Sunday 1 May 2011

The Green Chain: raising funds for charity

The Green Chain has been set up by PriceMinister to help to raise funds for three charities, Surfers Against Sewage, Trees For Cities and Young People's Trust for the Environment. For every blogger who completes their survey they will donate £10 to one of the charities, with a further £1 each for tweeting about the initiative and liking their Facebook page.

Here are my answers to the survey.

- Turning the heating down by just one degree in your house saves 240kg of CO2 a year. It would take eight trees to soak up this amount of CO2! Are you currently doing anything to make your home eco-friendly?

Whenever a light bulb blows or an appliance grinds to a halt, we replace them with the most energy and/or water efficient we can find. There's very little more we can do to save energy as we have always been conscious of saving it, to keep fuel bills down, so turning the heating down and using appliances efficiently is already second nature to us. One recent change we have made is to switch things off rather than leaving them on standby - we'd had no idea that they were still using energy until recent publicity of the fact.

- Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface, now they only cover 2%. How are you reducing your use of paper?

Because I'm a paper crafter in my spare time, this is a very difficult one for me to answer but I  try to use my papers as economically as possible. I have a die cutting machine that helps me to use even the tiniest left over scraps, which I can cut into shapes to use on future projects.

To make up for my crafting extravagances I seldom buy newspapers and only print out emails if it is absolutely necessary.

- At PriceMinister we believe that trading second hand items online is a great way to extend the life span of products. Have you ever thought of buying or selling second hand items on or off line?

Although I have bought and sold through online auction  sites, a couple of bad experiences have put me off so now instead of buying and selling, I swap items through Freecycle.

- One of the biggest environmental challenges we face is Freshwater Shortages. Are you taking measures to reduce your water consumption?

We have a water butt, although at the moment the dry weather means it is completely empty at a time when it should be full up. Water  from preparing fruit, veg and salad is always put on the garden, our appliances are as water efficient as possible and only ever used for full loads, our main loo has a half-flush button and we always shower rather than bathe.

- How do you choose the produce that goes into your shopping basket? (any favorite products?)

Much of our veg and almost all our herbs are home grown - they have food YARDS rather then miles.

We seldom buy packaged or convenience foods, preferring to make things from scratch, and that helps  to keep the amount of packaging waste we generate to a minimum. We try to support our local small shops and when in the supermarket we look out for free range items where possible, especially eggs (they taste SO much nicer) but it can be difficult - when you're tired and busy and payday seems a long way away, the lure of the "3 for £10" chicken display can be irresistible! In the  same vein, we try to buy UK sourced fruit and veg in season rather than imported ones, but some essentials such as lemons don't grow here and we  don't beat ourselves up over the occasional punnet of out-of-season raspberries.

- What is your favourite green space near home? (a photo would be great!)

Right across the road from us is a tiny piece of open space, a very welcome site in a town which is eating up the countryside at an alarming rate. Last week, somebody tipped rubbish on it and I was very impressed that the local council cleared it up within a couple of days and circulated a letter to all homes in the area reminding them that the space must be kept clear.

- Which charity would you like to support and why?

I would like to support the Young People's Trust for the Environment. My granddaughter is almost two years old and I hope her generation will grow up to be much more aware of how important it is to look after what we have. I was brought up at a time of conspicuous consumption, when we thought natural resources would last forever and were there for the taking. If our young people grow up with the opposite view, there is still time to put things right.

- Please give us the url of a fellow blogger (or bloggers) you would like us to contact to raise an extra £10.
I'd like to tag my daughter at Mellow Mummy to see what differences are between the generations. And I'd also like to tag the handsome Rollie at Life, Ninja Killer Cat and  Everything Else to see how a cat feels about all this!

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