 3 flights for shorter trips ten years ago). I'm lucky to get that sort of time off work, though to an extent I've worked hard for it (even that wouldn't give the opportunity for everyone). I take a water filter overseas vs buying bottled drinks.

I'm not a big meat-eater and I've never been a big consumer of anything but CDs, and I've cut those down significantly. I probably buy around ten a year now, which saddens me because I do like to support musicians and other art. I use an 18-year-old old car, which helps. It still does 50mpg. I hated the government scam that gave people £1000+ to replace their "polluting old car" with a "clean" new one. Why would people think they need to educate themselves on something like that though? It's like biofuels - the fuel still has to be grown, which uses masses of water, let's clear a load of forest to grow it, still has a big carbon footprint and takes food away from people who actually need it (to eat). And replacing plastics isn't as simple as it sounds - plastic alone shouldn't be the target.

I'm annoyed - this is what this subject does to me! Change needs to come from the top. We've this outdated system where the economy (and businesses) need to grow every year or else be a failure. It encourages rampant consumerism, which is one of the things me of little knowledge thinks could have one of the biggest positive impacts on climate change, if it was reduced. I'm amazed what crap I buy these days, that's supposed to be high quality. I've had three £250 Terra Nova tents fail on me (four if you include the one I was told was damaged at the warehouse), whereas the £100 tent I bought about 15 years ago is still going strong, despite standing up to crazy weather. The Terra Nova tents have been replaced at no monetary cost, but it doesn't do much for carbon footprints.

These days I put a fleece on instead of the heating, so I'm doing a little bit there. I still wear the same clothes I did 15 years ago - literally, in many cases! I'm having a clear out at the moment and it's depressing there's nowhere to recycle old DVDs, cassettes and CDs plus cases. It's a pain to buy things without unnecessary packaging - trying to be environmentally friendly isn't easy in many ways.

Apologies for turning some of that into a rant. The whole thing annoys me and governments do nothing. The latest projections from the recent meeting of whoever it was are based on a carbon capture technology that doesn't even exist as an industry yet. We can go on polluting based on speculation that something may work. There I go again, but it does help keep it it fresh in my mind!
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby gtw » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:14 am

Thanks for responding and being so engaged and passionate everyone. I agree that SO much more needs to be done at the top (be that global companies or government) but honestly do subscribe to the belief that we all have to do our bit also - which can be tough, especially given the sense of pissing in the wind, but try we must.

Do people think that a personal carbon allowance might be the way forward? With tradeable credits, so people could make money by selling their surplus? I suppose this would need to be done at every level - government, companies, local authorities etc and individuals. Its the fairest way of doing it, otherwise it will always be galling to try your best while you see the neighbours driving a humvee and flying to Dubai to do a bit of shopping every two months.
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby pomfob » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:24 am

gtw wrote:Thanks for responding and being so engaged and passionate everyone. I agree that SO much more needs to be done at the top (be that global companies or government) but honestly do subscribe to the belief that we all have to do our bit also - which can be tough, especially given the sense of pissing in the wind, but try we must.

Do people think that a personal carbon allowance might be the way forward? With tradeable credits, so people could make money by selling their surplus? I suppose this would need to be done at every level - government, companies, local authorities etc and individuals. Its the fairest way of doing it, otherwise it will always be galling to try your best while you see the neighbours driving a humvee and flying to Dubai to do a bit of shopping every two months.


It's a possibility, but people still have trouble sorting out which bin to put their recycling in - and indeed what can or can't be recycled. So I reckon PCAs would need a lot of education first.

PS - I made a bit of a crack about vegans in my first post. I'd just like to clarify that wasn't aimed at anyone here - some of my family went vegan a few years ago and ever since have been clogging up Facebook with endless variations on 'stop being mean to the likkle animals' posts. Bit fed up of it, tbh. I fucking know the meat & dairy industry is bad.
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby Den* » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:50 am

On the subject of Oat milk, my I recommend a new fangled variation, which is Oat milk plus a bit of Soy. Sometimes referred to as a 'Barista' (yuck!) version, the Soy gives the oats a nice bit of creaminess and means it copes perfectly well with steaming, and also general cooking, which is brill. (I'm in it for the cows as much as the planet - having nursed a baby, I now find the whole business of milking really abhorrent. Puts me right off me tea etc. Sorry Pomfob!)
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby TheAlex » Fri Oct 12, 2018 12:38 am

gtw wrote:Thanks for responding and being so engaged and passionate everyone. I agree that SO much more needs to be done at the top (be that global companies or government) but honestly do subscribe to the belief that we all have to do our bit also - which can be tough, especially given the sense of pissing in the wind, but try we must.

Do people think that a personal carbon allowance might be the way forward? With tradeable credits, so people could make money by selling their surplus? I suppose this would need to be done at every level - government, companies, local authorities etc and individuals. Its the fairest way of doing it, otherwise it will always be galling to try your best while you see the neighbours driving a humvee and flying to Dubai to do a bit of shopping every two months.

Yes - it's a pleasure to read what others are doing to help. And it all helps. I do ridiculous things like rip off a tiny bit of tissue if that's all I need - so I have to tell myself it all helps. ;)

I don't think a personal carbon allowance is the way forward. It's making another billion pound industry out of something that doesn't actually exist. Carbon trading already exists between countries, so rich countries like the UK can pollute more and buy credits from countries like Costa Rica who look impressively green compared to the rest of the world. I think it'd lead to the rich being able to pollute more, whereas poorer people may struggle to stay under the limit. Look at how much pollution some 'developing' (I'm not a fan of that term) countries produce. We've had the advantage of the Industrial Revolution in that sense.

