Author Topic: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact  (Read 6909 times)

Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« on: January 02, 2020, 04:17:46 pm »
Not quite sure where this would go, but I thought we could see if a thread about little things you've dome to make a difference carbon-wise might be useful and inspiring for us all.  Please move to a more suitable part of the forum if this is not the right place.

OK, I'll start with:

Now using a scythe to do most of my grass cutting (having taken a course in 2018), rather than using a polluting mower.  It takes longer, and I can't get it all done in the hour+ it used to take, but it's more relaxing and satisfying.

Stopped using plastic clingfilm, and replacing this with greaseproof paper (for sandwiches, and such) which can then be reused.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2020, 04:20:40 pm »
Decided to not fly on holiday anymore. After my last flying holiday to mallorca with the bike I decided that flying is just shit anyway and if some Swedish teenager can cope with not flying so can I. I haven't ruled out flying e.g. to emigrate but for the most part I just accept that there are places in my life that I'm just not going to visit, at least within the framework of a 9-5 job life.
YACF touring/audax bargain basement:
https://bit.ly/2Xg8pRD


Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2020, 04:24:40 pm »
Not had children.

Not been rich enough to fly around on aeroplanes.

Discovered bicycles as a practical means of daily transport and not owned a car since, and tried to encourage/enable others to do similar.

I've probably saved a little bit of gas through clever heating controls.

Repaired or repurposed various tech items over the years that might otherwise have been replaced with new.

Generally voted for the right sort of lizards.

Otherwise, precisely fuck all.  And the climate was coincidental in most of the above.  I'm as guilty as anyone.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2020, 04:49:44 pm »

Of the big ticket items that everyone suggests have the best return in terms of emissions, I'm already doing a lot of them.

- I have never owned a car
- I've made one flight since 2005*
- I don't have kids
- I ride my bike everywhere
- I recycle everything I can
- Reduced my meat intake.

The only thing left on the list to do would be to go fully plant based, but for various medical reasons, that's not an option.

J

*I want to offset the 500kg of CO2 from this, as soon as I find a good way to offset it.
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2020, 04:51:09 pm »
I made a significant change to my driving 10ish years ago, improved my mpg from around the low 40s to high 50s by just simply driving slower and predicting the road ahead so as to rarely use the brakes. the daft thing is it hasn't really affected my journey times and has made driving a lot less frustrating, even enjoyable.  (apart from the occasional following berserker who can't cope with a little slower)

wish extinction rebellion would get on the case for less speed, huge savings in energy with the side affect of making cycling more appealing to more people.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2020, 04:51:12 pm »
Rough order of impact:

Solar panels.

Electric car.

3 years since last flight, and infrequent before then. Haven't been outside Europe since mid-90s.

Stopped with rowing (travel to/from club adds significant miles, as well as to/from races).

Re-usable coffee cup.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2020, 04:53:37 pm »
Changed jobs to one where I'm not flying around the world all the time. That said, I still occasionally fly when the mothership demands it (but hey, that's a factor of ten less than it used to be). Cutting back on holidays, but that's not agreed with my spouse, so there's a balance between saving the world and seismic marital discord. We both have some unaddressed wanderlust issues. We have been going by train more, but generally that limits where we can go as we both have jobs and finite days off. We offset but honestly, I'm not convinced its mere greenwashing our indulgence.

We keep driving to a bare minimum: travel is by foot, bike, or public transport. We have long stopped buying crap unless I really need it and there's no alternative (OK, I needed a planetarium, all right). We try to buy local stuff where possible. Remain perfectly happy to keep the same phone and computer for several years. Developed teflon-like resistance to advertising. We're comfortably affluent and feel no compulsion to compete with our peers who seem intent on jockeying over the model of the car they have or where their last holiday was (Costa Rica, we did that before it was popular, dear.)

Not eating avocados because they're horrid, snotty things likely expelled at speed from the nostril of something large and unpleasant.

Eat meat as an occasional thing.

I confess to the occasional big sudsy bath and I've no idea the environmental impact of craft beer.

We chose, after some discussion over the years, not to have children. People won't agree, of course, but I suspect this decision is the most impact anyone can have (or at least stop in the low numbers, I read about a woman who'd had 22 children the other day).

I mostly try to do the right thing. I agonise over the recycling, pick up local litter, and nag people on the internet until they tell me to fuck off. I guerilla-plant trees.

But at the end-of-the-day, I'm living the gilded dream of someone with a professional job in a first-world country. The bill for this is sent elsewhere for someone else to pay.
!nataS pihsroW

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2020, 05:00:35 pm »
Stopped with rowing (travel to/from club adds significant miles, as well as to/from races).

Most of my driving in the last 2 years has been to HPV racing events.  I used an EV until the car club replaced it with several hybrids, citing bang-for-buck (I don't really blame them, and they *are* in the business of giving people a viable alternative to car ownership).  A few have been accessible by train.  On some occasions I've been transporting all the timing equipment, which has forced the issue.

