5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 004 – 18 May ’19]

Motoring along to day 4 of the challenge.

I really feel I am getting the wheels rolling now.

Every day I dig a bit deeper and think a bit harder about what I do and the impact my actions have.

Can I do better?

1.  Electric Test Drive # 1 – Hyundai IONIQ

Today we had our first test drive in an electric car.

First up it was the Hyundai IONIQ at the Hyundai dealer in Aberystwyth – Shukers.

There are hybrid and full electric versions of the IONIQ. Unfortunately Shukars only had the hybrid version in stock but switched over to full electric mode this was just about the same as driving the full electric version.

The car drives super smooth and super quiet. It has a 170 mile range and an impressive array of electronic gadgetry onboard.

I certainly enjoyed driving it and it is definitely in the running. Although the split rear window and the 3 year age of the model do pop a couple of ticks on the negative column for this car.

Hyundai have another longer range electric model – the KONA with a more impressive 250 mile range – but the first batch has sold out and there won’t be any more available until March 2020.

Next on our test drive schedule before making a final choice are the Renault Zoe and the Nissan Leaf.

2.  Hey Supermarket, can you charge me up?

The big thing with electric cars is the range and the availability of charging stations.

There has been significant growth in the number of charging places in the past year but in Wales they are still pretty thin on the ground.

One obvious location for charging points is supermarkets. You could plug your car in while you do your shopping and it should be 80% charged by the time you come out.

I know a growing number of supermarkets in England are plugging in to the charging network but in Wales only a small handful are hooked up.

So I have started contacting all the supermarkets we visit across west and south Wales asking them if they would consider having a charging point.

I kicked off with Morrisons and Tesco this evening, more to follow.

Do the supermarkets around your area have electric charging points?

3. Too Good To Go is a super good idea

This is not something I have done as it is not available where I live, but my eldest daughter in Bristol used it for the first time today.

It is such a good idea I really wanted to share it.

Too Good To Go is a phone app where restaurants offer up at very cheap prices their surplus meals that will go to the waste stream if not used straight away.

My daughter loaded up 3 boxes of breakfast ingredients all for £2.50 (US$3.25) this morning from a hotel 10 minutes away. This was a great deal for a hard-up student – or anyone that wants to save money and save food waste.

It is mainly in the big cities but well worth checking out if you a city dweller.

According to the website Too Good To Go is already working with over 23,000 food donating partners in 11 countries across Europe. It has saved over 14 million meals equivalent representing a reduction of over 36 million Kg of CO2.

The app is available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

They also have a whole bunch of jobs on offer in case you are in Europe and looking for a job with a planet friendly company…


4. Organic, local, artisan bakery. Nail. Head

I visited a new bakery not too far from me today.

I knew they were setting up a while back but hadn’t realised how much they had expanded their range.

All sorts of loaves, buns, pastries and even some lovely cheese sticks.

It is organic, hand-baked on the premises, using artisan methods and not too far from me.

The prices are a good bit higher than supermarkets but in terms of quality and planet friendliness the products from this bakery are in a different league.

Definitely on the treat list when we don’t get round to baking ourselves.

5. The Daily Donation – The Soil Association

The Soil Association, based in Bristol, has been at the forefront of the organic movement in Britain since 1946.

They are the UK’s leading organic certification body and do sterling work promoting organic food production.

They were once on my target list of places to work, but that never came to pass.

Today to show some support I sent a £10 donation. I might upgrade that to a regular membership donation on the next round of donations.

Another great day on the planet.

I am feeling more fully charged up about this challenge with each passing day.

Maybe, just maybe I can make a teeny-weeny micro-bit of difference.

If I do, I’ll be happy. If I don’t – at least I tried.

[ header image from pixabay.com // other images by @pennsif ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 002 – 16 May ’19]

So it worked, I’ve now completed Day 2 and done another five good deeds for the planet.

