Counting On …. day 12

25th November 2021

Black Friday is a curious name. 

Is it black as in the opposite of ‘being in the red’, ie financially overdrawn? Certainly not if you are tempted to spend more than you can afford.

Is it black as in doom and terror? Definitely if you see it as a seductive snare designed to encourage us to buy more than we need and more than the earth’s finite resources can sustain.

And who gains? 

The customer because they can buy things at a discount? Yes but only if they buy now. Customers who buy later  will have to pay more if the producers are to recover their costs over the balance of the year. 

The producers because they will sell more? But will they sell more or will the majority of their sales just be concentrated in this one weekend? (Black Friday has become Black Weekend). Does this frenzy of sales cause a hiccup in the supply chain? Goods will have to be stockpiled ready for this one weekend; delivery operations will be overwhelmed by short term demand for extra delivery vehicles and drivers; and presumably a peak in pressure in recycling services the following week.

At the end of the day, Black Friday is a marketing strategy and we are not obliged to drawn in by it. We can maintain our independence and shop when we want to shop and only buy what we want to buy.

Counting On …. Day 9

22nd November 2021

Eco Church recommends creating a communal Christmas card scheme. Rather than each person sending a card to everyone else, individuals write one Christmas card to everyone! This is then posted on a communal notice board in church.

From the Wallingford Benefice notices: “ Christmas Card Scheme – A big thank you for your positive response to our communal Christmas card scheme this year. There were over 40 cards sent in total and displayed in the nave of St Mary’s, the ringing chamber and choir vestry. Assuming each person who took part would have sent 15 cards this means we have saved in the region of 600 cards! A great result for our environment. Would anybody like to reuse the Christmas cards and create gift tags for next year? Or perhaps you can think of a more creative ‘reuse’ option for our communal Christmas cards!”

Counting On … day 8

21st November 2021

Rather than a Christmas card (complete with envelope) why not send Christmas postcards? They use half the card and none of the paper for the envelope.

You could make your own, hand drawn or print a design with your home printer (one A4 sheet of thin card can be cut down into four postcards).

You could buy postcards  from a local wildlife centre – Friends of Richmond Park have beautiful cards depicting deer. 

Counting on … day 7

20th November 2021

E.F Schumacher was a philosopher and economist whose book ‘Small is Beautiful: economics as if people mattered’  was a popular read in the 1970s. His vision was able to become a reality in the shape of ‘Practical Action’. This charity  provides practical (and often therefore small scale and local) projects that enable  and support small communities across the globe to raise their living standards. Recently Schumacher daughter was  asked  in an interview what her father’s views would have been in response to the crises we face as a world today. Towards the end she says, “Fritz was often asked what people should do as individuals to support positive change. He recognised that people can feel helpless in the face of such huge challenges and can feel that their own small actions aren’t worthwhile.

His advice was always that we should support the organisations that are taking the right actions. That  we should educate ourselves about the issues and share our knowledge with others. And that we should make small, positive changes in our own lives, which right now might mean reducing our carbon footprint or using less water.”

Counting On … day 6 

19th November 2021

One straightforward way of reducing our carbon footprint is  choosing the vegan option. When it comes to biscuits this is even easier than you would expect. Many traditional brands of biscuits sold in supermarkets are vegan and in many case have always  been so! Their vegan attributes as a consequence are not always highlighted. Jeni from the Choose Vegan website has complied a lost of all the commonly sold biscuits which are also vegan. 

Counting On … Day 5

18th November and fifth day since the finale of COP26.

If COP26 marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next in the campaign to resolve the climate crisis, are we as individuals and our appointed local and national government leaders do what is necessary to achieve our objectives?

The Climate Coalition invites is to email our MP on this very issue, and provides a template in which we can express for ourselves as individuals what concerns us, what we are doing, and what we would like our leaders to be doing. Follow the link and add your personal plea.

Counting On …

16th November 2021

Adopting a plant based – ie vegan – is one easy way of reducing our carbon footprint. Here is another vegan cake recipe – vegan baking is straight forward!

Golden Parkin (sorry – no picture as we ate it all up!)

1 tbsp camelina or chia seeds soaked in 3 tbsp of warm water

100g margerine, 6 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp syrup

2 tbsp oatmeal, 8 tbsp flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 or 3 tsp of ground spice (I used a mix of cardamon, all spice and cinnamon

150g grated squash

Method: melt the margerine and add sugar and syrup. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Add oat milk if needed to create a dropping consistency.

Bake: tip into a lined tin, approx 180 x 300mm, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until form to touch.

Counting On … 

15th November 2021

“Every year we produce about 3% more waste than the year before. This might not sound much but, if we carry on at this rate, it means that we will double the amount of waste we produce every 25 years.”

One of the facts from C B Environmental’s fact sheet – do check out the rest of the facts. 

If we aim to live sustainably then we must aim to use only our fair share of resources – both a fair share  when shared across the globe, and a fair share when measured across time. At present we we use the earth’s resources faster than they can be replenished. 

In 2019  each person in the UK on average threw away (via waste bins to landfill sites) 392kg of rubbish. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/322535/total-household-waste-volumes-in-england-uk-per-person/

How can we reduce that? 

  • Make a note of what you throw in the bin each week. 
  • Could any of it be recycled instead? 
  • Could any of it be avoided by buying alternative products? Eg ones with less packaging or with less non recyclable packaging. Or buy products with a longer life? Or buy less if what you buy is not being used?
  • Repeat and see if you can reduce the number of things going into the bin the next week.
  • Alternatively weight the rubbish that goes into your bin each week: Using the suggestions above, can you reduce it week on week?