Author Topic: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact  (Read 7256 times)

Mrs Pingu

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Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #50 on: January 03, 2020, 08:14:42 pm »
If everyone moved a bit in the right direction, that would make a huge difference.

This. There are probably a large amount of people doing sweet FA.
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #51 on: January 03, 2020, 08:19:28 pm »
I've had more success than Wowbagger with my solar hot water system, which pretty much does all our hot water from mid April to October, but it's probably got another 2 or 3 years before its paid for its 2005 installation.  That does nothing to offset the average 24 (12 round trip) work and 2 (1 round trip) personal flights.

We've mostly staycated since 2009, which was driven by financial concerns rather than environmental ones - and the impact of living in a propane heated 39' x 12' aluminium box (static caravan) is untested.

I travel 15,000 - 20,000 miles by train a year, again mostly for work, my car mileage for work is less than 500 miles per year, but that might less virtuous than it seems - Transport for London consumes 2.7% of all electricity in London.

The biggest contribution I think I am making is helping our energy industry implement fit for the future switching systems that will make it much easier for EVs to register and switch supply, so that (in the future) 20m EVs on our roads can act as a huge battery storage system and help to balance out the fact that most renewables (wind, solar) are variable and yet demand is relatively constant - although at its highest on cold foggy winter mornings when there is neither wind nor solar.

Behind all the hype there are 100,000s of people working on solutions that will help the UK and the world decarbonise, including those working for hated government departments and oil companies.  They need all the support and encouragement they can get.
Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 170 (metric) 520 (furlongs)  112 (nautical miles)

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #52 on: January 03, 2020, 08:25:09 pm »
Over the years, in our three houses (one after the other, not owning 3 at once!), each has had extra insulation and a modern boiler installed. We get our energy from Bulb, who are fairly green. I use 30 degree or A rated washing cycles and air dry most of it.

On this front, and similar to the 30 yr old car comment, I'm deliberately not replacing our boiler until it decides it's going on the fritz on a regular basis, as I believe that the environmental cost of creating these items is not always considered.


I think that you're right that throwing out the current thing for a newer fractionally greener one is worth viewing with some skepticism until the remaining costs can be viewed alongside the impact of making the new thing. As the thing gets more complex (whole buildings) that evaluation gets harder to make.

This was the case with our boilers, rather than a whim for a few percent:
 - The first house we had the previous occupant had taken the boiler out, cut off the radiators (and squashed pipes in the process) and replaced with electric heaters that were eye wateringly expensive.
 - The second was a 1960s model and replacement became sensible alongside other changes to the house.
 - The current one was on its second breakdown in a year.

In each case we tried to make a choice that wasn't the most basic one, but would provide some long term improvement in efficiency for a bit more money.


Mrs Pingu

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Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #53 on: January 03, 2020, 08:26:48 pm »
 :thumbsup:
Do not clench. It only makes it worse.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #54 on: January 03, 2020, 10:06:32 pm »
Blast! I have found a lovely Australian red wine at only €2.49 a bottle and it has become my favourite this season.

Overall, I am enjoying reading of things I had not thought of and can work out what else I can do to help. Keep the conversation going.

Don't worry, the fires in Aus have damaged a lot of the vineyards, aussie wine is going to be a bit rarer for the next few years.

It's also worth noting that the environmental impact of wine transport depends a lot on the location of the bottling. A lot of wine from far off lands is actually shipped over in giant wine boxes, basically a big bag of wine in a shipping container, it is then bottled in locally.

This is more efficient than shipping it pre bottled from said far flung land.

J
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #55 on: January 03, 2020, 10:27:46 pm »
If everyone moved a bit in the right direction, that would make a huge difference.

This.
Probably not. The Earth Overshoot concept calculates "how many planets" we are using each year.
Quote
Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
...
Just as a bank statement tracks income against expenditures, Global Footprint Network measures a population’s demand for and ecosystems’ supply of resources and services. These calculations then serve as the foundation for calculating Earth Overshoot Day.

On the supply side, a city, state, or nation’s biocapacity represents its biologically productive land and sea area, including forest lands, grazing lands, cropland, fishing grounds, and built-up land.

