Category Archives: Uncategorized

Collect it instead

So we’ve seen in the past year that online shopping has increased exponentially, mainly due to the pandemic. While this is convenient for lots of people, the increase in deliveries direct to homes is a massive problem in terms of carbon emissions.

Companies like DPD, UPS and even Amazon are making plans to reduce this impact in the form of electric vans. But this is still maybe 1 – 2 years away. There is another alternative though.

In the picture are two of my recent purchases. The book was from Blackwells Bookshop online and the Blu-ray was from Amazon. However, for both items I didn’t get them sent to my home. Instead I used click and collect for the book and Amazon locker for the Blu-ray. These services are usually used by customers who might not be at home. This wasn’t an issue for me though.

The reason I chose these methods is because it saves on the extra journey to my home and therefore less emissions. For both items I also cycled to the collection points.

If you search properly you’ll find lots retailers have a click and collect service, sometimes at a lower delivery cost than to your home. Amazon and Hermes also have lots of collection points. If more people choose these options then it means more parcels are sent to fewer drop off points and, crucially, less emissions.

SHARE Oxford A Library Of Things

The shop window

I sometimes look around my apartment and think what is all this stuff that I have? Items that I rarely use. But, if I get rid of it, will I need it again?

The reason I bring this up is because it’s so easy to buy things. Most of the time we’ll buy new. However, what if you didn’t have to? What if you could just borrow the item that you need?

SHARE Oxford could be one solution. Started around a couple of years ago it’s a place where you can rent items that you might need.

From the website: “Our Library of Things enables you to
borrow instead of buy
items needed only occasionally,
such as outdoor, domestic, cooking equipment and more.”

The sign outside Makespace Oxford

SHARE Oxford recently reopened on 12 April following the relaxing on lockdown restrictions. I borrowed a projector and screen for what I thought would be 2 weeks over Christmas but ended up being nearly 4 months. It was nice to finally return it and say hello to my new friend Maurice.

What an amazing way to buy less. I think I might borrow some camping gear next.

My new hoodie

Nearly 10 years ago we went to the Isle of Wight for a weekend break. On the first day, once we dropped our bags off at our b & b, we thought we’d go for a drive. Without realising we’d driven around the whole island in about 2 hours.

One of the places we passed was Freshwater. When I looked at the sea I told my wife that I’d come back here to go for a swim. And I did the following day. It was a lovely experience. What was not so nice though was getting to the water. I had to walk on the pebbles in my bare feet and it was quite painful.

So how lovely it was to learn that the online store that I purchased my new hoodie from are based in Freshwater. The company is called Rapanui. I’d read about them in this article about sustainable fashion brands for men.

Fast fashion has become a huge problem in recent years. The average person buys more than 20 items of clothing per year. Rapanui aim to tackle this problem by only using natural products and powering their manufacturing plants with renewable energy only. When you order a t-shirt it is printed immediately to save on waste and energy.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about where my clothes comes from and how often i buy (it’s not that much to be fair). Manufacturing of clothes uses a huge amount of energy and water. If I need a new item of clothes then I’ll do my research on the company first. I’ll also try to look for second hand (really missing the charity shops).

Once your clothes from Rapanui are worn out, just send it back to them. They’ll reuse the material and make something else out of it.

A poem

I recently attended my first zoom meeting. It was with Extinction Rebellion Oxford. It was so good to interact with others who want to see changes happen.

A day later I began writing this poem. My eldest son, who is now 10, was learning about acrostic poems in school a couple of years or so ago. I wouldn’t say I’m much of a creative, but I thought I’d have a shot based on how I’m feeling at the moment.

I mentioned attending meetings in my previous post. Hopefully I can keep this going, provided I can accommodate it around my busy work and family life. After this first experience I would definitely recommend it to all. The guys at XROX were especially welcoming. I even got an opportunity to mention my blog, which was created for reasons such as this.

Most importantly, never stop learning and sharing your knowledge.

