Counting on …. Day 172

4th May 2022

If you are still looking for ways to reduce your gas consumption in response to the invasion of Ukraine, and  use gas to heat your hot water, there are several ways you do this. 

  • If you wash up in a bowl,  rather than drawing hot water that’s been heated by the boiler, use a kettle. One kettle is usually enough.
  • Reduce the number of showers you take – begin by showering one day and have a basin wash the next. Skin doesn’t get as dirty as we think. 
  • When you shower reduce the time under the shower – 5 minutes is a good target.
  • Wash your hands with cold water – it is just as effective at removing germs. What is important is lathering the soap and rubbing all parts of your hands. 

Counting on ….day 165 

27th April 2022

The pandemic increased the shift to online shopping and queues of cars outside supermarkets are now a thing of the past! In suburbs like East Sheen, walking – or cycling – to the shops is easy and what is bought can be carried in baskets, backpacks or trolleys. Kingston or central London are a train or bus ride away. Why do shopping centre need car parks? 

 Counting on …day 80 

30th January 2022

Upcycling is a popular way of extending the life of the clothes we wear. Trousers worn at the knees can become a pair of shorts. Flared trousers can be tapered, or straight trousers can acquire a flair. A plain T shirt can be embroidered with a pattern or a message. Skirts can be shortened – or lengthened  if you add new material below the hem line. Dresses or trousers  can become skirts. Sometimes it may involve downgrading – the pair of jeans that has patches on the knees and patches on the buttock area is likely to become useful gardening gear!  

 Counting on …day 73

25th January 2022

Burns Night is a time for poetry, haggis and whisky. Whisky production uses lots of energy in the distilling process much of which comes from fossil fuels. The Scotch Whisky Association is leading an industry wide campaign to address this – although their net zero target of 2040 is not inspirational. https://www.scotch-whisky.org.uk/insights/sustainability/

That said two distilleries have or are about to become net zero companies: Mc’Nean and Bruchladdich. The more consumers seek out net zero companies, the more companies will follow this trend. 

And for a vegan haggis see https://greentau.org/2021/11/30/counting-on-day-17/

Counting on …. Day 56

9th January 2022

Eating beans and pulses instead of meat and dairy products is a good way of reducing our carbon footprint. The Ethical Consumer’s Climate Gap Report lists  a top ten of things we can do as individuals to reduce our carbon footprint (https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/climate-gap-report) of which the top two are reducing meat consumption by 20% and dairy by 20%.

You can use beans to make soups and stews; you can blitz them to make pasta sauces or use lentils in  place of mince for lasagnes; hummus is made from chick peas and you can use other beans to make a variates of other spreads or pates. Chick peas are used in making falafel and split peas for dhal and again you can adapt these recipes for to the beans and pulses. Flour made from dried peas and beans can be used in making pastries and pasta, as well as a variation of a frittata. Soya beans and peas are being used to make alternative milks. 

Try the Hodmedod website for lots of recipes – https://hodmedods.co.uk/blogs/recipes/tagged/vegan

The whale that keeps on giving

The wide vast oceans, 

tropical balm and arctic chill,

teem with living things 

great and small 

And  here dwells the whale – 

God’s tiller of the sea –

formed to frolic in its deeps 

and traverse its lengths. 

From an infinitesimal nil 

to 200 tonnes of mammalian flesh, 

its life spans a century full.  

A life of daily gorging and expurgating 10, 

nay, 20 tonnes of krill 

replenishes the seas with iron,

and spins once more 

the phytoplankton’s oxygen giving, 

carbon absorbing wheel.

From the depths the whale

redistributes food, 

sustaining small fry 

that dare not dive so deep.

Migrating between distant poles 

and warmer summer seas, 

the whale spreads the bounty 

of each mouthful it digests

and spins once more

the global food chain’s thread. 

Under the whale’s ocean watch, 

krill and plankton multiply, 

and so God’s worker feeds 

5000 mouths and more.

Its leviathan frame

 a maritime conveyor belt

of sequestered carbon 

that gracefully sweeps the seas 

till finally at whale fall

 it sinks to rest –

a carbon store 

for evermore 

upon the ocean bed.

Counting on … day 32

16th December 2021

Tackling the causes of global warming requires all of us to undertake changes in the way we live. In particular we need to make changes in the way we consume and in how much we consume. We are encouraged to be conscientious about how we shop: shopping locally, avoiding excess packaging, buying fairly traded products, supporting businesses that pay the Living Wage etc. In Sheen we have both a refill shop, a Saturday market, and an Amazon supermarket! It is up to us to make the right choices to shape the high street we want – and we have to count on each other doing the right thing too!

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 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.