Wednesday, January 24, 2007

At What Cost?

There is lots of talk here in the UK on climate change and an individuals carbon footprint. It's true we need to be constantly reminded of our effect on the environment. One of the hot topics being discussed in the media these days is air travel and the impact the low cost airlines in Europe are having on pollution. Read this article from the Yorkshire Post.

I'm not sold on this argument just yet. I love to travel (but hate to fly) but I strongly believe the world is a better place if people get out there and experience different cultures. I find people that are world travellers are more open minded, accepting and understanding of others. By getting out there and meeting new people and experiencing a life outside of the box you daily exist in, you quickly learn that you are NOT the centre of the universe and perhaps we can all get along a little better.

How many wars and conflicts are started because the two sides have not made an effort to truly understand one another. In my opinion (and it's just that, my opinion) I think this is worth the negative impact on the environment. The few flights a year I do take can't make that much of a difference.

However there are many things I can do every day that will make an impact. Recycling and compost are 2 that quickly come to mind. When I was still living in Burnaby, I had curbside weekly pick up of recycling. Not just bottles, cans and paper (all kinds of paper & cardboard) but also a wide variety of plastics and tetra packs as well. Then all my raw food scraps went in the compost bin in the backyard to be turned into wonderful rich topsoil to be dug into the garden that spring. I was lucky if I had one small grocery bag of garbage a month.

I am sad to say that is not the case here. The recycle bins in around Glasgow only seem to collect tin cans, plastic & glass bottles and newspaper. Yet the grocery stores here insist on prepackaging everything in plastic that is not recyclable. I must buy 9 tomatoes in a plastic dish wrapped in cellophane, or 3 zucchini's in a plastic dish wrapped in cellophane, the broccoli is covered in plastic wrap etc etc etc. What a complete waste! I try my best to go to a fruitier or cash and carry where the veggies are in a loose bin and I take my reusable shopping bag with me. Then I live in a tenement building with no compost bin in the back close. Surely this city can do more to encourage recycling and compost? In a country so small it is in their own best interest to do so as there is limited space for land fills.

Reduce, reuse, recycle, walk or take public transit rather than drive when possible, take a mug to the coffee shop rather than getting a take-a-way cup, get a programmable thermostat on your boiler, turn off the lights if you're not in the room, replace bulbs with energy efficient florescent, plant a garden, compost raw food scraps, take a shower rather than a bath (share the shower if you're so inclined) - you get the idea. None of these things require all that much effort but do have an impact on your surroundings. It's something that we can all do, every day. Think of the accumulative impact a population of 600,000 (that's Glasgow) could have.

What do you think?

No comments: