One of the most common arguments I hear when discussing environmental issues is the “what can I do to save the environment?” question. And this is
not a genuine request for information on how to be green but a cry of exasperation! A statement of “what’s the point”
I can see why. We are so often told about climate change, melting ice caps in faraway lands, desertification in Africa, loss of biodiversity in the
Amazon... the problem is so massive it can seem daunting. This is something I discussed once before in one of my old threads
Think local, not Global
In this thread I wanted to address the issue of the constant media bombardment of massive problems with grandiose schemes to fix them. This approach
takes the responsibility away from us and encourages environmental apathy by making us reliant on governments, corporate and organisations.
Another common argument (especially on ATS) is the one that bounces the ball back into the court of the person who passionate about environmental
issues. This is done by asking the question... “what have YOU done to save the environment?” this is normally accompanied by statements of how
everything you do harms the environment and how the computer that you are typing on is made of plastic and metals etc...
As far as I am concerned this is nothing but an attempt at deflection... batting away the problem by stating the obvious... Yes the computer that I am
typing on was created using techniques that damage the environment... but is it as simplistic as that?? Should that be the end of the debate “oh ok,
you’re right, my computer harmed the environment so let’s just give up on the environment and do whatever we want with no regard for the negative
So... after hearing these arguments used time and time again I thought I would create a thread to show what I have done to try and minimise my
footprint on this world.
It wasn’t so long ago (maybe 15 years) that I was nothing more than an armchair environmentalist... Getting angry on forums while still being part
of the problem. I first started taking an interest in the environment as a child... not sure why... no great revelation or anything like that... I
just seemed to care and have an interest for nature. But for years I simply moaned about the environment. I still ate fast food, wanted the latest
gadgets, purchased items without giving thought to their creation. I guess you could argue that I was a hypocrite... but I would disagree... I was
merely in the early stages of environmentalism. And it is the reason I do not judge others that are “armchair environmentalist” The first change
that everyone has to make is the change within themselves... and I see the armchair guys as just that, taking the first steps of change. They also
provide another crucial role, that of “spreading the word”... helping to get the topic out in the open and discussed rather than being ignored.
Time has moved on since then and I figured that maybe I should share with ATS the changes my family and i have made. I would consider myself to be in
the middle stage of my own personal environmental revolution... I will share what I have done and what my future plans are. And maybe, just maybe, it
will help some of your personal revolutions. Or maybe some of you will have ideas on how I can do things better.
When we first made the decision to start acting rather than just talking the first thing we did was boycott certain things. Fast food was the first.
Food production techniques is a major factor in environmental degradation around the world... vast swathes of forest destroyed, mono-culture farming,
chemicals and fertilisers etc... all of this is encouraged by fast food and convenience food. Not only did reducing these help the environment but it
also helps with your personal health. However, this alone was not enough... so we also decided to boycott out of season imported foods. If we are
going to have food that is out of season we look for food that was grown in Britain and then frozen, tinned or pickled. If you live in Britain and are
enjoying fresh strawberries in February the likelihood is that they have been shipped in from abroad.
After this we decided to stop replacing things that are not broken. Mobile phones, cameras, computers, TVs etc.. are often replaced even though they
have many more years of use left in them. Replaced simply because they are either out of fashion or cannot perform the latest craze! So... we keep all
of our gadgets until they are no longer fit for purpose... to give you an example my Video camera takes cassettes and my phone is... er... I don’t
actually know the model... but this is what it looks like...
Obviously we became more energy conscious too. We make a point of ensuring that lights, which are not in use, are switched off. We do not leave the TV
or the computer on when not in use. We do not leave the heating on when we are out. Mobile phone chargers are unplugged once they have finished
It always amazes me how so many people complain about energy costs but will have almost every light on in their home. I remember being a child and my
father going nuts once because I‘d left the bathroom light on after going to the toilet. We could barely afford the electric bill and leaving lights
on was not an option. And this was in the days before mobile phones, computers, dishwashers, computers, games consoles and all the other power hungry
gadgets and utilities we now take for granted.
The next thing we did was a very simple one... we all decided to spend far more time in the outdoors. Walks in the forest, more time in the garden,
take the kids to the park more, visits to our local garden centre, I started gardening.... We also decided to not let the weather become the deciding
factor of if we should go out of not. There are four glorious seasons in Britain... sadly most people only ever venture out during one of them and, as
amazing as summer may be, we have found that autumn, winter and spring offer just as much in the way of beauty (even if you do have to wrap up) Rain,
sleet and snow do not stop us.
This may not sound like much but the more time we spent outdoors the less time we spent in front of power hungry gadgets; namely, TV’s, game
consoles and computers!
Once again, this not only benefits the environment but also our own health and that of our children. Our kids are exercising their legs instead of
their thumbs. Their brains are being filled with the wonders of nature instead of the programming of TV.
Our next decision was to start buying second hand whenever we could. We also started excepting hand-me-downs we once would have turned away. People
buy clothes for their children which are often out grown long before they have turned to rags. Often these clothes are thrown out rather than recycled
or passed down to other kids. There is an element of snobbery regarding second hand clothes which is quite ridiculous. Clothes in Britain have become
ridiculously cheap thanks to stores like Primark and Matalan. This is great for family’s on a budget but unfortunately it has also help sustain a
throw away culture in Britain. People (especially young people) often seeking the latest fashion and trends will think nothing of wearing a garment
once or twice before replacing it with something newer.
edit on 13-6-2012 by Muckster because: (no reason given)
edit on 13-6-2012 by Muckster because: (no reason