By Duncan Cox
As we all adapt to change since Covid and in recognition of Earth Overshoot Day, I have reviewed some of my and my family’s lifestyle choices that may be worth sharing to help inspire others in living a more sustainable life.
As a two-car family, this has been on the agenda for a while. We had found that we were using our cars less and less even before Covid and had considered the possibility of reducing to one car more than once. I had tried more than once historically to get in the habit of not using the car when I was in the office for the day or travelling elsewhere by train but had failed. My wife had also considered cycling to work as a viable option.
Just before Covid we had taken the decision that I would walk as much as possible (it’s about 35 minutes to the office) and with my Wife on the bike when she could we had reached the point of needing about 1.2 of a car. Well with Covid we have taken the step of selling one of the two cars we run so now it is for us to get this to work
Ironically with the slow return from lockdown this has yet to be tested but my wife cycled to work twice last week and that is a pattern we would choose to continue – even considering investing in a e-bike if that makes her commute up a large local hill a better option.
We had invested in two compost bins a couple of years ago and have been successfully diverting all our veg peelings, egg shells and some of our paper waste plus some of those ‘compostable’ containers you get from your local ‘café that has become a takeway’.
As with many who are blessed with having a garden in lockdown we spent some time creating vegetable beds and using our own compost we are beginning to see the literal fruits (and vegetables) of our labours. The spinach and salad leaves were a definite success and various broad beans, potatoes and others hold great promise. Having decided not to use sprays, we are sad to report the demise of the runner beans that were completely stripped by something.
We had planned to go across to glass only bottles for ages but never took the step. Having had to self-isolate early on in lockdown, we found it ideal to swap over to a milk delivery particularly when they already came next door. It’s a bit more expensive than the supermarket but zero plastic milk cartons now feels good – yes I know they have to be washed each time so it’s not perfect but a positive step I hope.
The vegetable nets (as documented in Sustainability gets personal 3) continue to be well used and we’ve bought some more. A visit to a local farm shop (now by bike) who have the vast majority of their produce plastic free has become a regular part of our routine.
Just before lockdown we invested in a water-butt. It was 25 litres and seemed huge particularly when trying to put it in place. The connection was a pain when putting it in and I had to cut the rainwater pipe in half and add brackets to make sure the pipe didn’t fall off the wall. Nonetheless it did us very well for the first 10 days of lockdown with our vegetable patches and the connection meant that it quickly re-filled when it did eventually rain again.
No waste shopping
Our local small shop really successfully converted across to a collection service with a bookable slot where the on line order is ready for collection. They can’t refill our existing cartons anymore but have a re-usable glass bottle option (with refundable deposit) plus paper bags for other things.
Covid has had such a huge impact on all of our lives and has literally forced us to address every day activities over the last couple of months with some really drastic changes for most. As a family, I am pleased that it has forced us to make some of the decisions we have been thinking about for some time. While we have to live with Covid, it doesn’t mean that reacting to climate change and our looking after our environment should come second.
Read what some of my colleagues have been up to with their sustainability stories for Earth Overshoot Day #MoveTheDate