Looking for hints and tips from what you personally do for the environment

It’s a hard title to write and a bit wordy but I didn’t want a preachy “what are you doing for the environment”.

But if you have made some decisions based on environmental / sustainable grounds it would be great if they could be shared so that we may learn of something we never thought of or even learn what we thought was positive was not necessarily so.

I recently came across this when I was proudly telling my daughter the other day that I bought the Spanish raspberries and Dutch strawberries but declined the blueberries from Chile only to be informed that the strawberries would be from greenhouses which guzzle energy so the Chilean blueberries may well have been the better option. Local and seasonal will be my new mantra.


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I pick up litter on countryside walks.
I re-use plastic bags and use cotton bags when possible.
I wear natural fibres.
I don’t run the tap when cleaning my teeth.
I drive a small diesel car [Euro 6] and never drive into London.


I am not an eco-warrior, far from it, but I am aware & do what I can if & when I can but without self deprivation.

I don’t have a problem, in fact I have a counter argument, over so called food miles. I would rather buy fruit & veg from overseas when its out of season in northern Europe when producing it in Europe consumes heat & light energy to do so. The food miles for a lot of the hardier fruit is sea transport & that is so much more economical in fuel/tonne/km terms than any other form of transport.
That said I don’t buy some fruit & veg out of season simply because they don’t taste good.

I compost practically all my food & other organic waste.
I take my own bags for shopping
I try to select food that is either loose or in biodegradable packaging & if loose the store provides biodegradable bags.

My house has 40 to 50cm of roof insulation, recommended is 27cm. Cavity walls filled with rock wool (sustainable eco friendly) double glazing & ext doors to minimum A energy rating.
All lamps are LED (a few CFL) & with dimmer switches as appropriate.

I (we) have diesel & petrol cars, looking at possible electric or maybe hybrid. But I do have a need for 450 mile round trip & hybrid performance is really not that special,
so not ready to make that move yet.

I do make long & short haul air travel & am not at all guilty about that.

I don’t turn off my Naim’s


I’m purposely trying to avoid guilt or self-justification, just trying to get together a list of what we actively do to help increase the sustainability of our fragile planet. Hopefully there will be some things I can do that I haven’t thought of that will get an airing.


Why would you use the tap at all?

What the planet needs is fewer people. Simples.


Hi Sloop

I´m from a Dutch family and in former generations we had fruitcompanies. However we don´t have business running currently, I do remember my grandfathers company well - he was always looking for innovation. In our country we produce 5 times the amount of vegetables we actually eat, the rest is export product.

Most of the fruit we eat these days are high tech products. Without using American gentech (one of the reasons why we don´t trust Brexit) we are able to grow varieties which are less sensitive for certain diseases, stay fresh relatively long and are still good after a few days in transit in a shop. I don´t like the taste though … This all thanks to a few generations of scientists of Wageningen University (where 2 relatives did their study). 20 years ago I read a book about efficiency in this business and I remember well that the author wrote that we do have 2 times more people since WW2 in the Netherlands, but manage to grow 11 times more fruit and vegetables per square kilometre.

The area where the most fruit and vegetables come from, is what we call ´Westland´. This area is close to Rotterdam and there are many initiatives ongoing in making the area more sustainable. E.g, they use rest energy from the Rotterdam Harbour where a lot of industry is. They strive to get 80% of their energy from earth warmth. They store rain in large bassins, etc… etc …

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No worries. Since mankind is not able to handle this, the planet will. I had a chat with a geologist once and he said that we are in danger, not the planet.


We went vegan 14 years ago. It wasn’t an environmental decision at the time, but a sustainable, plant-based diet is one of the best things any of us can do for the environment (and ourselves). Or so my wife assures me.

Yes, mass extinctions and widespread desertification are clearly visible in the geological record. Shame we seem to be taking most other species down with us, but it would be nice if at least a few of them managed to survive our destructiveness and continue to flourish.

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Indeed Chris. The geologist I spoke with was remarkably calm. A great relieve to talk to compared to other scientists. He did put things in perspective where most current scientists only seem to worry about the last 20 years and the 20 years to come. Finaly someone talking about environment without the direct political - funding agenda behind it.

This something environmentalists, let along governments, are reluctant to discuss at policy level. This aside, ecologists consider that populations in the natural world (research done in Australia) reach a natural peak, level out and decline naturally - often as a result of catastrophes. The planet has not reached its carrying capacity, ecologists argue that we should intervene in natural processes… so I’m waiting for that catastrophe!

This is my philosophy but going into the “hungry month of April”, it is a challenge.
I grow what food I can, keep chickens and hope to use my own wood fuel. When I renovated my home I upgraded the insulation, not just in the roof but to the stone walls and floor. These were tricky because the cottage is listed, so could not replace my windows but could put in 2ndry glazing.
For 15 years or so I volunteered with my local wildlife trust, helping keep nature reserves in good order. I continue to advise them, but am not so active with practical conservation except with my embryonic woodland.

As an ex-geologist, I can understand that, given that the basic units of geological time are usually around tens of millions of years. The fossil record is largely a record of extinctions and the emergence of new species, and of course, you can’t have one without the other. What the human race has changed is the timescale over which these changes happen, with levels of extinction rates now measurable in decades instead of in millions of years.

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Very true, however I would add that the current human population is the first to realise there is something wrong & to broadly understand what the cause is.
Unfortunately it also looks very much like this same population is the last one with any chance of doing something about it before the point of no return.

I absolutely agree with you and believe that @Ardbeg10y is right. This is already starting to happen through climate change, which will lead to mass migration from central Africa towards Europe.

I strongly recommend you read ‘10 Billion’ by Stephen Emmott. His conclusion is blunt, but inevitably true.

Indeed, and that’s why I think the ‘we’re trying to do our bit’ attitude is so dangerous. I believe it creates an illusion that we are tackling the problem in a way that could make a difference, whereas clearly we are just tickling the edge of the problem.


The majority of wars are caused by overpopulation. If a country cannot feed the people, war is nearby. Look at Syria:

1937 2,368,000
1950 3,252,000 +37.3%
1960 4,565,000 +40.4%
1970 6,305,000 +38.1%
1980 8,704,000 +38.0%
1990 12,116,000 +39.2%
1995 14,186,000 +17.1%
2004 17,921,000 +26.3%
2011 21,124,000 +17.9%

Africas population is growing rapidly currently. Most of the metropoles will double in size before 2050. The African continent can never support these numbers. This is an interesting document to read:

I´m a concious person for the environment - most importantly in my direct neighbourhood - since that does have an effect on my environment. I do not have only the slightest impression that we can change anything to the big clouds appearing currently.

I would not be surprised to see 100.000.000 people from Africa trying to go to Europe around 2050.

I’m worried about the dwinding number of bees. Hence I do not mow the lawn too often and we also try to plant “bee friendly” plants. We also bought a bee hotel last year.
I also try to make a point of purchasing artefacts to keep and repair, rahter than wear out or throw away, and I use an electric bicycle instead of driving to work.
Apart from that I try to travel by train rather than plane these days. This is possibly my biggest contribution to the environment. And if more people did, it could make a difference. Airfare has become far too cheap these days as everyone can afford to go anywhere.
The problem with that is the immense polution created. Unfortunately, the cheap prices seems to be justified as almost a democratic right as travelling by air is now evenly distributed amongst all of the population.
So you recycle your plastic waste, your food etc. and have a really good conscience - and the very next day you fly out to Bali or perhaps Prague for an extended weekend of shopping.
There really is no hope!

Do people go to Bali for a weekend’s shopping? Don’t tell my wife!