It’s difficult to decipher the headlines these days, and generally we don’t absorb more of the news than that. We’re too busy and there’s too much “news” thrown out there. Can we piece together the truth from a string of headlines? It’s hard enough to find the truth even with a deeper analysis. What first appears true might be false, and many things are both true and false to some degree. This is clear with the word “renewable”. Renewable energy is considered the holy grail for the future and every time the word “renewable” appears in a headline, it brings with it the sense of being the perfect saviour of the world. However, this isn’t always true, renewable isn’t always good. This is something that has hit me full in the face over the past few months.[Read more…] about Renewable isn’t always good
Less Fossil Fuels
The Power of Less – from Good Energy
The Power or Less – a video from Good Energy
I’ve been a customer of Good Energy for about 5 years now and I have to say they appear to be a good, responsible, renewable energy company. I don’t have any affiliation with them at all, and I’m receiving nothing from them for writing this article (they have no idea I’m writing it). When I saw that they had recently released this short, one-minute video, “The Power of Less”, and that its message was so closely aligned with the sentiment of “Use 10 Percent Less“, I just had to post the video here. It’s only one minute long – please take a look. [Read more…] about The Power of Less – from Good Energy
Buy local to reduce emissions
Remember those old movies where rich families would have exotic fruits from half way around the world that had to be transported on those old ships? In some parts of the world, exotic fruits could be just bananas and oranges. It seemed so decadent for these rich families to have such things. Well, today, we all have exactly these things available in our local supermarket, and we think nothing of it. It’s our right. But the ubiquitous availability of such things is one of the important reasons why our atmosphere is getting so polluted. It’s worth looking to buy local and to eliminate as many things as possible that are shipped great distances.
I’ve been worrying more and more about the energy used to move produce about the world and I’ve taken two steps recently to use 10 percent less, or more.
Farmdrop – buying local produce
I’ve started using the Farmdrop delivery service (I have no affiliation with them at all) because they build agreements with local producers and have a “Sourcing Policy” that starts with “Prioritise Local” and the intention to source within 150 miles where possible and to never use air freight. Their website makes it easy to see where every option comes from and I like that. I now buy only fruits and vegetables that come from nearby counties in the UK and that makes me feel better. We’re currently getting delicious plums, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cheese from local farms, among other things. [Read more…] about Buy local to reduce emissions
Extinction of convenience
The human race today, even in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, is addicted to convenience. It’s this addiction that is bringing us down and, with all likelihood, be the main cause of our extinction. Due to our desire for extreme convenience, we use the resources of the world with gay abandon and create enormous amounts of pollution everywhere. In response to this, the world’s environment has been changing rapidly in recent decades, as if the world is preparing for the extinction of convenience, which includes us. Our only hope is to create an “extinction of convenience” of our own, and eliminate our insatiable desire for endless convenience.
During the current coronavirus pandemic, I see a persistent desire to get back to the ways things were even though there are plenty of fantastic examples of how things could be better. The skies are clearer because there are not many planes flying, pollution from our cities has dropped dramatically, nature in many parts of the world is springing back into action and local communities are becoming stronger all over the world, just to name a few. Do we really want to go back to the way things were? People are worried about the “economy” but we really need to build a new economy rather than simply return to the old one. [Read more…] about Extinction of convenience
Greenpeace versus BP
As you’ll see below, I’ve written a letter to Greenpeace because I didn’t agree with their approach towards BP. I see this quite a bit at the moment where people concerned about the environment target companies that are significantly involved in oil and gas as the culprits who can be blamed. In particular, this attack of Greenpeace versus BP seems particularly vicious (see some example links at the bottom of this page).
However, as you’ll know from my intentions behind “Use 1o Percent Less”, the first point of blame should be directly with us consumers who are using exponentially more energy each year. It is our greed and disregard for the Earth’s resources that we need to tame, and the rest will follow.
See the letter I sent below (click on the images or read the full transcript further down); [Read more…] about Greenpeace versus BP
Our choices can release CO2 – choose wisely
Did you know that the apparently simple choices that we make every day can be leading to increased CO2 emissions? In simple terms, our choices can release CO2. It’s not all about the “big bad fossil fuel companies” as really the whole system relies on our choices, and it’s easy to see this is true.
A new smartphone
When we desire that new smartphone, especially when our current phone is still working, we’re actually releasing CO2. It takes a lot of energy (not to mention raw, natural ingredients) to create a smartphone and over half of the world’s energy is currently coming from oil and gas. So we release CO2 when we get that new smartphone. And don’t forget that using a mobile requires a network of cellular towers and banks of computers running 24-hours a day in the background to deliver those cloud services, run those games, stream that music, and monitor just about everything you do. It’s a big deal for the world.
