Saturday 16 September 2017

The Saturday List #147 - Ten Ways You Can Help Save The Planet

What do you want for the future? Do you care about the inheritance you leave to your children? Yesterday, I had one of those "what would you do if you won the lottery?" conversations with a friend of mine. It was in light of the huge Euromillions payout. She said "I'd buy some land and build a little estate that all my family and close friends could live on". I thought it was a lovely idea. A real legacy. She explained she was not materialisitic and got the most pleasure not from cars, jewellery or clothes but from being around people she loved. It got me thinking. I am also not particularly materialistic. I like nice holidays, nice wine ( although I stop at around a tenner a bottle usually) and I have a weakness for electric guitars. But if I won the lottery, I thoought it would be great to help my friends and family in a really positive way. Maybe I could buy them all solar panels, to cut their electric bills, buy them electric cars, to cut emissions, pay for better insulation. Then I thought, hang on. We should all be making our legacy to our friends and family a cleaner, healthier planet. So I thought, it's high time I put together a list of simple, achievable ways we can all help make our city better, our neighbourhood better and our lives better. Lung diseases related to pollution are ever more prevalent. So here is my list of ten ways you can combat it. You may not be able to do all of them, but any will help in a small way. If we all thought globally and acted locally, it would make a huge difference.

1. Dump Amazon, buy locally. The rise of delivery services has resulted in a huge number of vans and lorries driving around delivering all manner of goods. A walk down to the high street is good for the constitution. Of course there is stuff you can't get locally, but when you can, use your local shops, put monet back into the community!

2. Walk or cycle for all journeys of a mile or less. Again this is good for your health, will save you money and if you change your mindset and decide that you will make walking or cycling your first choice means of transport, you will find your wallet at the end of the week has a fair few more pennies in. Buy a shopping trolley if you don't want to carry heavy bags. What we need is a new generation of shopping trolleys that are cool!

3. Use public transport where possible for your journeys. The buses and trains will run whether you are on them or not. If you can use them, then that will cut the pollution.

4. Investigate working from home. If you run a firm, do you encourage staff to work from home where it is practical? If your firm allows it have you checked it out. Cutting out those journeys will cut pollution in our towns and high streets.

5. Turn off lights when you are not in the room and only boil enough water to make the drinks you want. I once read that the UK could close two coal fired power stations if we all turned off lights when we weren't in the room and only filled kettles with the amount of water we need to have a tea or coffee. It suggested that when we make tea, we pour the water into a cup and then tip this into the kettle. All that water left at the bottom at the end has been heated, costing you money. I also read that this would save us between £50 and £100 a year. We make all our coffee using a Nespresso, it only heats exactly the amount you want and the pods are recycled. I love gadgets so it is an example of great use of technology and green thinking!

6. Make your next car electric. Have you ever considered getting an electric car? The technology is improving all the time and for many of us, they would perfectly fit in with our lifestyles.

Mill Hill Music Complex Studio 100% Carbon neutral
7. Fit solar panels on your roof. This is an investment in your future. Again it will save you money. There are loan schemes that mean it will actually cost you nothing, as the pay back will cover the cost of the loan. It just means that in future your electricity bills will go down. Our studio is 100% carbon neutral, as we have huge solar panels on the roof. If you run a business, you should investigate this. We actually earn quite a lot selling electricity back to the network. We believe all new buildings should be compelled to include solar panels. It is ridiculous to be burning fossil fuels when such solutions are available.

8.  Plant a tree in your garden. Trees use the CO2 in the atmosphere and turn it into wood. When we burn coal, we are simply releasing carbon from fossilised wood back into the atmosphere. If you plant and apple or pear tree you will also get some lovely fresh fruit. What could be better?

9. Put a small pond in your garden. If you have a garden, then you can help the local ecosystem by putting a small pond in. It is a source of water for wildlife and birds, amphibians will colonise it, who feed on slugs and snails. If you live in Mill Hill, there is a great pond supplier at Finchley Nurseries who can help advise.

10. Don't buy products with lots of packaging. Most of this goes into landfill sites. This costs councils huge amounts of money. Make a conscious effort to choose products such as loose tomatoes and potatoes. If you have bought tomatoes etc, reuse the plastic bag. 

Now of course it's up to you if you do any of all of these, but if you do, you'll be fitter, healthier, have more cash in your wallet at the end of the week, have a great supply of apples or pears at this time of the year, have regular visits from local wildlife, have a thriving high street and leave behind a less polluted world. What is not to like?