Stepping out of my car comfort zone

So, here’s the background to my love affair with cars. I grew up on an isolated farm in the North East of Scotland. With infrequent public transport and miles to walk to it, the only way to get about – other than a tractor – was by car, so, I made sure that as soon as I was 17, I passed my driving test. Next, I had to save up enough money to buy my own car and that took a good couple of years! This car came to represent my freedom and independence and allowed me to go anywhere I wanted, whenever I wanted. I have never been without a car since. I could add personal safety and job opportunities to the list of reasons why I was so resistant to giving up my car even for the sake of saving the planet!

But, as I was learning, Carbon Conversations is not about dogma or denial, it’s about looking at your beliefs and making small, manageable changes within the support of the CC group. It was the first time I’d come across a strategy called, Force field analysis. I found this a great tool for getting to grips with this thorny topic. (In fact, I think this problem-solving approach works for loads of issues, not just CC ones!) I deconstructed my concerns about public transport and made a commitment to have one car free day per week.

And what a revelation! I discovered that Tayport has a great bus service to Dundee and friendly folk to chat to at the bus stop. My first, and subsequent journeys, have been stress free and relaxing experiences. If you’ve got this far in the blog, you might be thinking, well, that’s not much of a change but for me, it’s been a huge shift in mindset. As part of my ‘home plan’ for the longer term, as a family, we are thinking of giving up one of our cars and moving to a hybrid. New complications however arise with the birth of a granddaughter in New-Zealand. I’m parking that discussion for another Carbon Conversation.

Energy Saving Trust Scotland is running an Electric Vehicle Roadshow in Dundee in early March – a great way to find out more about electric cars and even test drive one! You can book a spot through this link.

The next round of Carbon Conversations, Tayport Community Garden’s 5-step program to a greener you,  is starting in February. We will be running two groups – one based at Tayport and the other at Newport. For more information see

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