And number one on today’s list, for me is a pretty big score.

One million plastic cups saved. Bang. Armchair activism at its best.

Thank you Waitrose – good work.

Here comes five…

1.  No More Plastic Peach Tea

Last weekend we were in Abergavenny in mid/south Wales.

Abergavenny is one of the few towns in Wales with a Waitrose store – a more upmarket supermarket with a large range of organic products.

It also has a nice litte cafe and as it was lunch time we decided to have some refreshments.

I chose peach tea. It was served in a disposable plastic cup with an unasked for straw.

This rather suprised me as by the entrance was a sign saying that Waitrose are working towards eliminating disposable coffee cups as part of their progressive sustainability policy. They also have a specific policy section on their website entitled ‘Prioritising our plans for plastic‘.

I had seen in the cafe other drinks such as orange juice being served in glasses. The peach tea was an open and shut case. Ditch the plastic cup.

So Monday morning I went into action.

I tracked down the appropriate Customer Service department, explained the folly of the situation, and after one phone call and four emails I got the commitment I was looking for…

“We will be working hard to ensure all our cafes from now on will be serving peach tea in a glass with an optional straw.”

Waitrose have 123 cafes across the UK. If they each serve an average of 25 peach teas a day for 360 days a year…

That’s over a million disposable plastic cups saved each year.

Result! Back of the net. Job done. Armchair activism in action.

With all due smugness I am just a little bit proud of this.

Now I just need to follow up and check they follow through. If you are near a Waitrose with a cafe have a peach tea and let me know how they serve it…

2.  A Vegan Day

I’m not a vegan – I keep chicken keeping homesteader.

But I am a vegetarian. I have been since doing a Vegan special edition of The Alternative Lifestyle Show last April with @teamsteem, @ura-soul, @lenasveganliving, @choogirl, @krnel, @freedompoint and others.

And I am an ‘almost-Vegan’ – it is only a few eggs and a bit of cheese left to go.

I do like to have at least half the days of the week as totally vegan days.

Today was one of them.

And I ordered a new vegan cookbook too… ‘15 Minute Vegan: Fast, modern vegan cooking

3. Greening up the kitchen

There are quite a lot of throw-away cleaning items used in the kitchen – scourers, cleaning cloths, washing up brushes.

Many of them are plastic based.

While it is tricky to avoid the disposable nature of the items, at least we can make some amends if they are made of recycled plastic.

I have just picked up a range of items that fit the bill from Eco-Force.

The scourers and sponges are made of recycled plastic and foam, the cleaning cloths are recycled and washable.

The washing-up brushes (not shown in the photo) have detachable cleaning heads so you only throw away the heads and reuse the handles.

We will give them a go, and report back.

4. Little mouse – charge yourself

To cut down on wires on my desk I prefer to use a wireless mouse.

My most recent one used a single AA battery.

I could have used a rechargeable battery and even charged it in my solar battery charger. But that is a bit of a hassle and never lasts very long.

Now I have got a rechargeable mouse that just uses a usb cable to charge off the PC.

This is the Cimetech mouse I got today…


5. Donation to Denmark Farm Conservation Centre

I was going to donate to Extinction Rebellion today but my donation was blocked by PayPal.

I don’t know if this was a temporary glitch or PayPal not liking Extinction Rebellion. I will try again tomorrow.

In the meantime I donated £10 to Denmark Farm Conservation Centre.

This is an organisation in west Wales that does some great conservation and environmental education work.

They also run excellent courses – I have been on quite a few there.

You can combine their courses with a stay in their super eco-friendly Eco Lodge if you fancy a break in the Welsh countryside while you learn a new skill.

This is my second five for the planet.

I am not sure I will be able to repeat my ‘Waitrose Win’ too often.

But I will keep on trying…

[ all images by @pennsif ]

5 things I have done today to help the planet… [Day 001 – 15 May ’19]

Following on from my post yesterday about getting back into environmental campaigning I thought it best to start at ground zero.

