What are you doing to make a difference?

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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • The UN's IPCC says we have twelve years left to curb climate change before it's too late to make a real difference.

    Given that we're an enlightened group who actually give a crap about the Earth what are you doing to make a difference?

    This isn't a post for me to say 'look at me I'm so green' because i'm still a part of the problem, I'm interested in what others are doing no matter how small or big to make a difference.

    For my part I live on a boat, I bought an old boat deliberately to both save money and also so as not to add to the impact on the world that building a new one would have had.

    The engine is a modern diesel, not the best as diesel is a bit crap in regard to emissions but it's very economical.

    I use comparatively little water as my water tank is a finite resource so I'm very careful with it's use as it's a pain to have to keep filling it.

    My heating is from a multi fuel stove so I use smokeless fuel, recycled wood logs, recycled paper logs and collected windfall wood from the local area or from the piles left by the waterways authorities at the waterside.

    I'm investing in solar this year and aim to be off the grid as far as electricity is concerned before the end of the year and off os using the engine to charge my batteries.

    My big negatives are driving for my work. I work on machine tools in factories and workshops all over the country and the only way I can get me, my tools and all of the spares I need to site is in a van. It's a small van but it's still a guilt trip using it.

    Food wise I've found it hard to not buy single use plastic as it's all pervasive, particularly on the road when stopping to grab a bite.

    At home I try to buy local produce but again it's a guilt trip because to buy from farm shops and local farms means driving around.

    When I worked in a factory I used to cycle to and from work a journey of five miles each way.

    It was hard work particularly in the winter and it mean't being a bit damp and smelly some of the time.

    I doubt I'm fit enough to ride any great distance these days but maybe I should try.

    My big vice is my motorcycling, there's no way around it, my bikes used a fair amount of resources and energy to make, they drink petrol and they are an indulgence pure and simple and I can't justify them.

    Maybe I should have just one as an alternative to using my van for local journeys thus justifying it's use?

    Not sure about that one.

    I'm also not sure about recycling.

    I do it but everytime I put a load in the recycling bid I don't think I believe that it's being recycled into something useful. I know that the Chinese used buy most of our recyclables but they recently stopped buying so what happens to it?

    Are we fooling ourselves?

    I do recycle glass containers at home for storage and such like but I don't have use for all of them and space is a premium on a boat

    Recently I've taken to using the train more for long journeys to see friends and relatives.

    OK that's enough about my small contributions and failings.

    One last thing I found this eco footprint thing it's quite interesting to play with to see what you consume and what you'd have to do to not use more than one earths resources.


  • GOOD; I recycle as much as I can, use very little water 10l per day, when parked up I walk,cycle, rarely waste food,being mobile I don't have a resource eating house , wear clothes to destruction, use charity shops,use natural soap and cleaning products.

    BAD; I have a diesel van, plus motorbike in summer, rely on electric on site and gas bottles off site, eat food that s been wrapped in plastic, have too many plastic items.

  • To be honest ive always found this subject and the push by governments to be more environmentally conscious a bit retarded in view of their present and past policies in collusion with industry and consumers.

    Ive been environmentally conscious since i can remember seeing bright yellow polluted streams and canals as an 8yr old child and shite that lazy cunts used to dump at the side of the road or in the river where i grew up.

    Ive tried to make a difference since i was an adult and able to make my own decisions...some 40+ years now.

    Ive recycled everything i could, funnily enough when i was a child very little got wasted by our parents generation and theirs before.

    Food and goods were wrapped in paperbags, thick brown parcel paper or cardboard boxes and everything got reused.

    The stuff that was beyond saving got used to light the fire or clean things on before being burned.

    Shopping was carried in proper shopping bags made of leather or wicker or linen so infinitely reusable.

    Everything was made here not China and was repairable not designed to be irreparable and obsolete,it was kept until it was FUBAR broken beyond repair.Then it went to the scrap man (or rag and bone man as he was known).

    Kitchen waste went in the compost heap and then on the garden.

    The only shite that went into the bin were the ashes from the fire.

    Plenty of things we used were toxic yes, like paint creosote asbestos etc but thankfully those things are changed or gone.

    But in other areas weve gone spectacularly in reverse

    Gradually since the late seventies all the packaging that could previously have been recycled or degraded naturally was replaced by plastic containers and packaging that wouldnt degrade,all for consumer convenience and shopping bags were replaced by carrier bags and the great descent into environmental decay and the eco bollox began.

    Despite the world going in the wrong direction i tried to continue to be eco friendly and conscious of what i was buyingv and doing, reused bottles and jars and paper,avoided buying stuff in plastic until its now become almost impossible to avoid.

