Practical guidance can assist Trinity members in leading sustainable, enjoyable lives. Here are Alban’s tips, created, hacked and borrowed from a variety of sources. Share them with friends & family!
Reduce, Re-Use, Re-Cycle are sustainability’s most powerful commands. Add your own ideas to these…
- …your exposure to unethical consumption. It’s easy to research; for example Ethical Consumer magazine provides reliable, evidenced info about your daily shop, disclosing detail across a range of consumer brands such as supermarkets, banks, home electronics. We can provide free access to Ethical Consumer for Trinity members: see login instructions on the “EcoChurch” noticeboard in the vestry corridor.
- ….your CO2 emissions from the power you buy. Copy Trinity’s lead, and switch to suppliers of 100% zero-carbon electricity and gas. Ecotricity and Good Energy are market leaders; Ovo, Ebico and municipal suppliers Robin Hood and Bristol Energy are new entrants. Worried it’s complicated? It’s not – ask Trinity’s treasurer and Finance Team about how we did it. And see Ethical Consumer’s June 2017 guide to suppliers of green energy (as above, login instructions can be found on our noticeboard).
- … your transport emissions. Use public transport or car-sharing to reach shops, church or friends. On-street car hire clubs such as Zipcar (t: 0333 240 9000) or the now arriving BlueCity (t: 020 3695 0500) offer free membership. BlueCity rents out 100% electric cars, parked near you on Merton streets.
- … your school run. Ask your child’s teacher about ‘walking buses’; organise one for your street. Cycle-training on-road for Year 6 pupils and older, produces self-reliance: Merton runs holiday courses; email email@example.com
- …your flying. Question the flights your family really needs. Are airlines’ offset schemes for emissions – where they persist – really any more than ‘conscience money’ delivering meagre benefits long after the damage has been done?
- …energy waste at home. For an energy audit, here’s a directory of qualified Domestic Energy Assessors. Advice on energy efficiency grants is on the government’s website. For bigger homes and projects, Parity Projects (t: 020 8874 6433) is located close to Wimbledon. Ask for Russell Smith, and mention Alban Thurston (no commercial or pecuniary link!)
- … wrapping. Challenge store managers about excessive packaging. Coconuts in cellophane, anyone? WRAP, the Waste & Resources Action Plan – t: 01295 819900 – or Valpak on t: 03450 682572 – can help
- … meat. Producing a pound of beef takes nine times the energy used for a pound of grain. Eat less, better quality red meat, bulking meals out with steamed vegetables, including those new to you.
- … your reliance upon corporations with a questionable approach to tax. Ethical alternatives abound: for example, Berlin-based internet search engine Ecosia plants trees, dependent on your number of searches. Ecosia claims nearly 10 million plantings already, and targets 1 billion by 2020.
- .. your smile, your appreciation! Start conversations with strangers – and not just those who dress and speak like you. Make time to communicate your thanks to strangers doing essential, undervalued jobs – street cleaners, car park attendants, parking wardens, shop assistants. Do so even if they are not serving you directly.
- …Learn and use “Thank you” in some of Wimbledon’s myriad foreign tongues. ‘Jin koo ya’ to Polish folk, ‘mersi’ or ‘multumesc’ to Romanians, ‘kam sah han nee da’ to Koreans, ‘shukriya’ in Urdu, or ‘grazie’ to Italians. Here’s a round-up of scores more. ‘Foole tunk’ !
- …Tuck any foldable bag – yes, even plastic! – into your handbag or pocket. Why pay the additional fee when you get to the till?
- …Borrow books, music or DVDs from libraries or friends. Share, swap opinions, ask for recommendations. Merton’s libraries need more users to defend their budgets – use them, or lose them!
- …Print documents on both sides of the paper; “duplex” printing, as it is known. If your eyesight’s good enough, print 2 pages per side, so 4 pages on one sheet. ‘Settings’ on your printer or word processing software will show you how.
- …old clothes, or usable household goods. Free of charge, Freegle’s Merton site is your clearing house. Hospices like St Raphael’s or Princess Alice Hospice re-sell donated furniture; see also Christian Care Merton. Benefitting Oxfam, M&S stores operate Schwop, a collection scheme for unwanted clothes; but you need to buy a new item.
- …old jokes, old stories, old memories with friends. Top up with fresher ones!
- …food scraps. Compost is not smelly! Collect scraps in a bin, build a heap outside, wait some months as they rot down, then dig them into your vegetable patch – very satisfying! Share with the neighbours.
- … others’ knowledge of food growing. Lucky enough to possess a garden? Dig up part, teach yourself how easy it is to grow vegetables. Ask your neighbours how – or your kids; many schools now run a vegetable garden. Save money, enjoy the taste!
- …the Good News. Communicate all that your church is doing, to strangers, to work-mates, students – and above all, to other churches! The word is growing. As Christians, it’s our duty to bear witness, to get active.