How many shoes does the girl need?

A photo of a pile of women's shoes

Late November, I’m caught in a downpour in Dundee and find myself in the Overgate. I look around me at all the Christmas decorations, the advertisements for Black Friday and I feel sick. Really, I do. I feel bleak and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff around me. But I calm down and think, thank goodness, I can discuss this with my Carbon Conversation group on Sunday. They will understand my feelings and talk me through them!

There was a paradigm shift for me at this particular CC. I had always prided myself in being a conscientious recycler but the real problem, it seems, is at the production/extracting resources side of things. In short, be careful what you buy in the first place! It made me think about my own spending/Christmas habits and I made an effort to reduce my Christmas card list amongst those whom I thought would understand my motives. Charity shops in our area are fabulous places to visit: real bargains to be had and with a clear conscious.

I was quite well, I don’t know how to explain the emotion; angry, shocked, felt manipulated when I heard the phrase ‘planned obsolescence’. This was new to me – how naïve am I? Of course, IT companies are the main culprits here and I had an instance of it recently with my 4-year-old ipad when I tried to download a particular app. Nope, too old! I was reminded of my dear, old dad who prided himself in his 43-year-old washing machine. I doubt if you’d get that length of service from any electrical product today, certainly not your iphone.

‘Stuff’ can be a bit overwhelming, so again, with the help of the group I narrowed it down to a few manageable changes that work for me. And I guess it’s important to say, that, even within the CC group, what works for me, might not be same for the other members. Although we obviously share the same basic concerns about CO2 emissions, everyone is on a different path with what they feel they can act on.

Our February Carbon Conversations are starting soon in Tayport and Newport. Get in touch with Kaska to make your booking now at or 07446231073! For more information see


  1. Really enjoyed this blog Kathleen. My plan this year is to buy as little as possible and really think about any purchases I feel I have to make.

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