My five eco solutions

Although the What Planet Are We On podcast season has ended, I found that they have posted a bonus episode all about the presenter’s 10 favourite solutions. They’ve also posted the list online here. Victoria and Matt chose 5 each in the episode.

So I thought I’d give you my own list based on my experience since starting to make small changes.

  1. Read up as much as possible

There is lots of information everywhere and new articles published everyday. I find it hard to keep up myself. But the more you know, the more likely it is that you will want to make a change and influence others. Watch nature programmes, listen to shows about climate change and sustainability, read news websites regularly and attend zoom/teams meetings.

  1. Aim to make a regular change and record it

What realistic change do you think you can make and how often? My own aim is one per month. It won’t be easy but I’m happy to accept the challenge because I know if we all make an effort to combat climate change then we are slowing down the impact. And what better way to record than on my own blog?

A year ago I swapped to oat milk, which has one of the lowest carbon footprints. Recently I have also changed to recyclable brush heads for my toothbrush and using a safety razor. I already cycle to work as often as possible (very windy weather is the exception).

  1. Find someone who inspires you and follow them

Sometimes it is hard to achieve your goals. Try looking at the work of others for inspiration. Hit follow on social media for organisations and individuals related to nature, sustainability and climate activism. That way you’ll get lots of news in your feed that really matter.

  1. Refuse to buy, especially new

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post and Instagram but it’s worth repeating. Ask yourself is there an alternative to buying new or at all? Change you mindset and encourage those close to you to do the same. Choose ethical, fair trade and organic brands every time. This is getting easier, and sometimes cheaper, everyday.

  1. Be hopeful and optimistic. Take a moment to enjoy everything you have

Have you ever really just sat down and just appreciated things just the way they are? Are you going for walks regularly? Keep things simple.

Christiana Figueres mentions in the TED Countdown and her podcast, Outrage and Optimism, about having stubborn optimism. This really stuck with me. Be persistent and feel like you really want change to happen.

Above all, try to share your experience with other people where it is possible. Don’t try to force people to make changes, that rarely works. Instead, try to encourage and talk about all the benefits of adopting a new, more eco friendly lifestyle. The positives will surely outweigh the negatives.

LiveCoco Toothbrush heads

(Note: This post contains affiliate links, which could result in me earning a commission from any clicks and purchases).

I’ve been using an electric toothbrush for a few years now. Usually I’d buy a 4 pack of replacement brush heads, which lasts me around a year. I came across these some time in 2020 and decided I’d definitely go for these next. They are slightly more in price than what I’d normally pay, but the fact that they are recyclable was a no-brainer.

There are two bristle options to choose from – standard and charcoal (a good, natural teeth whitener). I love the minimal packaging that they’ve used.

Recyclable Brush Heads Compatible with Oral-B – Soft Bristles – Return Your Used Items for Recycling! 100% Recyclable, High Quality, Long Lasting Bristles from LiveCoco

Recyclable Oral-B Compatible Toothbrush Heads-Return Your Used Items For Recycling! Charcoal Infused Bristles From LiveCoco, Best For Teeth Whitening With Activated Charcoal Powder,High Quality

If you use Oral-B electric toothbrushes then make this your first change of 2021.

Climate Change Podcasts

I first got into podcasts a couple of years ago. Mainly I’m into Joe Rogan orAdam Buxton. There’re both very experienced and usually have interesting guests on. I never miss Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review as I love the movies. There’s also Dane Baptiste Questions Everything, which I look forward to every Monday after discovering earlier in 2020 (remember the first UK lockdown everyone).

In October 2020 I’d heard of What Planet Are We On, hosted by Liz Bonin. I was hooked from the first episode with Sir David Attenborough. He was promoting his new film on Netflix, A life On Our Planet.

