How many times have you heard or read the words “Climate Change” in the past week? And how do you feel? It is so tempting to think “but what can I do? One person won’t make any difference.” But we have to start somewhere. In 1962, the environmental book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson was published. The book outlines the destruction of the delicate balance of nature by the wholesale use of insecticides. Rachel Carson describes the balance of nature of the soil, of the earth’s waters, and of the organisms of the earth. Naturally, the book was fiercely opposed by chemical companies, but, owing to public opinion, it did lead to policy changes in the US Government which led to the banning of the pesticide DDT.
That was over SIXTY years ago. It has taken THAT long for the General Public to begin to listen and to consider what actions they are able to take. Horrifying photos on our televisions of turtles and whales dying because they were wrapped in fishing line; photos of seabird chicks starved to death because their mothers fed them bits of plastic in mistake for food and evidence of teeny particles of micro plastics in the fish we eat are beginning to have an impact. We need to do something. Thirty-five years ago I recall going to a meeting where we discussed the over packaging of the goods in our supermarket. Has anything changed? No. The consumer wants perfect, undamaged goods so the goods are protected by masses of plastic in one form or another.
It is even worse what we have done to our earth to enable intensive farming and mass food production. Cows are crammed into vast indoor sheds to facilitate milk production. Farmers’ fields are doused with pesticide spray and pumped with artificial fertilisers in order to increase crop yields. Inevitably these artificial products find their way into our food chain. We need to eat – I earnestly and sincerely hope that we can find a less toxic way of food production.
In the meanwhile, this month the Women’s institute has encouraged every member to “show the love” for climate change by debating and discussing the subject and making green hearts to send to their local MPs. What else can I do?
- Take my own bags to the supermarket
- Avoid food waste by closely observing use-by dates and only cooking enough, with no leftovers.
- Buy my dry goods loose at places like the Refill Shop in Leigh, re-using containers.
- Avoid using a car but take the bus or walk. Or car share with friends.
- Repair/alter my clothes instead of rushing out to buy new.
- Turn the central heating down one degree.
As I ponder what else I could do I realise the drawback with all this “Climate Change” stuff is that it means each one of us has to make the effort. In this twenty-first century we are so accustomed to “consumerism” and “convenience” that it is not going to be easy to change our ways.