Step 1: Understand your enemy
Firstly, you must keep in mind the importance of space and the unimportance of stuff. I borrowed The Story of Stuff from the library, to help the process (see the video version here). The idea is simple. Continue reading
Author: Susan George
This is the most intense, chilling books I have ever read, leaving me speechless for hours. It appears to be morphing from fiction to non-fiction as time moves on. George’s astute observations of our world helped her foresee the path we have stumbled along since 1999, when the first edition was published. Reminiscent of Swift’s A Modest Proposal, the straight-faced satirical style led to difficulties if readers did not finish the book and believed the report to be real. The new edition, published in 2003, includes an introduction by the author to avoid this misunderstanding.
The premise of the book is that a group of experts have been asked to determine how capitalism can survive in the 21st Century, what the threats are to its long-term preservation and what actions should be taken now to reduce the risks of these threats. See this excellent summary by Frances Hutchinson, for more details.
Following the book, you may feel as powerless and wordless as I did. I recommend visiting these sites for further guidance on what can be done.
TNI: Transnational Institute of Policy Studies.
Feasta: The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability
Whilst the messages in the book are not the easiest to digest, it is a superbly written book that I couldn’t put down until I had finished. Read it, and then lend it to a friend.
Hair dryers are notoriously energy hungry, so surely shorter hair that is quicker to dry could reduce carbon without changing your lifestyle…
Through laziness, I had become ‘the one with the long hair’. This is an acceptable and safe description, and through fear of ending up with a worse descriptive characteristic, I’d stuck with it for my entire life so far. But I wanted to know how much extra carbon my hair costs. I use a hair dryer on work days, so I cut half of it off to see if I use half the energy.
Pre-haircut hairdrying would take 4.5 minutes.
Post-haircut hairdrying takes 1.5 minutes.
Hairdryer is 2 kW
Average UK grid electricity for 2013 was 0.44548 kg CO2e/kWh
Energy saving is 0.1 kWh per use (2 kW for 0.05 hours (3 minutes))
I dry my hair every other day, which adds up to 18.25 kWh/yearGiving a grand total of 8.1 kg CO2e saving per year.
It’s not exactly going to save the world as we know it, but it is a reduction for no effort whatsoever. Although, losing all my powers may be a price too far!
If your political involvement extends no further than turning up to vote, then you are missing a significant lever for influencing change.
Your money does not sit idly in a bank vault somewhere waiting for you to take it out. Giving your money to a bank means they can be sending it off to do all sorts of mischief on your behalf. By choosing your bank and your pension, you are also voting for what your money invests in. Banks invest in war, rainforest destruction or anything else that will make them money such as those shown in the video below.
To make financial investment and banking decisions, visit Ethical Consumer for the best advice. As the concept of ‘ethical’ can mean different things to different people, you can choose what areas of ‘ethical’ are most important to you. They also filter through the greenwash to help understand how a company has come up with the term ‘ethical’.
And as a further prompt, if you still bank with the big high street banks, take a look at this video…