These are my green changes for June and the Green challenge is now becoming very challenging! Cleaning products were always environmentally friendly due to the septic tank and we already recycled but there was still plenty to do when I started. However, I feel I have now worked my way through the easier and more obvious changes and will now need to step it up a gear. I have fruit and vegetables growing in the garden, but it can be difficult finding the time to keep on top of everything (and stop the birds from eating it). If you have any ideas on green changes I haven’t tried, please let me know.
Greener holidays and reducing food waste
We have flown once in the last ten years mainly due to the faff and cost with three children. We have enjoyed all holidays in this country and haven’t ventured abroad. However, this year we thought we would like to attempt ‘abroad’. We took a ferry to France which my research showed was less than half the pollution of a plane and was also less polluting than the train. A thirty minute drive in Normandy took us to a lovely little fishing village. We stayed in a cottage and visited the beautiful local beaches which all seemed deserted. The boys loved the games of cricket and rock pooling. We walked to the local supermarket to cut down on driving and we managed to find the recycling bins down the road to put all our vino bottles in.
Something we did fall down on was meal planning and cooking. With four adults and three children the lure of the French supermarket meant too much food was bought and much had to be thrown away on departure. This would be something we would try harder with if we did this again. It’s also something I have been working on at home with the help of meal planning and this website https://lovefoodhatewaste.com/
Getting a smart meter
My electricity company had been contacting me about getting a smart meter, so I eventually arranged an appointment for someone to come and replace our old meter with a smart meter. Before starting work, I was asked how the mobile signal was in the area it was being installed. Not great as it happens. If you want a smart meter a mobile signal is required for it to work properly. If not, it has to be removed and a standard meter fitted. It’s not possible to tell for sure if the signal is strong enough before starting work so we decided to go for it and hope for the best (this is a strategy that has served me well in many areas of life!) It took around half and hour to work and was up and running straight away.
I have been a little reluctant to have a smart meter installed because I have become cynical in my old age and I was rather convinced it would make electricity dearer. It actually makes no difference. What you do have however, is real time cost of your electricity usage. It is possible to see how much electricity you are using per day, week or month. This is brilliant for encouraging the kids (and adults) to ‘beat the clock’ in terms of how much electricity you use. I started off asking if we could use less than yesterday and have moved onto a weekly ‘price’ which we endeavour not to exceed. I’ve found with my boys if you make it into a competition, they can’t help but take part. It’s also teaching them ways to save electricity such as unplugging charges when not in use and switching off lights.
It was free to install and all electricity readings now go direct to the electricity company so no more balancing on a chair with a torch.
Mowing the lawn (but not too much)
Many wildlife guides suggest leaving areas of your garden untouched and a little bit messy. Hurrah, no problem, something I can do that doesn’t involve any effort! There’s plenty of nooks and crannies (and maybe larger areas) that are left untouched from one month to the next for wildlife to use. However, when I last mowed the lawn it seemed a shame to annihilate the daisies, buttercups, dandelion and clover that had sprung up. I found that if I set the mower to a higher setting it would still cut the grass but many of the flowers would survive leaving plenty for the pollinators. I also find this looks much more interesting than the pristine green of more cultivated lawns.
When we first moved here, we were absolutely thrilled to see bats in the evenings darting around the garden. Last year we hardly saw any, so I am on a mission to encourage them to return. Therefore, we have got a bat box in the hope that this will give them a nudge in our direction. I got this one which has a double chamber