2 Big Decisions And The Environment

I honestly still sometimes feel that I am not yet an adult. Despite being 28 this year with 4 kids, a husband and a working household. I just want to play with Tamagotchi’s and read Jaqueline Wilson books.

Every adult has to make all sorts of decisions, and each one has an impact on something or someone, not least yourself. It is estimated that adult makes about 35,000 ‘remotely conscious’ decisions a day. That’s a lot of decisions. Ice-cream or Wispa bar? The extent to which they are conscious does not depend so much on how many hours sleep you got last night because your baby was crying, but more on whether the person making the decision is doing so with some self-awareness or whether it is subconscious. However, most of these decisions will not be life-changing.

If you are deciding whether to buy a chocolate bar on an impulse at a supermarket checkout, the worst that can happen is that you will take on a few calories. Sometimes though, the decisions that you have to make and live with are important. As a parent, your decisions could seriously affect your children so considering them carefully is imperative. This is especially true if you are concerned about the environment too. My readers would know by now how passionate I am about living a simple, eco-friendly and frugal life. It has become my dedication, to teach my children how to excel at this style of living.

In that case, things that would seem otherwise minor can take on a greater significance. While it is difficult to acknowledge, dropping litter can seriously hurt all sorts of creatures. A particularly unpleasant example is a whale which was found beached in Norway. It had 30 plastic bags in its stomach (warning: unpleasant images) which scientists said could have made it difficult to digest food as well as causing pain. Another very real reason to ditch plastic from our lives. I hate it when I see people dropping litter and it seriously bugs me when it’s kids that do it in front of their parents, when the parents then just ignore the issue. Sure, kids do silly things but it is our job as parents to teach them right from wrong.

Source: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/animal-victims-of-trash-plastic/
Source: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/animal-victims-of-trash-plastic/

Home Sweet Home…

Helping the environment is something that people need to do all the time and with regard to every decision, after all we only have this one planet, and whatever we do will affect our lives, our children’s lives and their kids to come. Some of the biggest decisions that a person makes are not exempt from this. If you are looking at new homes, you may be wondering how to go about making the most environmentally friendly decision. Well, you are already doing quite well. New homes are more energy efficient than homes built less recently. Many new properties will also already be fitted with things like double glazed windows and insulation which prevent heat from escaping, which necessitates you spend less on burning fuel, which means there is a lesser demand on the industry that retrieves those fuels from the earth, polluting it in the process. Not only that, you will save money too.

BUT, there are 2 sides to this. Many new homes are being built across the UK, most of us will know of a new development a mere stones-throw from our own homes. Eco-systems, homes for wildlife, nature spots, flood plains and our beautiful green-and-pleasant land is being replaced by concrete and rubble. Sadly it seems that more green space is being built on rather than brown sites, and many towns and villages are loosing their green doorstep right before their eyes.

I am passionate about helping people understand that their homes are the best place to start their journeys to save the planet. You can easily keep your home warm with some of my personal DIY tricks and home improvements don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Another alternative is to build or buy your own house that is specifically designed with the environment in mind. For instance, you can now get houses that are built from bales of straw, or which have a living wall. I would absolutely love to build my own home, and I’ve chatted with my dad in the past about building our own round-house, made from completely eco-friendly resources that have minimal impact on our environment, and being as close to zero waste as possible.

Dear Petrol Heads…

The car that you drive is another thing that has a big impact on the environment. The dichotomous decision between petrol and diesel (which research shows is the worse option) is not what we have to choose between anymore. While hybrid cars are still reasonably new, they are a much better option. Electric cars are not environmentally neutral since the production would have resulted in carbon being emitted, just as the delivery and sale of the car would necessitate the same. However, they are much better than their conventional predecessors. They may be a little more expensive and harder to keep (there are petrol stations all over but few charging points), but if you care about the environment, it is the right thing to do.

