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Environmental change - What can we do?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by Avenged7Fold, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. StriderX


    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 22,423

    Mini revolutions is a problem... they tend to be extreme. 30 year minimum for CO2 lifetime.
  2. Avenged7Fold


    Joined: Sep 12, 2012

    Posts: 11,632

    Location: Surrey

    Friends of mine have gone completely non-recyclable plastic free where they can. They have described it as incredibly difficult. The highest difficulty was actually in the bathroom rather than the kitchen, where cosmetics and personal hygiene products usually all come in plastic.

    Both really. A shift towards more efficient use of resources and generally cleaner living can contribute to a shift in the overall attitude toward different environmental issues. The thread is about what we have done, what we could do or what we might like to do to make a difference.

    The article in OP was also posted in GD after this one but it quickly devolved to people wishing death on human race and others threatening family members with lion attacks. As funny as that was, it wasn't exactly heading in a very constructive direction towards the subject of the debate.
  3. RedvGreen


    Joined: Dec 2, 2009

    Posts: 3,907

    Location: Midlands

    We have gone organic as much as possible, and meat free as much as we can (still have sea bass and chicken though).

    We buy vege and use paper bags; our daily drinks bottles are steel.

    I’ve looked into solar but we have an East to West roof so we get virtually no subsidy, so it would cost us around £10k minimum. Likewise the wind turbines are prohibitive round here due to space, trees etc.

    Whilst every one of us could get solar panels and drive electric cars, the offset damage to the environment is blown away by USA sticking two fingers up at Global Warming because it’s not profitable, and that’s not even considering other countries ...
  4. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 65,169

    It is one that frustrates me a bit as there just aren't options for a lot of the stuff I use or alternatives to go non plastic.
  5. FishFluff


    Joined: Nov 7, 2003

    Posts: 5,212

    Location: Deepest, darkest Leeds

    I try my best. I've cut down on meat and what meat I do still eat is usually chicken that's slaughtered on site at a farm shop that I cycle to. Beef is now a once a week thing in our house. Cutting out plastic is far more difficult :( I'm also considering getting rid of my car. I cycle most places and it would probably work out cheaper to hire a car for the times I need one (trips to see my parents/in laws 50 miles away) than pay VED/insurance/maintenance on the one I already own. Also haven't had kids and no plans to.

    Everything I do is a drop in the ocean in terms of impact, but I'm a firm believer in that 'be the change you want to see in the world' stuff. Realistically though the planet is absolutely ******. Give it 20 years and we'll really start to see the impact of rising temperatures and by then it'll be far too late.
  6. 413x


    Joined: Jan 13, 2010

    Posts: 16,516

    Location: Cardiff

    Only buy vege stuff at home (still have meat out though, trying to lessen this)

    Try to only buy cotton clothes (gym stuff is an exception)

    It's difficult to know what is and what isnt recyclable. And worse.. Does the recycling even get recycled? If it ends up getting chucked into the sea (extreme example) then better to go into landfill!

    Never going to be able to go without a car. Unfortunately electric cars aren't viable. But want my next car to be.

    Just think if everyone did a little, no one would have to do a lot.

    If everyone up a bucket of plastic from beach each time they went world Wide imagine what a difference it would make

    Try to do my bit, know I could do more, believe we are doomed because we will be too late.
    Life will go on, thats the only good thing. Even if we dont
  7. D.P.


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 30,347

    I agree with the sentiments that we are screwed anyway. We need a radical global change, all countries dropping meat consumption by 10-20% a year every year for 10-15 years. Same for CO2 emissions. Along with massive subsidies into green energy, public transport, efficiency improvements. This simply wont happen.

    However, in order to to start make such dramatic changes that are required to become feasible we need to initiate the change. We might not succeed in our life times, but if we can re-normalize expectations for our children then they can lead the clean revolution.

    Moreover, many of the changes can have big personal benefits in terms of health, life and finances. Cutting meat consumption improves health, increases weight loss, improves life expectancy and saves money. Similarly if you can cut commuting down or bike/walk to work etc. Electric cars are not quite there yet in term of mass market of high range EVs, but they are already cheaper to own and operate than combustion powered cars (break even point at about 50,000 miles). Solar panels also have a pay-back time of 8-10 years in the UK (8 years south coast, 10 N England). If you own a house without the intention if moving then this could be a good financial investment.
  8. Mercenary Keyboard Warrior


    Joined: Aug 4, 2007

    Posts: 10,003

    Location: Wilds of suffolk

    Its interesting as I hadnt thought much about this until recently.
    Last night I heard someone say to use meat for the flavour and not as the main part of the dish. It got me thinking, with a little effort thats not hard to do. Tom Kerridge did a weight loss series and we got the book. He uses quite a few techniques in that to bring out the flavour from things so you can use less of them. Meat is a great example where you can do things that bring out the flavour so your not missing the flavour whilst using less. I genuinely thought last night to try to use less meat.
    Slow cooking being a good starting point. It extracts a lot of the flavours and they end up in the sauce, you can add relatively bland food to bulk it out as the flavour you pick up most from comes from the sauce.

