Spitting it out for good

I have flushed it right out of my life
I suddenly realized that, on a daily basis, I had been putting into my pretty little mouth stuff that nowadays I wouldn’t even use to clean my toilet bowl.

THE trouble with alternatives is that they are often unpalatable. I mean, who in their right mind would choose processed cheese over the real thing, or Smash instead of real mashed potato, not to mention Pringles as a substitute for Kettle real potato chips.

But sometimes, albeit rarely, the alternative can be better than the original, as I discovered when I started making my own mouthwash and flushed Listerine out of my life.

Now, don’t ask me why I ever needed mouthwash in the first place. All I’m prepared to tell you is that my girlfriend at the time had a strong aversion to the smell of cigarette smoke.

But I continued to buy this wretched product even after I had stopped smoking (and been ditched by the girl!) Why?

Continue reading

Advertisements

Taking the bloom off Valentine’s Day

Taking the bloom off Valentine's
Growing flowers for Valentine’s Day, weddings,  funerals and so many other occasions, is damaging the soil, the air, and the water supply.  [Photo by Pieter van Marion].
THERE was a day when when a bunch of flowers, preferably roses, was a must on Valentine’s Day. But that was when CO₂ levels in the atmosphere were within acceptable limits. Those days are gone, and won’t be coming back for centuries, if ever.

To be honest, even back in the day, I always thought there was something kind of wasteful and extravagant about cut flowers. Here today, wilted tomorrow, and then, sorrowfully, into the bin and off to the landfill in the back of a gas-guzzling garbage truck.

Potted plants made a lot more sense. At least  potted plants lasted a couple of weeks or so, and in many cases could be replanted.

But this blog is not about monetary waste, it’s about carbon footprint and costs to the planet, a planet that I love. And this year, I have pledged never again to buy a cut flower, not on Valentine’s Day, not for a wedding, not for a funeral or birthday or any other special occasion where unthinking marketeers tell me to “Say it with Flowers”.

How does cutting back on cut flowers affect my carbon footprint?

Continue reading

Steaming hot Iceland

Iceland’s ‘walking’ pylons
I want us to follow Iceland’s ‘walking’ pylons. We don’t have to wait until 2030 for clean electricity; it’s here, right now. Let’s go for it whilst there’s still time.                  [Photo by the FreeDictionary]
USING CarbonFootprint.Com to calculate my footprint made me realize that eating in or eating out, buying second-hand clothing instead of new, or buying food that isn’t packaged (or has very little packaging), makes a real difference to my impact on the environment. No other carbon calculator that I know of takes these factors into account.

The other thing I really like about this tool is that the first thing it asks is which country I live in. This is very relevant, particularly when it comes to calculating my impact from electricity usage.

If you live in a country like Iceland, where they generate 100% of their electricity with renewables (75% from large hydro, and 25% from geothermal) your carbon footprint from electricity consumption is zero.

By contrast, if you live in a country like Poland or China, where a high percentage of electricity is generated from burning coal, your carbon footprint from your usage of electricity will probably be huge.

What can you do about it?