In the same way, when we want new clothes even though our old clothes are still good, we release CO2. Desiring that new fashion item, made by our favourite designer label who have the clothes made in bulk in a far part of the world (somewhat out of sight) and then shipped all over the world, we forget the amount energy and natural resources this system is using. Again, we’re releasing CO2. [Read more…] about Our choices can release CO2 – choose wisely
Do less to save the planet
This title might sound like it’s contradictory to the theme of this blog, but it’s actually a fun play on words. I have to thank Tom Hodgkinson for the title. It’s all about the fact that just “doing less” will help save the planet. We do so many things that require more and more energy, so indeed there is considerable merit in the concept of aiming to do less to save the planet.
I first cam in contact with Tom Hodgkinson several years ago when I read his book “How to be idle” (see www.lifeintherightdirection.com/how-to-be-idle). It’s a good book and really opened my mind to the consideration that we don’t have to be doing things all the time and that there can be merit in simple idleness. That idea goes against everything we’re taught since we were about 6 or 7 years old and everything we see in the media, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It just might be that many things we’ve been taught and see in the media are wrong.
For the past few months I’ve been a subscriber to Idler Magazine (part of Idler Ltd that Tom Hodgkinson has setup). This is a fun publication that I enjoy reading. It’s published every two months and reminds me to keep thinking about the value of idleness and to stop glorifying being busy and doing things non-stop.
Along with the magazine, I get regular emails from Tom Hodgkinson and a few weeks ago I received one called “Do less to save the planet”. I read this email and I thought it was great. I would have loved to reproduce his whole email here are it fits so well with the theme of “Use 10 Percent Less”, however Tom will only allow me to reproduce 100 words maximum, so I’ll work with that. [Read more…] about Do less to save the planet
We are just greedy and wasteful
Forget the argument about whether climate change is being caused by humans or not, it’s perfectly clear that we humans are very greedy and wasteful. This is what has to stop. Let’s acknowledge how greedy and wasteful we are, and then let’s start trying to address it. We don’t need any other reason than the fact that greed leading to lots of waste can’t be good for anything.
Some time ago I was researching about the amount of energy we use. It’s no surprise that the world is using exponentially more energy as time passes. The counter argument goes that there are more and more people on the planet too, so maybe the extra energy usage is just natural. However, I wasn’t expecting to find what I found.
Growth of energy usage
Can I say first that humans are the only organisms on the planet that use supplemental energy? All other organisms only use the energy they get from digesting their food, breathing air and absorbing sunlight. Humans use electricity, oil, gas, coal, uranium, solar, wind, water, etc. to create supplemental energy for our benefit.
I found this graph (from Our World in Data) that shows the growth of energy consumption over the past 200 years. [Read more…] about We are just greedy and wasteful
Plastic and shale gas from the US
A couple of weeks ago, I watched the BBC’s programme “War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita, Series 1, Episode 3” and was shocked by many things, but none more than the fact that the UK is shipping in US gas (from US fracking) so that we can make more and more plastics in the UK. I didn’t realise there was such a strong link with the plastic we use every day and shale gas. Now I feel quite sad, and I wonder if people are aware of the connection between plastic and shale gas.
US Gas from fracking in the UK!
Firstly I’m shocked that US gas from the fracking of their own land is being shipped to the UK. Even as the Scottish government is strongly debating whether to implement a complete ban on fracking in the country, they are allowing gas fracked in the US to come into Scotland. The UK has areas like the North Sea and the Norwegian Continental Shelf right near by, so why don’t we take advantage of that? I’m sure it’s all because it’s cheaper, but cheap is not always good (see – Is “cheap” the right direction?). Cheap means somebody is making more profit out of it, but doesn’t mean that the value of humans and the value of the environment are being adequately taken into account.
INEOS is the company that was highlighted in the programme on BBC, and they seem to be proud of bringing in US gas to their Grangemouth facility in Scotland. In the links and quotes at the bottom of this article, you’ll quickly get the impression that the owners of the company are making big profits out of plastic and shale gas and they’ve convinced the government to keep their hands off by talking about preserving jobs and supplying UK manufacturing.
Plane Pollution – a huge problem
I was doing some gardening early on Monday. It was a beautiful morning and when I looked up, I was startled to see so many plane trails in the sky. In fact, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and everything I could see was caused by plane pollution. It was really surprising, and got me thinking about what a problem plane pollution is and why we generally just ignore it.
This prompted me to investigate a number of articles on the internet (you can see links to all these articles below along with the most interesting quotes from each). It’s clear that plane pollution is one of the major problems we’re facing as humankind, and we need to do something radical and quickly. [Read more…] about Plane Pollution – a huge problem