Environmentally, it's shit.  It's been fantastic for my fitness levels and general health.  And I won a fish.   :-\

(I did pass a motion at the last AGM to encourage people to attend BHPC races without private motoring, by creating a new race category.  That was as much about driving giving you a competitive advantage as it was about sustainability.)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2020, 05:01:12 pm »
But at the end-of-the-day, I'm living the gilded dream of someone with a professional job in a first-world country. The bill for this is sent elsewhere for someone else to pay.
You nailed it there.

However; not everyone in that gilded land makes the same choices. Members of my family, who vote 'Green', take an international flying holiday every second year at least and run two cars.

What am I doing, personally?  Not really changed much. Still travel to work by bike 95% of the time. Bike/train 5% of the time. Vegetarian now, rather than meat eater. Don't replace clothes unless necessary (much to the despair of MrsC). Ditto shoes.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2020, 05:02:02 pm »
Deciding to go on a ride is almost certain to result in the climate turning to WET, does that count?

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2020, 05:41:52 pm »
While I don't think it'll make much difference, I don't eat meat, don't own a car and don't want/have kids. Most travel is by train and bike, but I still allow myself two flights per year (to the Canary Islands and back)...

For business, I don't go to conferences outside Europe anymore and within Europe I take the train as long as it takes less than one day. Most people do not realize how far you can travel by train within (Western) Europe in a single day. The longest journey so far is Groningen (Northeastern corner of the Netherlands, where I live) to Glasgow. You get funny looks when you tell people you took the train, but it's only 13 hours. It's a day lost travelling, no matter if you go by plane or by train.

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2020, 05:50:55 pm »
I've made no personal changes, just continued the lifestyle I've had all my adult life.

I did not breed.
I have not taken a flight in the last 11 years, and before that it was seldom.
I have a car but drive very seldom and only longish distances, the rest I cycle.  I am happy enough walking 5 mile round trip to the supermarket.
I eat meat, but not very much at all.
I recycle a lot now that the local council does separate collections.
I buy second hand books and sometimes clothing.

My stable of 9 pedal cycles probably counts against me.

Blodwyn Pig

  • what a nice chap
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2020, 05:54:08 pm »
eating fewer baked beans.
stopped having real  log fires ( not related to the above)
Now using organic milk
Don't use the old Land Rover much,
Cycle commuting as much as feasible
Living room now full of palms,  and other architectural greenery
Recycle everything we can.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2020, 05:58:29 pm »
None at all.

Although I might claim I do various of the things listed above, none of them are changes I've made. And in as much as they're things at all, they're cancelled out by other things; eg not having flown anywhere since 2014 is cancelled out by having flown to NZ and back* and several times to India. (Not flying isn't a change, it's just reversion to pleasant and accepting there's too much to see).

*This was the mistake, of course.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2020, 06:12:51 pm »
[..]

Now using organic milk


[...]

Organic milk is great, but how does it reduce your climate impact? A bit of searching in the scientific literature seems to suggest that in terms of greenhouse gases per liter organic milk is just as bad as regular milk.

(Fun fact: chicken meat has lower greenhouse gas emissions than cow-based dairy products.)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2020, 06:53:16 pm »
I was an early adopter (2005) of a solar panel for domestic hot water. I think this has probably been a Good Thing, but it is, for obvious reasons, hit-and-miss and it pretty well useless between early November and early February. It still works and is genuinely zero-emissions now it's fitted as the pump is driven by 12 solar-powered volts. It does require that the water be softened in the summer, which almost certainly counts against me. I have never looked up how much CO2 is emitted by the production of softener salt.

I bought a Vauxhall Astra with an LPG conversion, which I believe is marginally less harmful than petrol, but the main reason for this was economics. I calculate that it saved me about £1000 a year in fuel. In the 3 years that I had it I drove about 75000 miles.

I was an early adopter of an electric car - a Prius in the first instance, which was by far the most economical petrol car I've driven. Eventually the battery conked out and from being a >60 mpg car, it came down to about 45 mpg. We were at that time driving so few miles that it wasn't worth changing (about 4000 a year shared by 3 drivers). I was doing almost twice that on my bike. for a while. That was replaced by a 24kWh Leaf. We still drive an EV and I will never go back. They are just vastly superior.

Had the house double-glazed (2001) and, in recent years, have had several rooms decorated and insulated.

I have only ever flown for holidays on 3 occasions that I recall, the earliest in 1964, the most recent in 2005.

Last year we switched from gas cooking to an induction hob. I think that must make some difference, especially since, for 6 years now, we have used Ecotricity as an electricity supplier. We still have gas central heating and I don't anticipate changing that soon.

We have cut down on our meat consumption and I have always thought about "air miles" when it comes to buying fruit and veg - but that isn't always a great guide. It is probably less damaging to buy grapes from Egypt, say, than it is raspberries from Kent in October.

We have done lots of cycling, but I have to say that since the reduction in return that has come from having an electric car, both in terms of money and CO2, I'm a bit less inclined to stagger back from the stupormarket on a bike laden with about 30kg of stuff.

I have done quite a lot of train travel, including trips from Southend to San Sebastian, Southend to St. Andrews and Southend to Salzburg. My holiday destinations do not always begin with an S.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2020, 07:00:33 pm »
On The Impact Of Doing Without Children:

I feel confuddled about this. On the one hand, it's certainly true that it's the biggest impact we can have.

But: It fails the MattC Patented "What if Everyone Did It?" test. Should we collectively be aiming to wipe ourselves out?
Put it another way: are any other species on the planet considering the impact of their children?!? Eh! What about those bloody rabbits, breeding like ... well, you know!

Perhaps we should focus more on raising kids that live in harmony with the other species. Somehow...
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2020, 07:11:53 pm »
It fails the MattC Patented "What if Everyone Did It?" test.
Two ways of thinking about it (whether it's having children, flying or whatever):
If everyone in the whole world carries on doing just as they are now, for ever, will it work?
If everyone in the whole world does what I'm doing, for ever, will it work?
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2020, 07:15:45 pm »
On The Impact Of Doing Without Children:

I feel confuddled about this. On the one hand, it's certainly true that it's the biggest impact we can have.

But: It fails the MattC Patented "What if Everyone Did It?" test. Should we collectively be aiming to wipe ourselves out?
Put it another way: are any other species on the planet considering the impact of their children?!? Eh! What about those bloody rabbits, breeding like ... well, you know!

Perhaps we should focus more on raising kids that live in harmony with the other species. Somehow...
is there any other species about to bugger up the atmosphere & climate ?  I'm sure we would soon be organising a cull....

I too am a little confuddled on the no kids approach.  Yes we definitely need a lot less people on the planet, but the off spring of those so concerned about climate change etc would surely bring up those children with the right attitude towards sharing the planet with other species. These are the people who we need to have children

may be we should limit it to one or two though.   nto that I have done well here.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2020, 07:21:31 pm »
I was an early adopter (2005) of a solar panel for domestic hot water. I think this has probably been a Good Thing, but it is, for obvious reasons, hit-and-miss and it pretty well useless between early November and early February.

Pah, I was washing being washed in solar hot water in back in 1983!   :P

Mrs-Barakta's-Mum had a evacuated tube system in the early noughties, courtesy of an Unwise Financial Decision by The-Former-Mr-Barakta's-Mum some years earlier.  It made a decent job of heating water, even on non-cloudy days in winter, but it seemed over-engineered, consumed mains electricity for the pumps (plural, it was an east/west split) and I'm not sure it was ever an economic win, let alone an environmental one.  (Especially in a house where much of the hot water use was via a Pissy Landlord Electric Showerâ„¢ and cold-fill washing machine.  :facepalm:)

Last time I saw someone doing the back-of-the-envelope maths (which was some time ago), solar water heating was only economically viable if you had a use for large quantities of not-very-hot water (ie. a swimming pool, or industrial quantities of laundry), or you could DIY or combine the install with other roofing work.  I think costs have come down a bit since then.  If you're a shed fettler, you can probably get a decent return on some old radiators painted black, in spite of it being much less efficient than evacuated tubes.

Of course, the solar-PV landscape has changed somewhat, and these days it makes sense (FCVO sense) to dump excess PV-generated electricity into a hot water tank rather than feeding it back to the grid.  It's probably a more productive use of valuable roof space.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2020, 07:50:23 pm »
The "no children" thing is difficult. If you would ask me whether the planet can sustain 9+ billion humans, then I would say no. But I do understand why you would want a large family when you're in Chad , Yemen etc. Those kids may provide for you when you're old. A state pension in these parts of the wordl here may be insufficient for a comfortable life, but at least you won't die of hunger.

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2020, 07:51:09 pm »
I've made no personal changes, just continued the lifestyle I've had all my adult life.


Same here. This includes:
- have never had kids
- have never owned a car (most of my local travel is on foot these days)
- recycle stuff where I can
- rarely fly
- been vegetarian for >30 years (not vegan, though)


But: It fails the MattC Patented "What if Everyone Did It?" test.

Surely Kant patented that one...? :P

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2020, 07:51:53 pm »
A state pension in these parts of the wordl here may be insufficient for a comfortable life, but at least you won't die of hunger.

[CITATION NEEDED]
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2020, 07:59:51 pm »
A state pension in these parts of the wordl here may be insufficient for a comfortable life, but at least you won't die of hunger.

[CITATION NEEDED]

Seriously? I'm based in the Netherlands, where I see lonely pensioners (not dying of hunger!). Things in the UK may be worse, but surely their biggest worry is the cost of heating (less of an issue due to global warming!). Our problems are trivial compared to 99% of people living in sub-Saharan Africa, no matter how bad your situation is.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2020, 08:02:00 pm »
A state pension in these parts of the wordl here may be insufficient for a comfortable life, but at least you won't die of hunger.

[CITATION NEEDED]

Seriously? I'm based in the Netherlands, where I see lonely pensioners (not dying of hunger!). Things in the UK may be worse, but surely they're biggest worry is the cost of heating (less of an issue due to global warming!).

In the UK the biggest worry is the cost of housing.  State pension barely covers rent.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...