5 July 2019

Living more sustainably

Over the last few years, I have been attempting to live more in tune with the planet's needs. I haven't given up meat or fish, but I certainly eat a lot less of both, and I gave up prawns about 15 years ago. I still make use of single-use plastic where I have no other choice, but my razor and toothbrush are now metal and bamboo respectively, and I don't buy any more than I absolutely have to. No more bags of crisps or Snickers bars for me, no more Thai desserts at Eurasie. Talking of which, I take my own crockery and cutlery every time we go so no more one-use plastic plates or plastic bags for me.

For dairy, I have really restricted my cheese intake - I like nothing better than a pizza or a large block of tasty cheese - but now it's a rare occasion where I indulge. The same goes for milk, I rarely drink it having accustomed myself to the slightly different tones and flavours of soy "milk". I recently found I can even make soy yoghurt in precisely the same way I used to make dairy yoghurt. It's not as pretty as dairy yoghurt - it's slightly more grey - but the flavour is excellent.

Finally, we've made a significant change to our holiday this year. Last year, we went to Japan for a couple of fantastic weeks, and it was a brilliant holiday with Finn; this year, we're taking a completely different tack and exploring Scandewegia - by train. It has several benefits - 1. Fona doesn't have to drive anywhere, not even to the train station; 2. It affords us the leisure to really appreciate the world we're passing through, in far more comfort and proximity than on a plane; 3. The carbon benefit is significant. We're planning on making the following journey:

  1. Bordeaux - Paris
  2. Paris - Karlsruhe
  3. Karlsruhe - Hamburg (on a sleeper train)
  4. Hamburg - Stockholm via Copenhagen
  5. Stockholm - Oslo
  6. Oslo - Gothenburg
  7. Gothenburg - Malmo
  8. Malmo - Hamburg
  9. Hamburg - Strasbourg
  10. Strasbourg - Bordeaux
For a total of roughly 5,300 KM, or about 3,290 miles.

Flying to Stockholm (STO), then Oslo (OSL) and back to Bordeaux (BOD) might cost us less money (actually, not -  I just did a search on the Bordeaux airport and going to those three destinations was going to cost nearly €10k, particularly if we didn't want to go via Istanbul). The big takeaway though is that flying would have a carbon impact of roughly 1.8 tonnes of carbon. If we were to drive all that way, it would be about a tonne; taking the 57-hour total train ride will be 0.065 tonnes (figures according to https://calculator.carbonfootprint.com).

None of us can make a significant difference in how this planet is feeling, individually. However, if we were all to be a little more conscious of the choices we make, rather than just clicking on a website, or filling our trolley in the supermarket with stuff we'll throw away it will be a better planet to leave our kids.

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