Sunday, May 13

Green Manifesto – write your own!

For the last few months I have been researching a post about palm oil (long story don’t ask) and so I have perused an awful lot of ‘green’ websites. I’m not going to criticize them or the people who have written them, many dedicating their lives to environmental issues, BUT and it’s a big but I came away feeling very overwhelmed by all the information, wanting to do the right thing, but without having to sacrifice my life to trying to save the planet or try to live my life by a set of unattainable rules .
I guess I have more time than most women my age; I could even describe my self as time rich as I don’t work or have children so I have no excuse not to recycle or cook from scratch and all the other little things environmentally aware people are meant to do but I fear that there are more people out there being turned off by what has become a middle class pursuit of saving the planet.
It’s very easy to become smug and judgemental about other people’s life choices. Yesterday for instance I did my food shop in M&S. There was a time when I was always in there buying dinners and over packaged everything, but these days I rarely visit. I had decided to go there as I have to do a lot of painting this week and I know I won’t be able to prepare and cook all our food form scratch as well ( chronic health problem in case you’re wondering). Also I had run out of carrier bags that I use to put our rubbish in so I didn’t take my bags for life with me. The lady at the check out was very keen for me to purchase some bags for life so I explained to her that I had purposely left my already generous supply of said bags in the car because I wanted carrier bags to reuse other wise I would only be buying bin liners made from plastic to fill up with rubbish so although I agree that carrier bags are bad if you just thrown them away when you get home they aren’t if you reuse them.
This is why we all need to think about our own circumstances and make our choices based on sensible logic.
Green products are big money and it’s easy, very easy to get sucked into literally buying into it – we all love to buy things, now we justify spending more money to acquire ecco friendly products when what we really need to be doing is not buying anything!
This is why I am making my own manifesto for green living – I’m not advocating you adhere to it as your circumstances may be and probably are completely different to mine.
I urge you all to be interested in environmental issues, but question what you read and perhaps discuss it with your friends and family, don’t just do it with out thinking – for instance Ecover products - I did my unscientific experiments with them so you know I don’t rate them particularly – do you buy them (if you can afford them) or could you actually use the extra money on something else that might help the environment more? Discuss.
I do some very shameful un-green things – shall I confess? Since Harry has changed to ‘wet’ food(skin problems long story don’t ask) I can’t recycle his empty tins of Butcher’s Tripe because if dog(or cat)food touches my fingers I retch so I can’t clean them out to put them in the recycling bin. 1 tin a day, 365 days a year – he’s 10 and probably has another 5 0r 6 years so that’s 2,190 tins that will be going into landfill because I am squeamish about dog food!
I don’t have a compost heap – yet - as the smell of rotting food makes me….. retch – there’s been a few sticky moments when my neighbour has been showing me her wormery which isn’t always odour free as those naughty worms have been slacking. But I am trying to become a light consumer of? well everything. My role models are the population of Great Britain during the Second World War. Everyone rich or poor had to change their consumption of resources whether it was food, clothes, heating – everything was measured and rationed and the majority of the population were the healthier for it.
It is much more difficult today – a self enforced reduction of what is now cheap and plentiful but at what cost? I am about to generalise here but it is hard to find something not made in China these days – yes Primark make cheap clothes made in China – M&S oh yes China, Burberry? China.
Chickens – if I think about them for too long I cry. What the hell are we all eating?
Gigibird’s personal Manifesto for a greener life and making her footprint small
• Before I buy anything I ask ’do I really need this?’
• How does this purchase impact on the environment?
• Can I make this myself?
• Recycle as much as I can
• Can I reuse this?
• Buying home-grown seasonal food
• Buying free-range meat, but not using too much of it
• Can anyone else use this now I no longer use it?
• Can I help other people discover the pleasure and joy of becoming environmentally responsible?

Over the next few weeks I will be focusing on a few of these issues in depth, so if there is anything you'd like me to pontificate on let me know and maybe we can discuss them together!


  1. There is so much information and much of it contradictory.I think making small changes that you can accomodate in your life is the logical first step, rather than trying to embrace too much change and loosing heart quickly. Using shopping bags, turning off taps, lights and electric equipment, recycling and freecycling take little effort and could be the start of a path to a much deeper green. My current bugbear is the tetrapac contaniers that fruit juice comes in - how can they be recycled? Hope you overcome your eewwgghh feeling as my bin is a lot emptier since I started my compost heap!

  2. I open the post, tear out the 'windows', recycle the envelopes and any other trash as I still haven't done the PPS (postal preference service),take my bag of recycling to my recycling bin, pick up my bags for life to go to Tescos, return any plastic bags to the Tesco recycling bin, glass to the one across the road, worry about the size of my vehicle engine and the carbon it is emitting, most of my unwanted belongings go to a charity shop. I must say, though, it all takes time (no wonder I can't get out in the mornings)and for our individual efforts there are so many who are not yet respnding to this issue. I am disheartened at the supermarket when so few people are re-using their bags and I see rubbish just tipped at the side of the road. Shops are always asking 'do you need a bag' but they don't supply paper ones. Wouldn't these be a more environmentally friendly choice? Then the cynic in me thinks about China and their lack of involvement in this subject. This comment is too long but I shall post it anyway and wish you luck with this one!!!

