Tuesday, 16 June 2015

For the love of... Swindon

Guest blog from Anna in Swindon WI

Tomorrow, 17th June 2015, I will be Speaking Up because climate change affects all aspects of our lives: our homes, our food, our health, and even our security.  From the frequency and severity of droughts and floods to the land available for crops, from our ability to access clean water supply to the air that we breathe – all these things are fundamental to human and wild life. And as we put ever greater pressure on our dwindling resources, we risk increased conflict globally.

I believe that we can still help to reduce this pressure by acting responsibly and swiftly on climate change. We share the responsibility for man-made changes to our world, and therefore we share the responsibility to mitigate the damage our lifestyles have done to it. We still have time to make a positive change – but we need to be honest and we need our politicians to be honest, about the extent of the problem and in the extent of action required. We need to take fast and decisive action that is collective and looks to the long game.

So along with friends from Incredible Edible Swindon, the Swindon Climate Action Network, and the WI, I will be heading to Westminster to talk to my MP about what positive action he can take as an MP on climate change. I’m looking forward to hearing his views on climate change, how Swindon can play its part in reducing UK emissions and become a more sustainable town, and how Swindon residents can get involved. 

I hope that my MP will show real commitment to making Swindon’s transport, food supply, industry, and energy consumption properly sustainable – leaving aside party politics to focus on the welfare of Swindon residents and the wider population.  I also hope that, as a Conservative MP, he will get behind calls on the UK Government to push for real commitment at COP21 from all world leaders, and real decisive action to divesting from polluting activities, while investing short and long-term measures to mitigate and reverse the damage.

But it is not just MPs who can take action on climate change.  We as individuals also have our part to play. Adapting your routine and lifestyle to be more “green” is always a work in progress and can seem daunting. Below is a list of some of the steps I take in my daily life that work for me that you can try as well:

• Improving the energy efficiency of my home: removing draughts with draft excluders, insulating the loft, hanging heavy curtains over doors and windows to keep heat in, and only heating the house when I need to.

• Reducing food miles:  buying local at local farmers markets, local veg box schemes, and growing the things I like that are a bit pricey; eating seasonally if buying in the supermarket.

• Reducing water usage/waste and the harmful chemicals I put in it: using eco-friendly detergents for washing clothes, dishes and home, and re-using my washing up water for the garden. Using rainwater to water the garden reduces mains consumption and is better for the plants as rainwater is chlorine-free. Having quick showers reduces water and heat needed – win/win.

• Sustainable transport: using public transport for longer journeys if I can and if I’m travelling alone; walking rather than driving to the shop/into town to meet friends; cycling if possible; sharing lifts if we can.

•  Reducing waste/trash: not wasting food, or composting what I can’t eat; re-using bottles/jars for home-made things and recycling anything else. Polystyrene and non-recyclable packaging is my bugbear – so I avoid buying anything wrapped-up in this stuff.

• And of course…SPEAKING UP.  On June 6th, my WI held a public bunting drop-in at a local cafĂ©, where Swindonians popped in and made bunting pennants while talking about climate change over a cup of tea.

So, For the love of… please join me and thousands of other people in London on 17th June to celebrate all that we love and to tell our MPs that we want them to take a strong action on climate change.

More information about how to Speak Up: http://fortheloveof.org.uk/speakup/

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