    Plastic I am kind of annoyed by the zealotism thats suddenly taken over in this area, there are good and bad plastic uses. By far the worst and the one to target initially is single use. Plastic spoons, straws etc.
    Where it makes sense to use plastic IMHO it should be recyclable, and there should be a tariff on this to get the majority reused. So narrow it down into a few usable types and make this have a deposit charged based on weight. Then allow clean plastic to be recycled and a refund given to buy back the plastic.
  9. Semple


    Joined: Mar 5, 2010

    Posts: 5,725

    I would say i'm recycling a lot more, and trying to buy bigger capacities of things as opposed to several small ones. Although i do think the companies could promote these things better by making the larger capacities slightly cheaper. Point in case... i was looking at mouthwash this morning, and they had offers on Listerine 500ml bottles that made them cheaper to buy than 1L bottles.

    The plastic bag 'tax' was a great idea, but it's only Coop that i know of that have replaced their plastic bags with compostable ones. I think all supermarkets need to follow this route, i appreciate people do forget bags, or don't bring enough etc. But at least offering compostable ones will reduce the impact on the environment.
  10. UTmaniac


    Joined: Nov 9, 2005

    Posts: 5,051

    Location: Here

    How are supermarkets getting away with selling items needlessly wrapped in plastic, for a lower price than loose products?
    For example...
    6x Sainsburys Baked Beans tins wrapped in plastic £1.50, 6x loose tins £1.80... Why can't modern "smart tills" count six individual tins and automatically give a bulk purchase discount?
    5x bananas in a plastic bag at Tesco Express £1, 5x loose bananas £1.25... What's wrong with the tough banana skin?

    Why are cucumbers sold wrapped in plastic?
    Why do Nescafe sometimes sell coffee in a promotional metal tin, with the coffee then inside a refill bag and then sell it cheaper than standalone refill bags?

    For some crazy reason, whether it's the shop or the manufacturer or both, we are so often encouraged to buy the less eco-friendly product because it is sold at a lower price! It's far easier to make the eco-friendly decision when your household income is higher, but for households with tight budgets, they might want to do the right thing but they need to think about their finances first and foremost. There's far too many manufacturers that don't give a flying sexual intercourse about the environment, profit is king unless they are shamed into changing to more eco-friendly practices.

    Southampton has had skips dotted around the city for plastic that isn't supposed to be put in our council recycling bins, but they been pulled recently, because the firm running them can no longer send this plastic to China! So now we have to put them in general waste.

    Southampton has never expanded its recycling to date to officially allow aluminium to be put in recycling bins, yet it's a limited resource, which I believe some areas do recycle.

    Have the UK coffee shops stopped using those disposable cups that cannot be recycled, because there are only two recycling plants in the country capable of separating out the different materials? Absolutely shocking IMO! https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-43739043

    In my opinion, too many people use cars far too often for short journeys less than approximately five miles. Around rush hours, I can cycle that distance in under 25mins from SO15 to SO18 (the uphill commute home) using back lanes, while that same journey by car could easily take close to double the time. And it's not as if these cars are all filled with 3+ people, while there are now weekly tickets available for £6 on the likes of the Bluestar 18 that travel between SO16 and SO19. There's far too many people who don't do enough for the environment, convenience is king and trumps what has is happening and has happened to our planet, especially over the last ~125 years.
  11. StriderX


    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 22,423

    Personally, the most egregious thing i've seen recently is the singularly packed breasts of chicken or burgers, like who the actual **** can't freeze them?

    /minor rant

    Well it would appear the continuing progression of worsening studies down on the environment is not abated, with the amount of energy that we thought we'd pumped into the oceans being far higher than previously thought, i imagine it's nearly game over honestly. With no change in course the plankton will die, mind you fish would be long extinct before then.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  12. The Running Man


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 33,211

    Location: block 16, cell 12

    Whatever you do will make zero difference apart from increasing the cost burden to yourselves.

    Unless you have the ability to disappear China.
  13. Avenged7Fold


    Joined: Sep 12, 2012

    Posts: 11,632

    Location: Surrey

    Chinas attitude towards the environment and green energy has massively improved. They are investing more into green energy than anyone heading the biggest green energy projects in the world.

    China may have the poorer statistics when it comes to pollution but I believe that is because the west has always been very good at seeming as if they are green, rather than actually being green. We export massive amounts of waste to other countries for them to deal with. This year China banned waste importers and has put real efforts into turning around its poor environmental record. What did we do? We sought out other countries with poorer marine waste management histories to export waste to.

