By: Blonde Two
As a lover of the outdoors it is only right that I should consider, from time to time, my impact on the environment I love. This is all very well but recently my mind has become (insert chosen word here) obsessed/confused/befuddled with trying to piece together what exactly my impact is and how (if) I can change it. The whole ‘look after the planet’ has become a minefield of good intentions and mixed advice. Here are some thoughts on my eco-credentials.
In my 20s I gave birth to 3 children
This is obviously not a bad thing from my perspective but, according to some environmentalists, having children is one of the worst things you can do to the planet. As I have no intention of either wrapping mine in plastic or putting them back whence they came (especially not Six-Foot-Blonde) I am just going to hope that their upbringing sees them and the planet through.
I drive a campervan… it uses diesel
Mr B2 and I have been through a few phases of using ‘alternative’ fuels for our vehicles. Generally based on cooking oil, these were better for the planet than diesel but worse for my figure as I was permanently surrounded by the smell of either chips or doughnuts! In our favour, we do relatively little mileage in our van and only own one vehicle (unless you count Mr B2’s many bikes).
I no longer buy fruit or vegetables that are wrapped in plastic
This has been a more difficult state of affairs to achieve than I originally thought it would be and some weeks family B2 has experienced a rather limited vegetable intake as quite often butternut squash, cauliflowers and cabbages have been the only available unwrapped items. I have now found a local (singing and friendly) greengrocer who doesn’t mind me using up his stock of paper bags. I am also becoming very good at finding uses for old paper bags.
I sometimes fly places
My recent trip to New Zealand will have created over 4 tonnes of CO2, which definitely wipes out any efforts over recycling, water saving and heating fuel consumption that I have made. The environmental impact of the tourism industry in general is growing and I am really not sure what my response to this fact should be.
I go camping
I do worry about the environmental impact of camping but it has to surely be a more environmentally friendly type of holiday than some. The leave no trace approach to a camping trip is easy enough to follow but there are other implications to consider. I no longer use wet wipes but the little packeted things that we all rely on to make our camp more comfortable do all have a big packaging to product ration. Recent (and not so recent) experiments (not all mine) to make amends in this direction include,
- Baking my own cakes instead of taking wrapped chocolate bars (great but who wants to eat the same type of muffin for five days?)
- Creating my own dehydrated meals (tasty but the dehydrator uses electricity and it takes a long time to dry out a whole meal)
- Camp churros made almost from scratch. These tasted both delicious and bad for you but I don’t thing the planet minded them too much
- Home cooked pasta and tomato sauce placed into ziplock bags (I always reuse these until they fall apart) and reheated in boiling water
- Experimental ‘just add water’ foods of my own (these are still in the planning stage)
As far as I can see, the whole ‘be good to the planet’ thing is a minefield of ‘but if I do thats’. For example, if I drive my diesel van to the nearest market town and buy locally grown, brown paper bag wrapped vegetables, I will have used four times as much fuel as I would have done driving to the supermarket. Another example, if I grow my own lettuce (going very well) instead of buying plastic bags of it from the supermarket, I will use a fair amount of water that has been treated using goodness only what energy.
I know, I know, there are ways around all of this. I could cycle or walk to the market (it would take me all day) and I could invest in some more water butts, but even these will be plastic… like I said, a minefield.