On the demand side, the Ecological Footprint measures a population’s demand for plant-based food and fiber products, livestock and fish products, timber and other forest products, space for urban infrastructure, and forest to absorb its carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.
https://www.overshootday.org/about-earth-overshoot-day/
Apparently we started using more than one Earth-ful in the early 1970s. It's currently July 29th but individual country's days vary hugely. Not every country overshoots. Britain's is 17th May, which makes us a bit more greedy than some supposedly greener countries like Denmark, but we're using about "2.6 Earths" each. So if everyone does a little bit, the high-users like us shift a bit and so do the low-users and we end up not far off where we are. What we probably need is for some people to carry on as they are, some to do a little and some, which includes almost everyone in Europe, to use less than half the resources we currently do. Which is an awfully big change.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #56 on: January 03, 2020, 10:27:48 pm »
So, has anyone downsized their house to suit their family? So many people live in houses far too big for their basic needs.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #57 on: January 03, 2020, 10:36:28 pm »
Interesting question.  Usually people seem to do it for finance or mobility reasons.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #58 on: January 03, 2020, 10:39:25 pm »
It's also the case that needs expand to fill the house available.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #59 on: January 03, 2020, 10:43:31 pm »
Interesting question.  Usually people seem to do it for finance or mobility reasons.

Yep. We did, to rid ourselves or a mortgage, so no paragon of virtue here. But how many couples (usually older) still live in a 4 or 5 bedroom house? At least 5 of our near neighbours for a start.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #60 on: January 03, 2020, 10:44:01 pm »
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.
Then what do you do with the grass?

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #61 on: January 03, 2020, 11:00:54 pm »
I don't do anything that's likely to make any difference. Don't drive, don't fly, live cheaply so don't consume as much, live in a small space so don't need much resource to maintain it, get as much food as possible from the grower, drink at the pub, try and re-use before re-cycling, avoid packaging where possible, keep things till they wear out and chose replacements with longevity in mind ...
It's nothing like enough, the idea that it'll all be alright if we each do a bit is a con, the whole world order, the economic models, the idea of continual growth, none of it is sustainable.  A few people taking a few less less flights isn't going to do any good, when there's plenty of others to take up those seats at a bargain price, half the contents of Sainsbury's has flown there, as have half your (And mine) bike parts.  I've just done the Christmas extra shifts at the UK's 2nd biggest freight airport, everything flies in.
We ain't going to change it, do whatever you need to sleep easy, but don't keep anyone else up berating them for not doing enough.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #62 on: January 03, 2020, 11:18:51 pm »
I don't do anything that's likely to make any difference. Don't drive, don't fly, live cheaply so don't consume as much, live in a small space so don't need much resource to maintain it, get as much food as possible from the grower, drink at the pub, try and re-use before re-cycling, avoid packaging where possible, keep things till they wear out and chose replacements with longevity in mind ...
It's nothing like enough, the idea that it'll all be alright if we each do a bit is a con, the whole world order, the economic models, the idea of continual growth, none of it is sustainable.  A few people taking a few less less flights isn't going to do any good, when there's plenty of others to take up those seats at a bargain price, half the contents of Sainsbury's has flown there, as have half your (And mine) bike parts.  I've just done the Christmas extra shifts at the UK's 2nd biggest freight airport, everything flies in.
We ain't going to change it, do whatever you need to sleep easy, but don't keep anyone else up berating them for not doing enough.

I don't think any of us are berating anyone here, we're just talking about the things we are doing.

I do wonder how much of my bike has flown to Europe, and how much has travelled by ship. My tyres are made in Germany, I know that much.


J

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http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #63 on: January 03, 2020, 11:35:41 pm »
I do wonder how much of my bike has flown to Europe, and how much has travelled by ship. My tyres are made in Germany, I know that much.

J

J
The gist of my point was - So what? - Which would have more impact, choosing tyres based on where they're made or on the basis of how long they last?

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #64 on: January 03, 2020, 11:37:59 pm »
The gist of my point was - So what? - Which would have more impact, choosing tyres based on where they're made or on the basis of how long they last?

Without accurate data, it's hard to say for sure.