    I still do all i can putting recyclables in the recycle bin (so they can be dumped as landfill in China or wherever they end up).

    These days I live in a 20 yr old small trailer, i use electric hookup but barely use any electric except for charging batteries and boiling kettle.

    I dont have a tv to watch tv shite on, i dont have a toxic microwave machine.No appliances.

    I use rechargeable batteries always...which get recycled on their death.

    I used to use solar panels and wind turbine which i still have but i dont currently use because there seems little point in wearing out the equipment when ive hookup access. It will just cost the environment to replace the panels and batteries if they wear out so seems self defeating when its not totally necessary.

    I use LPG gas to heat and cook, ive no real alternative.

    In summer i cook on open fires outside using scavenged fallen wood.

    I use 2 to 4 litres of water a day max

    My laundry is infrequent and done in bulk at a friends.

    I use no chemical personal products,ive not done so for 40 years,all handmade soaps or shampoo that i know whats gone in it.

    I have enough new clothes to last me several years and like Boris,wear them to total destruction.Ive bought no new clothes for at least 12 years, anything i do buy comes from charity or military surplus

    Similarly with boots.Non of it is for fashion every bit of it is practical wear.

    I have an old diesel Convoy van i do no more than 1000 miles a year in.

    Ive a mountain bike i get around in in decent weather (im old you see and dont care for riding in sub zero temperatures like i used to).

    If i lived by water again id most probably have a rowing scull again for enjoyment not competing like i used to, just additional transport and from.which to enjoy the river or maybe a row boat for fishing from,nothing extravagant.

    My only real naughty bad habits are technological gadgets,i have plenty of little digital devices cameras,sound recording equipment geiger counter meteorological devices, drones rc planes and helicopters phones kindle ..and a few stunt kites.

    Nothing that really harms the environment......or does it?

    You see this is where the eco bollox all unravells.

    We all want to see the Earth cleaned up and devastation we've inflicted on the environment repaired and the pollution stopped but non of us really actually wants to do much to change.

    Its all very well recycling but non of us wants to stop using devices like mobile phones laptops cameras tvs hifi wifi home appliances cars vans the internet,our boys toys, motorbikes,holiday caravans, power boats, campers, tents,luxury furnishings,or all the 6 pack beers cider wines takeaways luxury sweets chocolates etc etc all those things cause major destruction to the environment in their manufacture and use but we like them and theyre cheap.

    Non of us wants to change our working and schooling habits to avoid commuting and school runs and the peaks of pollution from vehicles during those times.

    Non of us would change jobs or accept less money to instead do a job closer to home and cycle or walk to work.

    Change our work hours so theres no 4-4 9-5 commuting...no way!

    Employers dont want to stop herding folks into offices because they dont trust them working from home,they might cheat.

    We dont want to stop buying all the cheap items we know have been made the other side the world and shipped by container ship or plane here, to instead buy slightly more expensive items locally...oh no.

    We dont want to stop going on holidays abroad on airliners or travel around UK or Europe burning up petrol or diesel as we go.

    We like having two or three vehicles or second homes.

    The eco generation go to Glastonbury and Reading,last year 6000 tents were abandoned at glasto a similar number at reading.600 tons of rubbish off the ground on top of that actually binned.

    The desert fire festy, 5000 bikes abandoned after it.

    WHAT THE FUCK is wrong with people?

    We live in a goldfish bowl in effect,where the fuck do people think all this garbage will go? Fucking garbage fairys come in the night and take it away?

    Where do they think the resources come from for it all?..ah yes of course resources fucking fairys.

    I could go on but i wont,i have already.

    Theres so many things we could do to make a real difference to how the world works and how terribly negatively we affect it, but we dont.

    Nope were not changing,we like it all too much the way it is.

    So thats why i say its eco bollox.

    What we do may have some marginal effect but its not enough, bearly scratches the surface, because we dont actually want to change or tackle the primary consumer issues that would make a real difference.

    We could easily if we all applied ourselves and exerted the consumer buying power we have to force change on companies and governments but we dont because we're actually really quite happy the way we live and comfortable with our toys and devices and luxuries and the cheap prices we pay.The alternative without any of them isnt so nice at all, so we play lipservice to piecemeal measures to save the environment and trust something will happen to save us...la la la im not listening.

    I agree we should do all we can and its good that we all do something no matter what but we could do and collectively achieve so much more.

    Sadly its going to be our kids (my young kids) and our grandkids generations who will pay the price and be forced into drastic measures to protect a way of life that we just lazily take for granted.

    Shameful really.

  • You're so right, IC.

    After all, it is Lent now.

    Without being personal, have you all been shriven?

