Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Getting Started

Pretty much whatever you and I do will have some kind of impact on our environment and so on the planet we live on. Even animals have some impact and too many of some animals in a particular area can damage the local environment and upset delicately balanced ecosystems.

So much choice!
The problem now is that the global population has grown so large andso many of us are using so many of the Earth's resources so quickly. That usage can have other harmful effects on our planet besides depleting it's resources at an alarming rate. So, it would help our planet, and the people, plants and animals that inhabit this Earth alongside us, if we could all use less stuff, less of the Earth's resources and throw less rubbish away to go to landfill sites.

It is therefore a good idea for all of us to think about the stuff we consume and consider if we can cut down anywhere, and I know there are plenty of ways I could cut down myself.

For instance we could ask ourselves if we really need that new mobile phone or PC just yet. Not being mad about the latest gadgets myself, that's not a great temptation for me, although I won't say I'm never tempted at all. 

However, I probably have bought a few too many new clothes recently, for my beach holiday in sunny Mallorca, after a couple of lovely, but cooler and damper holidays in the UK the last two years, and that is something most of us could buy less of with no ill consequences.

I also love to buy books, but I am trying hard to remember to borrow them from the library if I'm only going to read them once, or I'm not even sure if the book will tell me what I want to know.

Of course being human means being a consumer and there's nothing wrong with that in itself, it's just the amount we each consume and the number of people consuming stuff on such a large scale, so if we can each cut down a little, we will use the Earth's resources that bit more slowly and create that bit less waste, there will also be that bit less CO2 emissions caused by the manufacture of the goods we consume.

We should even ask ourselves if we really need the latest 'green' product for the same reasons.

If we can be strong enough to buck the trend and say 'no, I don't need that' to the adverts that try to persuade us to buy something just to make ourselves feel better when we don't actually need it, we may actually feel better than if we did buy it. For a start we'll have that bit less clutter to negotiate in our homes or to cart off to the tip or the charity shop.

Ripples on a pond can be started by one small pebble.
It might also mean our friends feel less pressure to buy so much stuff just to feel good about themselves and that effect could spread like the ripples on a pond, started by just one little pebble.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

About Green and Generous

Welcome to the Green and Generous blog.

This purpose of this blog is to show you that it can be easy to set out to make your life a bit greener and that looking after the planet can save you money, be better for you and make life more interesting.

I also want to explain how the way we live effects other people and the world around us, and what changes it might be useful to make in the way we do things.

If you read this blog at your own pace from the beginning it should provide you with a gradual step by step approach to living a greener, more sustainable lifestyle without becoming a scrooge or a recluse, or even needing to weave your own clothes with nettles you've grown in the garden yourself – unless you really want to.

The idea of this blog is to show you that you don't have to wear a hair shirt or a long face to do your bit to save the planet. In fact it could even be fun at times. Sometimes it can be a bit complicated working out the best thing to do, but we want to look at the issues and help you work out what is best for you.

I fully appreciate that caring for the Earth doesn't mean the same thing for everyone and it certainly doesn't mean we should stop caring for ourselves and other people. Being green and generous is about balancing the needs of our environment with the needs of the people who inhabit that environment, not least ourselves.

Colin Bevan decided to try to live for a year without making any impact on the planet, and in particular he tried to reduce his carbon footprint to zero. He decided ruling out air travel was not such a good idea because it meant he couldn't join his family on visits to the in-laws, but going without television meant lots of fun evenings playing games with his family and even some of the neighbours. You can read more about his experiment in his book 'No Impact Man', which is available from some local libraries. There is now a film, which shows things a bit more from his wife's perspective than the book does.

"The Earth provides enough . . " ,  Ghandi
Colin also has a website, which it is probably best to read from the beginning.

If you are reading this blog, perhaps you have also made a few experiments with low impact living or perhaps you read about the pros and cons of different 'green' products. If so, I welcome your input in the comments section.

I look forward to walking along the path to a sustainable future with you.