Last year, following James Renwick’s talk on climate change, we wrote two (2!) blogs about how to “pick the low hanging fruit” of climate change. To start this new year we thought we’d list some of our medium term things that you can start planning for now.
The growing season is in full swing in the Southern Hemisphere, and here in Thames we are lucky to have a pretty long growing season. You can still plant something now and expect a yield. If you are a complete novice and have never planted anything before go along to the Bright Smile Community garden work day every Thursday (northern end of Mackay St) from 9-12 to get a feel for what is growing in this climate right now. Once again the library has a number of books on growing too. The benefits of growing your own things are numerous; you know where it has come from and what is on it, there is little or no packagaing associated with it, and less waste in that you can, for example, pick only a few leaves of a lettuce instead of a whole head which then goes soft in your fridge.
Home gardening goes hand in hand with composting. There are a number of excellent web resources on how to get a compost bin or worm farm started, what to put in, what to avoid. Most importantly, the WHY of composting is a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at the landfill, and a reduction of valuable resources into the waste stream. When vegetative waste and food scraps end up in a landfill they break down anaerobically (without oxygen) to release methane. In your home compost bin you’d have to work pretty hard to get an anaerobic environment, and yes, there are gas emissions from the aerobic breakdown of waste, but it is young carbon dioxide; it has been captured and released on a short timescale (compared to that released during fossil fuel burning which was captured while in ancient history).
Appliances dying is really a nuisance most modern appliances are simply not repairable (compare this to the toaster my (Robyn) parents were given as a wedding present in the 70s, which was only retired 3 decades, and a few repairs, later). If possible, chose to avoid compulsory obsolescence; ask at the shop what the expected useful life is likely to be like and base a decision on that. It is also worth asking how repairable an item is.
In the last few decades there has been a shift towards light bulbs and lighting systems that are more efficient in their energy use. Modern day LED bulbs fit into standard fittings, and according to Consumer NZ will save you $14.38 per year over the life of the bulb compared to an incandescent. Make this your first medium term change!
What is going to be the first medium term saving you achieve in 2018?
Feature image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ky0ncheng/