J
--
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http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #65 on: January 04, 2020, 12:41:48 am »
I don't do anything that's likely to make any difference. Don't drive, don't fly, live cheaply so don't consume as much, live in a small space so don't need much resource to maintain it, get as much food as possible from the grower, drink at the pub, try and re-use before re-cycling, avoid packaging where possible, keep things till they wear out and chose replacements with longevity in mind ...
It's nothing like enough, the idea that it'll all be alright if we each do a bit is a con, the whole world order, the economic models, the idea of continual growth, none of it is sustainable.  A few people taking a few less less flights isn't going to do any good, when there's plenty of others to take up those seats at a bargain price, half the contents of Sainsbury's has flown there, as have half your (And mine) bike parts.  I've just done the Christmas extra shifts at the UK's 2nd biggest freight airport, everything flies in.
We ain't going to change it, do whatever you need to sleep easy, but don't keep anyone else up berating them for not doing enough.

Wise words Paul, but I do think that the slow development of a higher consciousness will prevail from all such small acts in the short term.   The futures bright :thumbsup:
Most of the stuff I say is true because I saw it in a dream and I don't have the presence of mind to make up lies when I'm asleep.   Bryan Andreas

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

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Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #66 on: January 04, 2020, 05:36:59 am »
So, has anyone downsized their house to suit their family? So many people live in houses far too big for their basic needs.

Planning to.  With the aim of downsizing by 40%.  Post-children, in about 5 years.

It's not easy.  We've got used to the larger 'living' space of a bigger house.  In retirement, we'll probably spend more time at home and therefore the one space we do want to preserve is the living room, but smaller properties tend to have smaller rooms rather than less rooms.

Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 170 (metric) 520 (furlongs)  112 (nautical miles)

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #67 on: January 04, 2020, 06:43:30 am »
So, has anyone downsized their house to suit their family? So many people live in houses far too big for their basic needs.
Yes, from a five bedroom detached former chapel in the UK to a 60 square metre first floor flat in Germany. Occupied by two humans and one small dog in both cases. I also sold the mortgage-free house and now rent, I love the freedom.

Having not had children is my biggest climate benefit. I also gave away my car two years ago and just use my velomobile, although partner’s company car is available for joint trips. Lots of recycling in Germany and we do our bit, including also buying fruit, some veg and eggs from the local grower up the road.

I still think it’s too late, but assume I will die of old age before the worst of it.
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #68 on: January 04, 2020, 08:28:43 am »
If they stopped prescribing metformin for diabetics there'd be a hell of a lot less greenhouse gas.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #69 on: January 04, 2020, 09:46:11 am »
Interesting question.  Usually people seem to do it for finance or mobility reasons.

Yep. We did, to rid ourselves or a mortgage, so no paragon of virtue here. But how many couples (usually older) still live in a 4 or 5 bedroom house? At least 5 of our near neighbours for a start.
It can be a difficult one though.  We're in a 4/5 bed detached with a wonderful wildlife inspired garden with ponds and frogs and birds and bats....  We also live in a wonderful area with wonderful neighbours.  We have no intention of giving this up for may be a small flat with noisy neighbours we don't know, and what would happen to our little wildlife oasis?  Would love a smaller house but I see no environmental benefit in knocking ours down and rebuilding a new smaller one.

In any case, I'm not so sure the fight against climate change in me is as strong as it once was.  I have been passionate about this since a teenager (mainly on a wildlife habitat angle)  but recently as the world is finally starting to wake up to the realities of what we're doing. I''m now thinking we are past the point of no return.  I don't see us halting this runaway train, we're more likely to be heading towards world wars over migration and resources than living some sort of sustainable harmonious lifestyle.  Sadly we are probably going to be the most stupid, unsuccessful and short lived species that has ever existed.

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #70 on: January 04, 2020, 12:37:53 pm »
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.
Then what do you do with the grass?

Good question.  As with the petrol mower previously, it goes on a vegetation pile to rot down (some goes towards compost, but only a bit, as capacity limited - I could expand this).