    Not being religious, I haven't undergone the experience. Even as a kid I avoided it; it frightened me to have to be alone with a priest.....[panic]

  • I am trying to rid the world of beer and crisps so that everyone can live a healthy life without having such lovely evil distractions ;-)

    Nothing wrong with beer or crisps,its the way theyre produced,raw materials shipped across the world thousands of miles, then finished products shipped thousands of miles,all the wasted energy and materisls making cans and bottles thats the problem.

    Out of interest is it still possible to get beer from monasteries in France?

  • NRT is right about so many things in that post up there. But everyone is children of their time, I guess. And this is a very wasteful time, despite the pale greenwash that is painted over everything by big business and government.

    When I see the shots of the aftermath of festivals I find it incredible that people leave so much stuff behind them, especially the tents. Shows not only that nobody cares, but also that tents must be so cheap nobody gives a shit about losing one every festie.

    Jeez, we were taught that the best thing you can do is leave no trace behind, take away everything, or bury it, so nobody can tell you were there. Tents used to cost a month's wages in those days, so you had to look after them anyway.

    Sure we all try to live cheaply, recycle what we can, don't use energy unnecessarily, repair rather than buy new; all that stuff. But there is very much we cannot easily change, that could only be accomplished by powerful government legislation, because Joe public will always go for the cheapest and easiest way of doing anything, so factory-made snacks and instant meals, and cheap shyte from China, used and chucked away, is the order of the day.

  • I think if we all really cared we'd be living like the folks in Tipi valley.

    But thats probably too extreme for most people.

    I think probably the next best option for the smallest footprint is a boat, van, trailer or truck or small bricks n mortar home and considering every aspect of your life and how you can reduce your footprint on the Earth more.

    We can do a lot more but we've a whole throwaway economy everyone is totally adicted to.

    That will take some changing.For everyone of us who lives frugally and recycles and thinks carefully about what effect each and every action has on the environment,there are tens of millions who just dont give a shit and its in the vested interests of corporates and governments that we continue that way because they benefit handsomely from the income.

    Our ancestors have proved time and again humans will keep on consuming and devastating their habitat on which they totally depend for survival until it leads to their demise and collapse of their civilisation.

    Maybe we cant do anything because as humans we believe whatever happens we can fix it, so its another generations problem not ours...pretty selfish but its human reality.

    There are at least some nations like Norway Sweden doing radical things to mitigate the environmental problems but i think its going to take the ocean flowing down Wall St or through the City of London and millions are dieing from famine before some governments wake up, because theyre still obsessed with the money they can make from extracting billions of years of fossilised sunlight from in coal,gas and oil than using whats coming at us free day in day out.

    By then theyll just think up ways to punish us all financially for the situation we created.

  • Absolutely right we need to take money away from the system somehow,maybe bartering etc, but as stated above this system is going to be hard to change because most like consuming , I'm old enough to have lived my life but it doesn't look good for the youngsters

  • Nothing wrong with beer or crisps,its the way theyre produced,raw materials shipped across the world thousands of miles, then finished products shipped thousands of miles,all the wasted energy and materisls making cans and bottles thats the problem.

    Out of interest is it still possible to get beer from monasteries in France?

    I have bought beer from a couple of the old abbey's in the past but not for quite a few years. I would imagine that some of them do still sell it as well as the other products that they sell so that they can generate an income to survive and look after the needs of the property. There are some stunning 1000 year old abbeys scattered around france.

    There are a fair few well known abbeys up in Belgium that make and sell beers that are well known throughout France and they are often very strong. Maybe they are trying to bring people closer to god,or to get them to him quicker !!!!

  • I have done many things in my life to help the planet in many ways,and nowadays I give more to charities to help them help the planet,whereas I do all the normal things like recycling,walk where I can,not fly, boycott businesses or even countries and not use mains leccy,water,gas and so forth,pick litter,plant trees and majoritively consume with consideration.

    I am not a purist and step outside of my environmental box from time to time,especially with the miles that I put in driving around europe.

    My most helpful moment or at least my moment in life that had the least impact,actually two times thinking about it.

    1. was when I was tramping around and just sleeping rough and being free in my younger years where I would walk a hundred miles to visit friends or go to a festival.

    2.Was the eleven years I spent living in yurts and being self sufficient to a high level.

    I bought a woodland in France which was great as it is now a bit of woodland that no one can touch as it is my own personal nature reserve which is superb for the local fauna,especially when one see's the rapidity of tree cover disapearing in France in rural areas.

    Also living in the woods for a good few years in my yurts. Had a tiny one to begin with and then bought a real home of a yurt.

    At this time I grew all my veggies in the woods,got water from a source just down the track,all my cooking and heating fuel was dead wood,so never needed to cut any live tree's and still to this day have not.

