Sunday, 27 September 2009

10:10 challenge

Cut your personal carbon footprint by 10% in 2010 says the Guardian's 10:10 challenge. The trouble with being early adopters is that we've been doing all the obvious and easy green footprint-shrinking stuff for years. Should we have delayed, so we could claim the brownie points now its just become trendy?

It comes as a shock to see cabinet ministers pledging now to change their light bulbs to low-energy -- we've had the low energy bulbs longer than we can remember. Is this country really run by people so dozy that they haven't even managed that kindergarten-level step in environmental responsibility? At least the Tory front bench managed rather more ambitious pledges that suggest they've moved beyond the basics. Signing up last year with the London Green Concierge service to get the house insulation sorted out means we can't use that as our 10:10 pledge. We've never run a car so can't give that up. We grow-our-own fruit and veg in back garden and allotment, with surplus veg going into Tottenham Food Co-op (last Fri and Sat each month at Broadwater Farm) and spare plants supplying the Wards Corner Campaign fundraising plant stall at local events. On non-Food Co-op weekends, our regular shop is at the Stoke Newington organic farmers market (run by Growing Communities) and at the Fresh & Wild ethical supermarket across the road from it.

Four things we've identified to still further shrink our carbon-prints:

1) Replace old fridge-freezer with new A-rated fridge-freezer. Trying to find a replacement that gives us plenty of freezer space for storing seasonal gluts from the allotment (especially the luxury of our own raspberries, strawberries and blackberries with winter muesli) shows up just how uninformative is the internet info on fridge-freezer models available -- almost none actually show just what the internal storage space looks like. We spotted a Beko 11.2 cu ft model with five freezer drawers at Currys on our first casual recce -- which had vanished next trip, and neither it nor any other five-freezer drawers model has showed up on internet searches...

2) JN to stop falling asleep in front of computer, TV etc leaving lights and AV appliances blazing away all night long. This would also require cutting his booze-miles intake...

3) Switch to a 100% renewable energy supplier like Good Energy or Eco-tricity -- we are already on the 'green tariff' of our mainstream provider, but that's just a halfway measure.

4) Cut holiday travel: we've already switched to taking Eurostar to explore France, rather than signing up for trips that involve a flight. But in 2010, we will be committing air travel to Australia, combining catch up with my family and a world SF convention. We will of course offset against the emissions -- by donating to an international development organisation like Practical Action, Tree Aid or Water Aid that work directly with African communities on self-reliance that helps deal with the damage that climate instability is already inflicting. Committing air travel at all is a mortal sin, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...

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