  3. I have far to many comments (and rants) to reply to this post in full - we are about to flee the SE and build an Eco house in Scotland - we will be as green and earth friendly as we can but i do feel swamped by the info out there.
    Like you i have done a lot of research on the subject and i have come to the conclusion that it is SO important for us to follow this path but not to break our backs doing it!
    We will do what we think is right and we will be happy to share our findings with others but i do not want to become one of these eco warriors who preaches to all.
    Great post - looking forward to further discussions.
    Tracy x

  4. Hi Jo,
    I am on the case of getting a compost heap – I am thinking of getting Stella’s talented brother to make me something out of wood… will have to be attractive yet unobtrusive…..I’m working on a design
    Hi Stella
    No wonder you’re so slim:)
    I do know what you mean about some not doing anything and others doing everything…….
    I don’t know how you can get everyone doing their bit – to make them want to help the environment. I’ve seen so many children just throwing their sweet wrappers on the floor - what ever happened to Keep Britain Tidy? Remember litter duty at school?
    Paper bags used to be used and could be again but I think the stumbling block is cost –

  5. Hello Tracy
    It’s a real conundrum – it’s admirable what you’re doing but being environmentally aware and responsible needs to be on everyone’s agenda and it’s how do you do that?
    It’s so frustrating just how difficult it is to obtain unbiased information to make informed choices for those of us who are wanting to do the right thing.

  6. I don't have time to write a proper comment - but Stella I have been appalled in my smugness to find (after a bit of research) that paper bags are not necessarily more "green" than plastic as they use more energy in manufacture.
    I don't shop at the superemarket as I feel so guilty about the bin full on plastic that I am left with - it is also more expensive as I buy things I don't need as I see them and am SEDUCED.

  7. That’s so interesting about the paper bags – this is when I wish there was a source of unbiased information –
    The sad thing about supermarkets is in many areas that’s all there is – all the small independent shops have gone. You are lucky if you can buy all your food from small retailers – it’s impossible down here.
    Stella was in Tescos the other day and she was the only person at the check out using bags for life.

  8. The Green Issue is overwhelming, but worth every little thing we do, and that includes the daft things that people laugh at you for. We got blue recyclable bins last week that now take cans, bottles, paper, card, egg cartons and certain plastic bottles. I can now recycle so much of my rubbish that my 'proper' rubbish bin only has 1 or 1 1/2 bags in it instead of the 3 it had before... and my blue bin gets full. (OK, so a purist would say I have to curb my consumption... but one step at a time, please!)

  9. Anonymous9:35 PM

    There's no tax on golf buggies, they're carbon neutral and they are great for bringing the shopping home.

  10. I beleive that people should buy fewer things. This is an odd statement from a retailer but it is true. Mind you, you will note that I am voicing this opinion on the comments section of another blog and not on my own page!

    I believe that people should look after things better and not throw them out as soon as they are not the latest fashion. They would then last longer.

    I believe that people should spend more on the things they do buy (saving money by keeping things longer) - if things seem cheap there are probably dodgy moral issues to confront there.

    Do I adhere to all of this . . .mmmmm.


  11. I agree with you Jane.

    When I was growing up my mother used to go to Oxfam and buy me 2 dresses - one on and one in the wash.
    We all have too much of everything.
    I strive to live simply - but sometimes it gets very complicated trying to do so.
    Sadly I think even when things are expensive they don't always have a good provenance.
    It's a great life if you don't weaken.

  12. Well said, Lynn! I've been remiss catching up on many blogs lately with all the end of the year school activities of my kids. And when I revisit your blog, I find one of my favorite bloggers having one of her wonderful rants! I agree with you so very much! I do what I can to "be green", but would never want a "true green" person to check my trash or my cupboards. Thank goodness my cat only eats dry food - I never did wash out her tins of wet food when she did eat it (I retch alot, too)! We do compost (I suppose that accounts for the daily crow visitations), and it does make for wonderful CHEAP plant food. I can honestly say, the best luck this girl without green thumbs ever had with her plants was when she used her compost. One of our local grocer's has done away with plastic bags, and started selling reusable fabric totes - the totes sold out within minutes. I have plenty of fabric and can certainly make my own - still haven't done it though. But we do take the plastic bags back to the grocers and put it in their recycle bin.

  13. wow - didn't realize that was such a long post till I published it. sorry

  14. I sympathise with your confusion. Over the years we have tried to recycle & compost as much as possible even have solar hot water (yes it does work even in the north of scotland!) I have just finshed reading Tony Juniper's book 'How many lighbulbs does it take to change a planet- 95 ways to save planet earth' I thought I knew quite a bit about the environment and climate change but it cleared up many of my dilemas. Its very readable and challenging.
    All the best.


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