Live Simply – and Responsibly!
The NE-CAP Committee have been sharing ideas as to how we can all, at a personal level, reduce the damage we do to the poorest and most vulnerable in the world, and to the planet we all share. In other words, how can we ‘care more for creation’?
This is not to side-line the overriding importance of campaigning (see Appendix 1 below). However, as the Coordinator puts it, “Hypocrites make bad campaigners!”
Our suggestions are summarised below, and we are open to supplementing them with ideas from our supporters – email david.golding[at]ncl.ac.uk.
The Coordinator suggests you give priority to the items underlined below, although all are worthy of your consideration.
Home – Buying and using electricity
- Switch to Ecotricity, a 100% renewable electricity supplier (see Appendix 2, below);
- Fit energy-efficient light fittings;
- When replacing your TV, refrigerator, washing machine, etc., buy the option with the highest possible energy efficiency;
- Fit solar panels on your roof;
- Kettle – add only enough water for immediate use;
- Don’t leave appliances on stand-by;
- Use backed-up computer memory, rather than paper.
Home – Heating
- Bring your home up to the highest possible standard of insulation – contact Energy Saving Trust (0800 512 012) for independent advice on grants and suppliers;
- Fit an energy-efficient boiler, or if possible fit a heat pump;
- Turn thermostat down 2 degrees (and wear a fleece!);
- Draw curtains at dusk;
- Use a shower or the basin, instead of the bath;
- Keep a plastic cup over the hot tap to remind you not to use it when cold water would do (e.g., for rinsing);
- If you use the bath, share the bath water (or the bath!).
Home – Sundry
- Recycle everything you can, even if it means taking it to the supermarket or local authority waste unit. [One of our members uses pieces of old carpet as innersoles for his shoes, and finds them very comfortable!]
- Compost green waste (but don’t include food unless your bin is vermin-proof);
- Store rain water in a butt for garden use, or to wash the car, etc;
- When drawing hot water, store the initially cold water in a jug, rather than wasting it;
- Turn off the tap when cleaning your teeth;
- Instead of new plastic bags, use lunch boxes, or re-use bread bags or cereal bags.
- Avoid air travel as much as possible – it is grossly polluting;
- Minimise use of car – walk, cycle, or use public transport;
- When replacing your car, buy a modest-sized, low-emissions model;
- Try holidaying in the UK (‘staycation’);
- For continental holidays, try making the journeys part of the enjoyment, by combining high-speed rail travel with overnight stays in, for example, Paris or Brussels. [https://www.eurostar.com; http://uk.voyages-sncf.com/en/voyages-sncf]
- Buy certified Fairtrade products wherever possible (e.g., tea, coffee, bananas, sugar, rice);
- Reduce meat consumption, particularly beef, and replace it with vegetables (e.g., lentils, beans) and meat substitutes (e.g., ‘Quorn’);
- Reduce dairy consumption and replace it with vegetable-based products (e.g., soya);
- Don’t buy bottled water – the tap version is produced with far less energy – and is probably safer!
- Don’t waste food!
Appendix 1. Live simply and campaign courageously!
“To relax the pressure [on governments] now, when the fierce urgency of NOW is stronger than ever before, is absolutely the wrong thing to do.” Similarly, “Any amount of action by individuals is not going to solve the problem without government doing the things and taking the responsibility that only it can do… It is absolutely essential that pressure on our leaders to increase commitment and action continues to be applied” (Professor Sir John Houghton FRS, one of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists).
Appendix 2. Ecotricity
“People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu).
Just so, and organisations ranging from the Rockefeller Foundation to the Church of England and the Guardian newspaper are doing just that – withdrawing their investments from companies involved in the production and use of fossil fuels, and switching them to renewables and low-carbon sectors. Among the many reasons this makes good sense, as well as good ethics, is that we now know that most of the fossil fuel reserves already discovered are going to have to be left in the ground, if we’re not to suffer catastrophic and irreversible climate change! So why invest in companies which are ‘hell-bent’ on finding such fuels in ever more sensitive environments (the arctic, for example) and on developing ever more polluting fuel sources (tar sands, for example)?
But what about us, personally? Can we “break our ties with corporations financing climate change” – and do so AT LITTLE OR NO COST TO OURSELVES? Cafod, Christian Aid, Tearfund and Global Justice Now (formerly WDM), which together launched Jubilee 2000 as a major public campaign in 1996, and all of which have supporters on the NE-CAP Committee, are unanimous in their reply:
“Switch you energy supplier to Ecotricity, the 100% renewable energy company!”
Furthermore, since Ecotricity has a partnership arrangement with each of the agencies listed above, it will make a donation to your chosen agency if you ask them to do so when you switch. BUT MAKE SURE YOU ASK!
Ring 08000 302 302, or General Enquiries on 01 453 756 111.
You can learn more about Ecotricity by going to www.ecotricity.co.uk/ – you can switch on-line also, but I can’t see how you can ensure your chosen agency gets its cut if you do so!
[Note: Veronica and I are with ‘Good Energy’, also 100% renewable, and have been for nearly 10 years. I can’t see any good reason for us to switch.]