On a daily basis (several times a day in fact) I witness parents driving their children to school. Many of these parents only live a short walk from the school. I understand when these parents have to drop off the kids and go straight to work, but many just take the car to save a few minutes of walking and drive straight home again. Why not grab your scooter (oh c’mon, you know they’re not just for kids!) and scoot along together? Take the dog with you and get him out for a walk too. There are lots of fun ways you can get out of the car, save petrol costs and get fits and healthy too.

Look at car-shares online. Many people offer seat space for a chip-in to the petrol cost (and its often cheaper than the bus). Explore your options and you’ll be surprised at how much cash you can save (and have a guilt-free-plane-loving conscience too!


How To Save Money While Saving The Environment

Awareness of the dangers of human activity to the environment is becoming more well known all the time. The Newhouse Family try our very hardest in our day to day lives to reduce the effect we have on the planet. We slashed how much we send to landfill, upped out recycling efforts, reuse and recycle as much as possible and cut disposable items from our shopping list. We are currently on a journey into living a self sufficient lifestyle, but how realistic is reaching this goal in a 21st century Britain?

A study conducted a few years ago revealed that 88% of Britons believe that climate change is taking place. The measures that need to be taken to convince the other 12% may be immaterial. Perhaps the continuing and rather obvious effects on the planet will eventually convince them. However, it does not matter how many people acknowledge the problem if they are not going to do anything about it. In a separate survey conducted last year, only 10.8% of the Britons asked said that it was a serious concern. The problem with climate change is that society has become so reliant on a lot of the things that the Industrial Revolution made possible that they perhaps do not want to relinquish those things. Taking a long transcontinental flight is exceptionally convenient, and if the more environment-conscious option is time-consuming and more expensive, it is difficult to imagine that many people will opt for it. Besides, a lot of the more obvious effects of climate change are taking place far away, whether it is melting ice caps in the Arctic or islands in the Pacific that will no longer exist anymore. It can be difficult for some people to see the correlation between these events and the small decisions that they make in their everyday lives.

However, the impact that they will have on the environment is incontrovertible. While there are lots of things that can be improved in terms of transport and waste disposal, there are many improvements that everyone can make to their own homes. Here are a few:

  1. Firstly, if you are in the market for a house, you may be thinking about what sort of property would be best. Newer homes are more energy efficient compared to buildings that were built before improvements in energy saving technology. Buying a new home may, therefore, be a socially conscientious decision. But on the contrary, buying an older home and making improvements may be a more eco-wise option. A new development may have been built on green space, destroying the homes of wildlife and ecosystems, British farming space eliminated and our green-and-pleasant land turned to unsightly concrete. Building homes need fuel to work the machinery, materials developed in factories abroad and the carbon footprint left behind from these huge development sites can be huge.
  2. If you have an older property, you can still improve it though. Investing in Buckingham Double Glazing can help save you both money and energy. With the cost of utilities set to rise again this year, wasting it by allowing it to escape through inefficient windows is as good as just burning money. There are lots of ways (tried and tested by myself) that can cut fuel costs, save you money and save the planet at the same time. You can find my best tips for reducing your heating bill here.
  3. Another great thing that you can do is insulate your house. The government offers a variety of grants to help you with the costs of not only insulating but also utility bills and all sorts of other energy saving improvements.
  4. While it may be rather cynical to think in terms of making money, the truth is that houses that are more energy efficient will attract better prices when they are sold. You could add as much as £16,000 to the value of your home while helping the environment too.
  5. If you install solar panels or a wind turbine, your energy supplier could actually pay you money in a government scheme called ‘Feed In’. The tariff is designed to encourage private citizens to contribute to the national grid.
  6. Install water butts in your garden. Every time it rains, the water is washed away down our drains. Installing water butts from the guttering on your home, off of sheds and even greenhouses means rain water is collected to be used on dry days. Watering your plants with collected rain water will save you lots of money instead of turning on the garden hose. Rainwater is better for your plants as it doesn’t contain the chemicals used when making water drinkable, which comes from your taps at home.