Testing times

September 2nd, 2019

First, it was really good to get a number of positive responses to my ‘appeal’ email last week, thank you – I feel encouraged to carry on with what I’m doing…

I find it very moving and humbling to hear from young people who are committed to living their lives in a way that ‘touches lightly on the earth’ – it is not their fault, after all, that the world is in this mess!

As David Attenborough has said, it is his and my generation that should take responsibility, and resolve to change things. One of my (older!) friends told me about a German botanist in the late 1700s who warned that we should take care of the Amazon rainforests. Why do we not learn? And another contemporary pointed me to a website called onehome.org.uk – very helpful, straightforward and ‘normal’!  Check it out. Business, selling & buying stuff, is not bad after all – the growth of green companies is what is needed.

Now, a quiz for my younger readers, and anyone else who’s interested of course – one of my sons (the father of my grandson) drew my attention to it: the American news channel CNN, with a group called Project Drawdown, tests our knowledge about the best ways to tackle climate change, by individuals, industries and policy makers. 

Visit carbonliteracy.com to test yourself.

The top five solutions suggest that limiting the impacts of climate change is well within our reach, I’m happy to report. We already have the means and technology to effectively carry out all the solutions, two of which can easily be carried out on an individual level. This goes to show that individual action can and does have a significant impact in preventing runaway climate change.

Now, our personal experience. As I think I mentioned last week, we’ve had solar panels installed on the roof of our new home. We had them on our previous old Victorian school building, but then we were eligible for the government’s Feed in Tariff scheme, so we not only generated electricity for ourselves but for the National Grid who paid well. The government has scrapped the incentive Feed in Tariff. There will be a new scheme next year (Smart Export Guarantee), through which we can sell our excess electricity – but this will vary, depending on people’s energy companies: the companies can set their own prices, significantly lower than the FiT. Mm….

I still want to ‘sing the praises’ of solar panels, however! They do reduce electricity bills significantly. They are expensive (we paid £7,000 for a 3.6kw system, 12 panels, inclusive of installation and advanced inverter technology), but less expensive than a new car! And the installation is not disruptive – it took a day for ours to be put in place (scaffolding erection either side of that). We were making electricity straight away.

So hurry, get your solar panels now! Sorry, I got carried away, I don’t actually work for a solar company…It’s just that in October VAT will start being charged on panels, for some ridiculous reason…

Anyway, I’m going to return to the subject of our diet – see last blog… I’ve been looking into the Archers and Brookside Farm’s moves to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the emissions are apparently from ‘the biological processes that underpin the daily rhythms of the cow, such as feeding and dunging and are inherent in the production of milk’. Changes in feed mix, feed efficiency, manure management and reductions in imports of feedstuffs can, however, improve matters.

It would ultimately be better, of course, if so much land wasn’t used to raise cows (and grow food for them) in the first place, but it is good that organisations such as DairyCo are facing the facts.

I’ll close now with letting you know that I’ve written to McDonalds, Amazon and IKEA (plus the magazines GQ and Vogue, who ‘celebrated’ Greta Thunberg recently). I’m addressing the issue of boycotting Brazilian beef; but also asking for declarations of support (even solidarity action…?!) for the Global Climate Strike on September 20th.

We’ll see, as always, if I get any replies. I very much doubt I’ll hear from JBS meat!

A very sad, sobering postscript is the news about Hurricane Dorian, battering the Bahamas – it’s on its way to the US….. surely we all have to do something?

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