Inspired by our climate change/carbon neutral Christmas ideas at the PLANT’s Christmas decoration workshop in December, I thought I should look at some New-Year resolutions that might reduce my carbon footprint in 2018.
- Extend my veggie patch: I had such success with growing my own vegetables last year that I plan to extend the area in my garden for growing vegetables and soft fruit. With invaluable advice from our community gardener, Peter, and the support of other veggie growers, I enjoyed bumper crops of potatoes, leeks, onions, parsley, black currants and red currants. This year I want to add carrots, parsnips and beetroot and I also plan to add a gooseberry bush to my flower border.
- I’m going to try and buy local produce wherever possible. I love blueberry pancakes but refuse to buy blueberries from Peru. Instead, I took some local frozen rasps out of the freezer and made delicious pancakes with them. I’m determined, however big a hurry I’m in, to look carefully at the label and think ‘air miles’ before anything goes in my shopping basket. We are lucky in Tayport to have some great jam and preserve makers who make good use of the glut of fruit and berries in the area. I always buy their lovely produce at local fairs and this year I’m going to have a go at some home preserves myself.
- I’m already a vegetarian and, long before any research proved that it is one of the most important differences anyone can make to the planet, I adopted this lifestyle. In the early days it was really hard to eat out and get decent vegetarian food but now there’s a better range of options for non-meat eaters. The Vegetarian Society run a campaign called, Meat Free Mondays, so why not try that out, at least? Me, I’ll be trying to reduce my cow’s milk and dairy intake. If anyone knows of a good substitute for milk in coffee, please let me know!
- Another garden project – a rain barrel. I was really surprised by how many times I had to water the South facing part of my garden last summer – despite it being a seemingly wet year. So no more chlorinated water in the ground and I’ll fill up my bird baths with rainwater too.
- I’m making little changes around the house: I’m giving up paper napkins. The local Tayport charity shop has some lovely linen table napkins. Just throw them in the washing machine and re-use. Ditto paper hankies. They are going from my house and instead, I have a super selection of cotton ones sourced at, you’ve guessed it, the Tayport charity shop.
- I was fed up with putting flyers and other paper advertising straight in the recycle bin so after some investigation, I discovered there’s a very simple ‘Opt out’ form on the Royal Mail website which can be easily accessed.
- I’ve all but given up on wrapping paper for gifts. Maybe my friends are too polite to say when I explain my reasoning but no one has complained and besides, a beautiful flower or leaf tied with string around the present is more personal.
I’ll stop there because I think those are realistic changes I can make. I would love to say I will be giving up my car but honestly, I simply couldn’t do that. However, I will seriously be thinking about a hybrid/electric car the next time I need to buy a new one. Please do let me know what you think of my resolutions and if you have any other good tips to pass on.