Me, my family, my home. What can we do here, now, today that will make a little bit of difference.

It may just be a little bit, but a lot of little bits can make a big bit.

So I’m setting myself a challenge. Every day. To do five things that are ‘planet positive’.

Here goes…

1.  100% Recycled Toilet Rolls

I thought I would start at the bottom and work up.

It may not seem like much, but we all use toilet paper every day in every way.

Today we switched to Renova 100% recycled toilet rolls.

There are plenty of recycled toilet rolls on the market but this one is available readily in bulk on eBay or even better from the new Good Club – both at a pretty good unit price of 26p (USD 0.33).

2.  Electric Car

We are very keen now to switch to an electric car.

The ranges are getting better and the number of charging stations increasing – even in rural Wales.

We are looking at cars from Nissan, Renault and Hyundai at present as they have dealers within a couple of hours from us.

Today I called the Hyundai dealer in Aberystwyth to see if they have any electric cars available to view.

Hyundai have two fully electric models – the IONIQ Electric and the KONA Electric.

The dealer has the IONIQ in stock so we are going to take a look and test drive on Saturday. The KONA has a waiting list until next January – it must be popular!

3. Furniture Giveaway

Over the years we have collected a lot of furniture. We have too much – and are now trying to downsize.

Today we gave away two office chairs and two beanbags to a young couple just setting up home nearby.

Saves them buying, saves us taking to the tip. Saves the planet providing more precious resources.

We still have more to giveway – Freecycle here we come…

4. Ethical Consumer Magazine

Ethical Consumer is a great magazine that gives the low-down on the environmental and ethical performance of companies to help you decide who to buy from. They cover all manner of consumer products and services.

The latest edition includes guides on supermarkets, cat & dog food, cooking oil and paint. Coming up in future editions they will be covering toilet paper, nappies, over-the-counter medicines, laptops, toothpaste, email providers and makeup.

The magazine has been running since 1989. I let my subscription lapse some years back.

Today I re-subscribed. It costs £29.95 for six issues a year – available in both print and digital editions.

How we spend our money and what companies we buy from really is one of our most powerful personal campaigning tools. Be informed, spend wisely, help the planet.

5. Donation to the Centre for Alternative Technology

If I can manage it I am going to try give a small donation to an environmental charity or campaigning organisation every day.

This will be funded as far as possible from what I earn on these daily posts.

Today I donated £10 to the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, north Wales.

CAT has a very special place in my life. It really is where it all started for me way back in 1974.

If you dig back in my posts you will find at least part of the story. It’s as important as penguins.

This is my first ‘five for the planet’.

If you fancy joining in this challenge I would love to hear from you.

Maybe we will even need a hashtag…

[ all images by @pennsif ]

Heading back to where I came from…

I’ve mentioned in several posts before my background in environmental campaigning.

I spent many years involved in Friends of the Earth from local volunteer to regional director with many roles in between.

They were great days in the 1970’s, ’80’s and ’90’s particularly. I enjoyed them immensely.

But life changes and I moved into other areas.

The issues that I was campaigning on then have, by and large, not gone away. The issues have become problems.

And now the problems have become a crisis. And that a crisis is becoming an emergency.

That emergency now teeters on the brink of becoming a catastrophe…

Climate, extinction, pollution, plastics, desertification, degradation.

Take your pick. They are all breaking bad.

My Personal Dilemma

This presents me with a dilemma.  Do I sit back and let the world go to pot.

Or do I stand up and be counted again.

Four decades have passed since I first manned the environmental barricades. A lot has changed. And age has left me less nimble than before.

But back in the day I was pretty good at what I did. And I have learnt a lot over the years that may come in handy.

Although I had retired from active service I have decided to re-enlist again and do my duty.

I have only have one life. We only have one planet.

Make it count.

Priorities must change.

[ image from pixabay.com ]

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