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #71 on: January 04, 2020, 12:53:05 pm »
Putting on my rangering cap here, my move would be to abandon the lawn completely and instead transition the garden into a meadow. Out with the American suburbanite manicured wildlife desert, in with the wildflowers and butterflies. If we could give over more land to properly laid hedgerows and meadows we would be onto a real start.

It's a bit of work to achieve but the results are tremendous.

https://theecologist.org/2015/apr/27/nearby-wild-how-i-turned-my-lawn-mini-meadow

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Ban cars.

mattc

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Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #72 on: January 04, 2020, 01:06:03 pm »
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.

We want Poldarky shirt-off pictures, or it didn't happen!

(how short can you get it? The grass I mean ;) )
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Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #73 on: January 04, 2020, 01:30:25 pm »

Controversial

Sticking with my temperamental 30-year-old Golf, using the argument that I'm offsetting the raw material use and energy expended in its manufacture by extending its use, rather than scrapping it after max 10 years (probably get shot down for that one!)

[Edit for typos]

No, I think that using an old petrol car is probably the least bad option, provided you don't go far and plan to desist altogether in the next few years.

I rather admire your dedication to keeping the thing running, tbh.

There's probably a point where the best solution to the perennial carburettor problems is to retrofit an electric drivetrain, thobut.

Some old cars just keep going with minimal upkeep. I was given a 2001 Citreon Saxo (1.1L petrol) when my mum stopped driving. It's happily continued running with no problems for the 3 years I've had it. It obviously gets an MOT each year and I treated it to a proper service after owning it for 3 years, other than that it's never had to go to a garage. The tyres will be good for thousands more miles. If it dies (unlikely as it has only done 50k miles) then I'll get rid of it and not replace it with anything, I'll just switch to Zipcars/cabs, more use of public transport or just not do the trip at all. And despite it being 19 years old it is ULEZ compliant, which is useful as I live half a mile from the edge of the proposed ULEZ extension area.

Anyway, on the positive side:-
* I try to reuse and recycle as much as possible (the local council make this quite easy)
* We use public transport a lot (living in London makes this easy)
* I/we have cut down red meat
* No more long haul flights (I used to live in the US and probably flew 300+ hours a year)
* Most holidays are by train (either in the UK or France)
* My car (I'm a monster!) does less than 500 miles a year, if I got rid of the car I'd probably still do the same number of miles in a car that belonged to someone else (either Zipcar or cabs)
* No pets (ever)
* We don't rattle around in a property that is too big for us, the "spare bedroom" is now a study to allow one of us to work from home on any given day which cuts down on commuting
* I commute 75% of the time by human power (bike or running), the remaining time by train, never by motor vehicle
* I try to buy used/second-hand items rather than brand new
* Heating limited to a max of 19 deg C (luckily it's a warm flat given we have neighbours above and beneath us) and all of us more likely to put a jumper on than turn it up
* Using more tupperware instead of clingfilm

But I'll switch it around to point out what I still do that I could cut down or stop:-

* We still take one or two return flights a year (mostly short haul to Europe) - have looked into going skiing by train and may give it a go next year
* I still have a car, and it is parked on the street
* I have procreated, but only have one and it's quite green aware
* We still eat too much meat (more poultry than red meat)
* Buying too much fruit/veg from supermarket (albeit the options with minimal/no packaging) - should use local shops more despite the higher prices
* I don't keep enough of an eye on food miles
* Still too many things delivered from ordering online
* Haven't got around to using the "refill station" at the local charity shop for household chemicals
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Changes You've Made that (Might) Have a Climate Impact
« Reply #74 on: January 04, 2020, 03:03:05 pm »
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.

We want Poldarky shirt-off pictures, or it didn't happen!

(how short can you get it? The grass I mean ;) )

On the course I did, there was much amusement around the Poldark scything scenario - pro: there was feeling it was raising the profile of scything in general (although he was using/abusing a heavy UK/US-style scythe, rather than a razor-sharp Austrian one) and con: he was making a stupid hash of it, using far more unsustainable muscle power rather than the Tai-chi-inspired gentle crescent sweep we were being taught on the course(we really did start with Tai-chi exercises, sans-scythe!).

I'll have to post a pic when I next do some short stuff - probably spring/summer; I found I could get it acceptably short, but not to bowling green standards.