    Very easy to blame China and list large numbers but when they were both the industrial sector of the world and the waste bin of the world, others should accept some blame and responsibility. It isn't like any of it is a secret.
  14. Rifte


    Joined: Sep 17, 2010

    Posts: 2,718

    Location: Somewhere in Asia

    Modi is trying to be proactive in India as well. Large EPC panel projects are common place and its a small city close to where I live there is one of the largest one in India, a sea of panels.

    The real problem here though is regulation and education (or lack of) outside of the metro cities.

    Vast proportions of the country are still burning cow dung to heat food, and without any access to the power grid diesel generators are the norm in rural India.

    When most people are struggling to get by financially the impacts of the type of fuel they burn is the least of their concern. Whatever is the cheapest is consumed, and coal provides that medium.

    Even in the cities where most of the development is taking place the pollution is just awful. Delhi had a few days in the last year where central government told its people to stay indoors.

    Diwali is coming up and the national papers indicate that pollution levels jump by as much as 40% in some areas of the cities. Last year where I live if you went out in the evening it was difficult to breathe.

    Personally I think we have passed the point of no return, I just dont see this getting any better.
  15. satchef1


    Joined: Apr 17, 2009

    Posts: 4,443

    China is making considerable inroads. It still burns massive amounts of coal, but it has no real alternative in the short-run.

    We were able to ditch coal pretty quickly because we had falling electricity demand, spare generation capacity in our gas plants, and a growing renewables sector. It took us 5 years to drop coal from 40% of the UK electricity mix, to just 6.7%.

    China's renewables sector is growing rapidly, only currently outstripped by India (which has its own issues, see above). But they have growing energy demands, and in the short-run, they have no real alternatives to coal. Natural gas and nuclear make up a tiny proportion of electricity production. The country's carbon footprint won't start to fall until next decade. But it will fall, likely quite quickly. They're expected to be producing 40% of the world's renewable energy by 2022(!).
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  16. satchef1


    Joined: Apr 17, 2009

    Posts: 4,443

    I need to get back on the wagon with cutting down on meat consumption. I was really good with it earlier in the year. Then went on a training diet, which required an increased consumption of meat. And since I've come off that diet, I've reverted to all of my bad habits (overconsumption of meat, simple carbs, sugar, beer). Need to get myself sorted out TBH.

    The plastic thing is really annoying. Multipack items and pre-packed fruit/veg simply sell better than loose items. And biodegradable packaging costs significantly more than ordinary packaging. Aldi and Lidl have forced the supermarket industry in to a game of cost cutting and price competition. Not one of the major retailers is going to stick its neck out on this, because industry conditions mean they cannot afford to unless everyone does the same. Legislation is needed.
  17. StriderX


    Joined: Mar 18, 2008

    Posts: 22,423

    And Africa's will replace that growth making those inroads pointless, we're hitting roadblocks in that decade that we CANNOT fix in a life time.

    We need to drop back to 350 ppm of CO2 pretty much within the decade to stop the maddening rise of temperatures. We should just be preparing for the reality that we've screwed it up and start living in the new habitat to best of our abilities.
  18. sigma

    Perma Banned

    Joined: Nov 13, 2006

    Posts: 16,577

    It pretty much all lies in the hands of governments really, they can try to (or forcefully via tax) change people's/business' behaviour and they can also invest in tech to help improve/research tech. None of that wins votes or makes donators happy though.

    Perhaps this is why AI will take over and rule the universe :p let's not forget that the Earth will survive and some organic life will too.
  19. b0rn2sk8


    Joined: Mar 9, 2003

    Posts: 4,918

    It’s all down to a combination of bulk buying and waste.

    Baked beans are cheaper in a six pack because every so many of the loose cans get damaged and have to be reduced or binned. That doesn’t happen in the six pack.

    5 bananas in a plastic bag are more likely to sell, it’s a convenient quantity and you don’t get left with loads of odd single bananas. People that want 4 but the nicest looking bunch has 5 even if there are decent bunches of 4 next to it will split the 5 into 4 and 1. The singles never sell and are binned.

    Cucumbers are sold in plastic because their skins damage easily and you can’t put a barcode sticker on them (they fall off). They can’t sell a cucumber with a damaged skin and it takes a long time for checkout staff to look up the code for a cucumber so it’s actually cheaper to wrap them in plastic and put a sticker on it. Pretty much everything has a sticker on it now, the days of the fruit and veg code books are long dead.

    Pretty much the same applies for all loose fruit and veg, that’s why it’s often cheaper to buy it pre-bagged than loose. The wastage on loose is mind boggling due to damage and poor consumer behaviour. Supermarkets worked out years ago they will sell far more, have a higher quality product, have less waste and thus make more money by pre bagging.
  20. Nasher


    Joined: Nov 22, 2006

    Posts: 14,653

    Putting some sort of control on our numbers would help loads, but it's political suicide to suggest it.