Sunday, September 28, 2008

This weeks challenge!!! Back to the beginning!

Righto, now I have got your attention, it is time to get busy with extending out these challenges.

To keep it simple (it is Sunday, I have just spent a lovely weekend in Antwerp drinking beer with Billy Bragg no less and frankly can't be bothered to think of something new and, let's be honest now, the first time round even my own wife was useless) so this week I am asking you all to give up using plastic bags.

Easiest way to do this is to take your own canvas bag into the supermarket (most of them sell reusable ones these days) with you or carry a fashionable man bag type thing and look cool like me!

Of course it is not that easy, what about fruit and veg? Well Sarah got a few funny looks, but this worked... take tuppaware or similar, weigh the veg and stick the price tag to the box.

What else? Well, if you must use a bag, ask for paper. Start looking to the market instead of the supermarket for your food (we'll get onto food miles later) or best yet, sign up to a local organic service and get random dinner for a week.

If anyone has any recipes for kohlrabi, we seem to get the stuff every week...

Please let me know how you are getting on, and ask questions, make suggestions for future challenges and please, teach me how to be better at the environment!

Good luck!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The first challenges... They'll be back!

So we got home and tried to think of what to do. The first idea was to try and spend a week being veggie. All was pretty good there. Sarah barely noticed, I started looking at dogs a bit oddly but made it through.

Next up was plastic bags, a whole week without using any! I was superb, Sarah failed on day one and pretty much every day after. Then again I don't do much shopping and my local chinese takeaway does paper bags.

The next week we decided to try and look at electricity. This is quite an weird one as the facts out there are pretty scary. Did you know that:

1. Your phone charger still uses as much electricity whether your phone is plugged in or not?
2. The digital clock on your microwave uses as much power as using the microwave on full power all day every day?
3. Your TV, stereo, dvd, laptop etc, use as much as 80% of their total power while on stand by?

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much electricity being used when it isn't needed it is shameful!

I'm still learning about all this, but hope to be able to back this up with more facts and stats soon. (Did you know that you can prove 83% of things with statistics?)

We'll be rolling out some of these challenges in the coming months...

This weeks challenge is a beginners level one, but important nonetheless, RECYCLING!

Recycling is fairly easy, but is so easy to forget. Plus there is so little information on exactly what to recycle. What do you do with lightbulbs for example?

So, this week, try to recycle as much as possible!

So here is how it began...

Well, those of you that know me will be well aware that I am an avid fan of gadgets, gizmos, fast food, faster women, booze, fun and general malarkery, but while on my honeymoon recently I read a book. It was very good actually. Once I finished that one I read another, Crap at the Environment by Mark Watson. That's where it all started to go wrong (not the honeymoon, so far Sarah and I are still very happily married and at least 85% of the time we are on speaking terms - I have slept on the sofa a couple of times mind...). Anyway, I digress (though Sarah plays a big part in all that will follow on here...), so there I was, reading this book and realising, "hmmm, this guy is as bad as me at the environment, maybe I should try a bit harder..." while at the same time thanking my lucky stars I didn't share his welsh accent.

I had bought that Al Gore film, I even tried to watch it once, but never really got into it and switched back to watching American Dad again.

But now I was sure I was ready, I am going to make a difference!!! Every week I am going to take a little step towards become better at the environment, and as sure as hell, I was going to tell everyone about it!

Once I finished the book, Sarah read it and, since she is a much better person than me and has a lot more substance to her than my random outbursts, she came on board which meant I was actually going to have to do this thing.

So what have we done so far? Well, as per the book, one of the first places I went was to get a bit of an idea of my own carbon footprint. Superb I thought, about 3 tons, I am probably about average, just cut it down a bit and I'll be aces. Then Sarah did it for both of us and it turns out it was closer to 15 tons!!!! I am sure mine is still 3, so my wife MUST be using 12 tons all by herself. And she doesn't even use hairspray!

What happened next was almost entirely out of the book, we decided to set ourselves a challenge each week and try to stick to it. These challenges have been pretty good so far, I am avoiding any that involve being smelly or anything. Environment light i guess.

So here it is, my environmentally challenged blog to describe, hopefully encourage, probably end in disaster, but will maybe make you laugh along the way. The thing is, I would really like you to join in these challenges too and suggest your own. I realise that I am rubbish at this, so if any of you know stuff I need to know, please feel free to tell me.

Thanks to the crowd at The Well and Heather, Janice and Lucy for already getting me going... Let's see where it goes!