I don't think recycling is the answer either. We need to slow down our consumption. Recycling uses resources and adds to pollution, and plastic (if it can be recycled in the first place) only has a certain number of lifecycles before it can't be recycled again. There's even plastic in some of the paper we put in our recycling bins. I read somewhere that our local council can't recycle a whole batch of something if it's contaminated by one object. I don't know if that's true, but it wouldn't surprise me. They only recycle what they can make money from.
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby pomfob » Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:12 am

TheAlex wrote:I don't think recycling is the answer either. We need to slow down our consumption. Recycling uses resources and adds to pollution, and plastic (if it can be recycled in the first place) only has a certain number of lifecycles before it can't be recycled again. There's even plastic in some of the paper we put in our recycling bins. I read somewhere that our local council can't recycle a whole batch of something if it's contaminated by one object. I don't know if that's true, but it wouldn't surprise me. They only recycle what they can make money from.


The mantra is reduce, re-use, recycle - recycling is the last option, not the first.
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby TheAlex » Fri Oct 12, 2018 7:51 pm

pomfob wrote:
TheAlex wrote:I don't think recycling is the answer either. We need to slow down our consumption. Recycling uses resources and adds to pollution, and plastic (if it can be recycled in the first place) only has a certain number of lifecycles before it can't be recycled again. There's even plastic in some of the paper we put in our recycling bins. I read somewhere that our local council can't recycle a whole batch of something if it's contaminated by one object. I don't know if that's true, but it wouldn't surprise me. They only recycle what they can make money from.


The mantra is reduce, re-use, recycle - recycling is the last option, not the first.

I'm vaguely aware of that one.

At the top of our local council recycling bumpf it says "Recycle more each week!" By appearances of the recycling logo it says "Recycle more!"

The only way to recycle more is to consume more!
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby SPT » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:14 am

From time to time I consider going veggie, for this reason alone. It is clearly the sensible choice. I fear meat eating is destined to remain one of my few self-indulgences.

On the other hand. I've not been on a plane in 10 years and I cycle everywhere that it's physically possible (for me...).
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby gtw » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:48 pm

Announced myself to be an avi-pescatarian at the weekend. Not perfect, but works for me.
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby Blackout » Tue Oct 16, 2018 1:55 pm

Had to google what that even was.

My refusal to eat fish dates back long before vegetarianism and environmentalism, so it's never been something I had to think about. If you'd had the intestinal experience I did once in my mid teens you wouldn't go near the dirty fuckers either :)
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby Rake » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:07 pm

Personally I subscribe to the view that we are well past the tipping point that will inevitably lead to catastrophic climate and other environmental and social changes within the next generation or two. Having said that, I still do a fair bit of pissing in the wind myself, if only to ease my own conscience a little from time-to-time or for other personal or ethical reasons. I am and am likely to remain a confirmed meat and dairy consumer, due to a mix of personal health / nutritional reasons, but also because I don't have the moral urge to do otherwise. I fully respect those who feel differently though, and I do try to consume more ethically when it comes to meat and dairy, and I have cut down overall meat consumption (easily over 50% of my meals don't contain any meat now). I don't want to start too much of a spat on this, as I know how these arguments can go, but I have to say that one thing that gets my goat (sorry) about some of the more militant vegetarian and vegans arguments is this idea that we can all just 'adapt', 'diversify' and 'offer the people what they (should, according to us) want'. Try telling a Welsh hill farmer that he can stop relying on sheep to earn a living where literally nothing else grows / survives.

'Good' stuff I currently do:

Use as little water as possible by bathing less (poo!), not flushing number 1s every time, measuring out cups of water rather than just randomly filling pans and kettles.
Use washable and reusable cloths, towels etc rather than disposable ones
Reuse bags, foil, paper etc wherever possible
Buy mostly organic food and drink
Don't fly
Use public transport when on my own (Mrs.Rake drives when we're together mostly, though we both try and walk where possible and use more public transport together than we used to)
Bought reusable cups to use at take aways / take own bags and containers to take aways to have stuff put in
Don't use the central heating as much / use log burner more (double-edged sword that last bit I know)
Can't have kids so that one's by-the-by, pretty sure I'd have chosen not to anyway though, mainly for selfish reasons
In my capacity at work I campaign for and implement us much reuse, ditching of single use materials etc, and other energy-saving initiatives as possible
Try not to buy anything plastic if alternatives are available

Sure there's more but that'll do for now.
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Re: Your adaptations

Postby Blackout » Wed Oct 17, 2018 8:40 am

Rake wrote: Try telling a Welsh hill farmer that he can stop relying on sheep to earn a living where literally nothing else grows / survives.


He is a microscopic minority of meat producers and he isn't the problem, and as there will always be people who enjoy eating meat he can and indeed should continue to supply them. In terms of anything we "consume", food or otherwise, the supply chain is far more relevant environmentally than the single end product. Your farmer is as different from an intensive beef factory as your local nice independent home cooking from fresh ingredients cafe is from McDonalds. From an environmental point of view only - which is what this thread was about - eating such naturally produced meat is perfectly ethical. I have an otherwise vegan friend who happily eats the eggs of her own very well looked after chickens / ducks. Go to a farmer's market or transparent supply chain butcher. If this makes people's Sunday roast more expensive then they should pause to consider why the Sunday roast is a thing in the first place - before factory scale production most peoeple could only afford meat once a week. unfortunately for every environmentally ethical meat eater there are millions who unquestioningly eat mass produced flesh stuffed full of hormones, antibiotics and (especially once we've left the EU and are at the mercy of barely existent US trading standards) god knows what else, while said Welsh hill farmer struggles to compete at market with Sheepco Inc. despite his lamb being 100 times better.
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