Fringe Box



Letter: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Published on: 10 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 10 Jan, 2022

From: Sue Reeve

In response to: Don’t Blame Greta Thunberg, We All Have To Choose On Climate Change

Charlie Bennett’s opinion piece is correct, we all need to wake up and make major changes to our lifestyle.

This is not easy because we all, individuals and governments, have done far too little for far too long and he is right we are at crunch point now and the changes we each need to make are big.

The key to this is the slogan “REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE” in that order of priority.

Fundamentally reducing consumption is the key. It’s the stuff we buy and the things we do that causes the problems. For most individuals, the bulk of their carbon emissions are caused by travelling, heating and eating.

Stop or reduce the number of flights you take. How many of us fly several times a year: the long weekend skiing, the long weekend for a city break, summer holidays in the Med or North America or even further? Cut the number of flights you take – or don’t fly at all.

Walk or cycle the mile to the local shops or school; it may seem daunting at first but you soon begin to wonder what the fuss was about a mere mile or so.

Take a train, if you can, rather than driving. It may take a somewhat longer travelling time, but you can use that time usefully, read, catch up on emails, just sit and think… whatever.

Shave several per cent of your car use every year for the next decade. Reducing your speed on the motorway by 10mph will reduce the carbon emissions for that journey by as much as 15%, and won’t significantly change your journey time for most journeys.

All these actions will have a significant impact on your carbon footprint. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that to meet net-zero by mid-century, per capita emissions must reduce by 7 per cent every year between now and 2030 just to establish a reducing trend of global emissions.

Heating, turn that thermostat down by a degree or two; being indoors in a t-shirt is frankly unacceptable, wear a sweater instead.

Think about your food miles. Are tomatoes, aubergines and other exotics, which are grown in foreign countries, acceptable in terms of their transport effects on the climate? Eat seasonally, buy locally produced food, reduce your meat consumption. Use exotics as treats rather than everyday items.

Do you really need to buy as much as you do, clothing, gadgets, things? Do you already have something that you can repurpose, rather than buying new?

None of these things are difficult to do if you really want to play your part.

We’ve all seen in the news, and continue to see, horrendous forest fires, flooding disasters across the world, in Europe and occasionally in the UK. We have all contributed to the cause of these events and they’re not going to go away now.

Be honest and ask yourself can you continue to live in the way that you do?

If we all do a little we will jointly achieve a little. We now all have to do a lot.


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Responses to Letter: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

  1. John Perkins Reply

    January 10, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    I read recently that the UK spent £6 billion on Chinese lateral flow tests. Perhaps the first thing we should cut back on is the plastic in those. They’re not reusable and I doubt China will accept them for recycling.

  2. Sue Reeve Reply

    January 12, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    I agree but actually global warming is not about recycling plastics – a common mistake. This will not get us out of the sorry mess we have made of the planet. Don’t get me wrong, recycling plastics and the pollution caused by them is awful and must be curbed. However people must realise that it is lifestyle changes – ie stop flying, use the car less, reduce your thermostat etc – as I have described above. Unfortunately in a pandemic, needs must, and the alternative to using lateral flow tests is perpetual isolation which I’m sure is acceptable to no-one

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