Each week Liz and her colleagues, Matt McGrath and Vic Gill, discuss different areas of climate change, addressing the current situation and suggesting how we can make changes. Every episode has been really interesting, I’m always learning new facts and finding new ways to be inspired (it’s one of the reasons I started this blog). The mindful consumption episodes were one of my favourites.

The season has ended, but I will be going back to those episodes again. That’s the great thing about podcasts, they’re all free and available on multiple platforms. Listen at home, on your commute (if anyone still does that), or while running like me.

Through What Planet Are We On I also discovered Outrage + Optimism, another great climate change podcast. The first episode I listened to was 84. The 2020 Christmas Lectures: A User’s Guide to Planet Earth. The family and I have watched the first lecture one TV. The podcast is another great example of addressing the current issues. I hope I can find the time to catch up on all of them.

If you want to change your mindset then podcasts aren’t a bad way to start.

Wittenham Clumps, Oxfordshire

First, apologies to all for the lack of posts. Like most people, it’s been a busy holiday period.

Two days ago we ventured out to a place near Didcot called Wittenham Clumps. It was our first time and we had to drive forty minutes to get there. It was so worth it though, the views were amazing.

When we got there, around midday, the car park was full (not very big). Someone was just leaving though so we managed to find a space.

One of the hills

The hills are a little steep but not too challenging. When we got to the top of the hills there were woods, which were fenced off for safety reasons, to the great disappointment of my two boys. There were benches around so we stopped to have some tea and biscuits.

I knew there’d be kites around, we even spotted some on the drive there. However, I’d never taken any pictures of them. It was amazing to capture my first images. I definitely want to return and take more shots.

A Red Kite

Buy everything used

These days it’s so easy to buy anything you need or want. There are so many different ways to do it too, such as online, click and collect , and good old fashioned retail. Most likely you’ll opt for brand new. However, everything I’ve just mentioned does usually have a big impact on the environment.

As a way to lessen the impact, try to consider if the item that you’d like to purchase can be found second hand instead. There are lots advantages. The price is usually less than if you’re buying new. Also you can reuse something that may have potentially ended up in landfill.

Ebay and charity shops are now my go to for anything that I really need. I love music but don’t subscribe to any services like Spotify. I love going to charity to shops to find a good CD. I also used Ebay recently to purchase a Hump backpack cover, which cost me £6 including postage.

I feel so much better for changing my mindset. I’m trying to buy less things in general. However, if I absolutely need to purchase something then I always ask myself these questions:

  1. Is it an essential item and will it be used more than once?
  2. Can I borrow it?
  3. If I can’t borrow then can I buy it used?

Whether buying new or second hand, it’s always also worth spending a little more for better quality. This way you’ll have less chance of an item breaking or wearing out.

Leave a comment if you have any other tips.

New beginnings…

I switched to shaving cream around five years ago. Currently I am using Taylor of Bond Street Coconut Shaving Cream. I still had a tube of gel for quick backup but also gave this up when it ran out, about 6 months ago. I use an old wooden bowl and a shaving brush to create the lather, which took lots of practice to get it right.

Changing blades has taken a little longer. I’ve been subscribing to Harry’s razors for a while but don’t agree with the plastic on it. So I recently bought a safety razor. There are lots out there, some cheap, some expensive. I chose the Hill and Drew HDRB40 Double Edge Butterfly Razor and Case from The Shaving Shack.

I’ve always used the major brand razors with the expensive blades (although haven’t tried Gilettes latest Fusion range because they are way too high a cost). Safety razors on the the other hand are relatively much cheaper to manage. I bought a 10 pack of blades from the supermarket for £2 the other day. Have a look on Ebay and you’ll find 50 blades for less than £10.

My initial reaction to this item is that it’s a bit small but still seems easy to use. The case is great as it stores blades and there’s a small mirror for those times when you’re unable to find one.

Double edged razor blades should be accepted at your local recycling depot. I will be storing mine safely inside a used drinks can, however there are special disposal tins available at online retailers, if you prefer. Check with your council if you’re not sure.