Category Archives: Green

Environmental

On my post about mileage and so on, BW commented “No environmental conscience chez toi, then, eh? 😉”   And I can’t deny, that annoyed me a fair bit.

So…

    • That weekend, I hired a car that was supposed to have a better Eco-profile than my current car. Sadly, that turned out to not be the case – it got a lot less MpG than mine, and generally wasn’t very good.  But the intentions were there, at least.  Even though I should’ve stuck to my usual car.
    • Where possible – in this case, the run to and from Oxford – I carried friends, rather than everyone driving individually
    • Taking public transport was simply not a realistic option, for a range of reasons, including
      • I’d still have to drive to my nearest station, and (as I understand it) shorter journeys like that are the worst environmentally, as most of the nastys happen on start-up/warm-up, rather than on longer runs
      • The runs to Oxford and Chichester would both have been over three hours each way, and cost more than the fuel for the entire weekend
      • The journey to Kent wouldn’t have been possible at all
    • Also, knowing the mileage etc., I make use of a carbon offset programme – it’s not perfect, but (I hope) it helps
    • The Big Cat Experience in Kent use most of the money from the experience days and so on to go towards ecological and animal protection/preservation projects overseas.

Outside of those things, there’s also the following other little bits

  • I’m still using a car that’s now ten years old (and passes the MoT emissions test with flying colours) rather than using up a load of resources with a new vehicle
  • My domestic waste/rubbish is absolutely minimal – indeed, if I didn’t have cats, I’d be easily able to get away with one domestic waste collection per month – and I recycle far more than most people.
  • I rarely fly anywhere – the last time was two years ago
  • Most of my electric/electronic devices are recharged via a battery bank that charges off a solar panel, rather than via the mains.

There’s probably other stuff as well, but anyway, it’s a pretty good start.

I fully accept that my environmental profile isn’t perfect – my main downsides are electricity and driving. And I balance as much of that as possible. However, I’m also pretty sure that it’s a lot better than that of most people.

Even more importantly, no matter what I do to improve my profile, it’s utterly irrelevant in comparison to other environmental things. For example, if the new phase of advertising on video screens (particularly the stand-alone street-furniture versions) were deactivated/turned off overnight it would save more in a week than I could contribute in a lifetime.

So – do I have an environmental conscience?  I’ll let you decide – although I think the answer is generally yes.

Clearing Out

In general, I’m pretty good at not being too wasteful – I try to recycle as much stuff as possible, and generally don’t over-buy or buy stuff I don’t want or won’t use.

However, I’ve amassed some things that now need to be got rid of, so that’s part of my plan between now and the start of the year.

It’s not a lot, in the great scheme of things – my house isn’t large enough to have room for storing a load of unused stuff – but it’s one of those “when I get round to it” jobs, and now is the time for me to get round to it.

I’ll still aim to get as much as possible to the local recycling centre, although I know that some will also end up going into normal rubbish, just because it’s stuff that isn’t actually recyclable.

Changing Plants

Over the weekend, I spent some time changing the plants and pots I’ve got in the yard of my house.

Some of the things from last year had died off, most having only been expected to live a year, a couple of others just needed to be changed and a one needed to be replaced as the poxy cat had decided that pot was a spare litter tray.  Additionally, I’d changed a bit on what I wanted to try out this year.

For example, last year I had a couple of small apple trees in patio pots. One had done OK, but ended the year overtaken by wooly aphid things that made it look like it was covered in frost/snow/cotton-wool, while the other hadn’t taken at all.  So they were candidates for going as well.

This time, I went to a proper garden centre, and got a bundle of new things – two types of raspberry, a blueberry bush, and a couple of flowering currants.  Once I’d got home, I emptied out the old pots, putting all the residue into garden sacks. Then all the new things got planted, and so far it’s all worked out pretty well.

The final stage was taking all the garden sacks to the local tip, and getting rid of them all in the garden waste.

So all told, quite the successful day – a near-complete change of the plants, and all the rubbish dealt with, leaving the place looking pretty much how it did before, just with new plants.  I class that as a success.

More New Greenery

Having sorted out some new pots and plants earlier this week, I’d been thinking about a couple of small trees to put in Big Pots, which should finish things off nicely.

Today, I got some – two ‘patio apple’ trees and pots for them to go in.  They’ve been outside all the time anyway, so they’re now planted out and situated where I want them to be.

I’m done for now with plants, I think. I do want to find a more comfortable table and chair(s) next, although that can wait a while ’til I see what there is that I like.  I’m not in a hurry – I’ve a chair that’s serviceable, but I do want to find something better. I just have to know it’s better before I buy it…

All Lit Up

In the office building I share with a bundle of other companies, I find I have my irritations. I know, shocking.

One that regularly annoys me is the way people shove on all the lights – even in public spaces where they’re not necessary – and completely fail to then turn them off again.

At the start of the day, people come in and just automatically turn on every sodding light – regardless of the conditions outside, the time of year, or of anyone else in any other offices.  In short, the entire place is lit up like fucking fairyland – even in the height of summer, when you don’t need the lights on at all.

The same applies in the toilets – again, an area that at this time of year really doesn’t need any illumination other than daylight. But no, on go the lights, and then no other fucker turns them off again.

Of course, I don’t mind people turning on the lights when they need them. What bugs me is that they then don’t bother to turn them off when they leave the rooms/facilities.

But the thing is, everyone pays a piece of the electricity bill. You’d think that would encourage some responsibility, some desire to only use what’s necessary. But of course that’d require some vague sense of altruism, of being interested in something other than self, of just giving a shit about things.  And that’s what’s missing.

Grrrr.

Illuminating

When I moved here, I had a “mother and child” lamp, which I’ve used as the main illumination in my living room since.

Sadly, both bulbs in the lamp were halogens, so it’s been a bit of an energy hog – which I realised more once I’d bought my OWL energy monitor and saw the way the usage figures went up when I turned the lights on.

As a result, I said that when the bulb(s) finally blew, I’d replace the lamp with one that was more energy-efficient (or at least was able to use more energy-efficient bulbs) and that finally happened today.

So – a new lamp has now been purchased, assembled, and installed. It’s a similar style of ‘mother and child’, but both bulbs are non-halogen and standard-fitting, with eco-bulbs in.

The drop in power-usage is pretty noticable already, and it should result in a noticeable drop in the electricity bill.

All told, I see that as a success all round.

Skyline

Last week, there was a new addition to the skyline at home – and for a fair dollop of the surrounding area.

It’s obviously been planned for a while, but it’s really only been in the last month that I’ve seen a new wind turbine being erected at the Forestry Centre.  It went up mid-February, but the turbine blades were only added last week, which is when it became truly noticeable. (There are chimney stacks around the place, so the initial turbine stalk didn’t stand out as much)

And now it’s visible – for quite a distance. I can see it as I come in past Bedford, and also as I come over the hill in the other direction. It’s pretty impressive.

Fortunately, I like wind turbines – I like the sight of them, and the sound. But I’m willing to bet there’s some NIMBY bastards who’ll complain about it.