    Earth toilets,other food items and dairy from nearby farms where I would exchange a bit of labour for goods. I ate lots of nettles,nuts,fruits and mushrooms from the land along with what came out of the veggie patch which needless to say was all totally organic.

    I would do some gardening or dry stone walling to get some cash for any other things needed which was mostly very local.

    Albeit I do love travelling and am quite a restless person,that time was the nearest I have ever been to being settled somewhere and living the dream so to speak. I did eventually get illegally evicted by the goverment from living there but that is a story I may tell in person in conversation but see no positive reason to go into it on a forum really as not much positivity can come from it and I like to move on. I also Dont want pity and have put that anger behind me and prefer to leave it in the past.

    I would most definately live in a yurt again for both natures gain as well as my own,as to live like that in a forest one certainly is close to nature!

    However,I have got addicted to travel again now so would take the yurt on the road with me.

    If I had to pass on any advice to people now on environmental grounds,it would be to be conscientious towards how their chosen lifestyle will affect the planet and local environment as well as being a conscietious consumer. Its better to be a hypocrite and pass on good info,than just being a hypocrite period eh :-)

    Better again would be to practice what one preaches !!

    I am already running my van on a diesel-lpg mix so it is a bit better than running just on diesel,but to be running in a far less damaging way and still be able to do the miles would be preferable.

  • You can blow your mind :insane: trying to think out the consequences of this or that personal action in the environmental scene, if you backtrack or forward track far enough.

    Like is it better to have a modern convenient thing which enables me to do this or that which is perhaps environmentally better, but that convenience had to be made in the first place, and took up valuable resources, whether it is a machine of some kind, or a building, or whatever?

    For example, if I own an old transformer home welder which cost me next to nothing s/h, I can make stuff that is useful from scrap metal for very little cost. But that takes electricity, roughly half of which is nuclear-generated, and some place had to make the rods used, and the welding helmet and safety gear I'm using, and I make some shitty smoke while I'm welding as well, so what was/is the environmental cost in all that, put together? And does it outweigh what little good I am doing by saving myself a few quid by tacking bits of metal together?

    Another example: If I walk into town I could say it saves me using our vehicle, so that is good. But If I walk into town instead of taking a free bus ride, which has to go into town anyway, am I helping the environment or not? (Sure, I'm helping me, because it's good exercise, but that is something else).

    There's no easy answers to all this stuff, of course, so you just have to get on with it, and not dwell on the consequences too much, or you might get a little paranoid about it all.....[panic]

  • What you say about the bus is quite right,it will be going anyway and some people will need to take it so by not getting on it will not make a difference to the environment in that case.

    Sometimes we have to make small sacrifices to make a difference when an easier and lazier option is available.

    Where I am at the moment,the bins and recycling bins are just less than a mile away. Yesterday I needed to go to them and get rid of my empties after the rugby and some trash and it would of been easy to jump in the van and quickly nip them up there,but no. I had time and exercise and fresh air are good and had another option than driving,so I walked up there in the rain with a couple of carrier bags of stuff.

    Better for me,better for the environment it made sense to do it.

    If one does not make the effort in cases like that then they do not get into the habit of doing so and we are creatures of habit.

    The next example is not environmental in any way,but I always look for the parking spot the furthest away from the supermarket and get in an extra few yards of walking as that is now my habit. Fewer people do this so there is also less chance of someone smashing your vehicle with their doors.

    You are right keith that one should not dwell too much especially after an action has been made,but a little bit of thought before buying something to consider the consequences of ones actions and if there is a more positive way is not a bad thing.

    I am sure that there is little to be preached on this site as the majority of us are going to be environmentally aware , or just mentally unaware :insane:

    Nice to think though that someone may read our posts one day and learn from our examples :D Best that they do not visit every page then eh :whistle:

  • They can be till you get used to them. Care needed if you have any irregularities of the skin, and a light but steady touch needed.

    Why not try a safety razor?


    Probably the best of both worlds, and you can use the razor blades as handy knife blades when they grow too blunt for shaving.

    Or keep them until you have enough to weigh them in....:whistle:

  • As keith said,i wouldnt recommend cut-throat razor unless you got perfect skin or you be walking round with toilet paper and plasters all over your face.I used to use one regularly when i was young and my skin wasnt like the skin of a rhinoceros.Then i bought a lectric one.In truth i fuckin hate shaving but my careers required it.

    You can still easily buy metal safety razors and refill packs.Theres no need to buy throwaway razors.

    I dont buy either now, i just a pair of scissors when my beard gets tatty or lumps of sticky food been in it too long.