We hear a lot about global warming these days, and the dire consequences of doing nothing about it, since it is a man-made problem. However, it can leave us feeling powerless to make a difference, since it seems to be up to governments to change their policies.
We forget that global warming is a direct consequence of the pollution caused by our emissions, which come from the never-ending increase in producing ‘stuff’ and using our energy sources.
Every single one of us can make a difference by our own practices, and it is not hard to do. Many people already recycle, because there are now kerbside collections in many areas. If you don’t, do! We have no kerbside collections here, but we do have recycling facilities next to the supermarket, and it is not hard to put stuff on one side and take it down when you go shopping.
And remember that:
- Paper includes envelopes, documents, letters, magazines etc., not just newspapers.
- Card includes all those boxes that our food comes in, cereal boxes, pizza boxes etc.
- Glass includes the jars we get, not just wine and beer bottles.
The other form of recycling is ensuring that everything you throw out is really worn out. Charity shops will take clothes and books and bric-a-brac that are in good condition, which you just don’t want any more. And in most areas there is a homeless charity that will take electrical goods if they are in reasonable nick.
Finally, if you have a garden, do put your waste veg and fruit on a compost heap. It improves your soil no end, and is easy to manage.
Then there is the reduction of waste through using less. This is not about depriving yourself – it is more about being conscious of what you are doing.
- A shower uses so much less water than a bath, so keep the baths to a minimum.
- And turn the tap off while you brush your teeth, and only turn it on again to rinse your mouth.
- Take your own carrier bags to the supermarket, or buy one of the ‘bags for life’ most of them are now selling.
- And turn down that extra carrier bag or plastic bag when you are shopping and put your purchases in the other bags you have.
Why should we bother?
When I was in India, I noticed that people were really good at recycling. Their motivation was probably more immediate – when everything is precious to you, and you don’t have the money to replace easily, you use things more carefully, and more imaginatively! Most of us are not in that situation.
Our immediate world may not be in crisis, but the world in general is. We are running out of energy and water, and our everyday lives are beginning to be affected by the overall global warming. We may be able to live with it now, but what about our children, and their children?
And when it is easy to make a difference, it gives us a way of feeling that we are contributing to the solution instead of the problem – always a good feeling!
If you would like to find out more about the causes and effects of global warming, or how to make a difference as an individual, go to: www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/waste/issues/reduce_reuse_recycle/