Friday, 5 January 2007

New Year habit changing

I had a nasty shock last autumn when I measured my eco-footprint and realised that my standard of living would require three planets to sustain it. This is one of those virus-like pieces of information that sits in your brain until you have time to relax, at which point it unravels and reveals its full power. I think I was in the woods when the penny dropped. First, this standard of living (average for Lewes, apparently) is unsustainable: It-Has-To-Stop. Second it is unfair: I easily imagined a sister, across the world, unable to feed herself. Third, it leaves me, my family, and most people I know, in rather a vulnerable position during these changing times.

Al Gore (yes, him again) warns us not to go from Denial to Despair, a very convenient segue. So I decided to take action instead. Apparently it’s all about changing habits. At the Climate Change March last November, George Monbiot urged everyone there to give up watching telly and dedicate that time instead to campaign for the environment. It’s one of the best things I’ve done. New Year is an excellent time for fresh starts. I’m working on cutting down on alcohol, my personal fuel addiction (hmmmm), and have pledged to not fly this year. Lewes District Council has published a draft report: Taking Action in a Changing Climate, which has a lot of excellent ideas for commitments we can make at home and work. The great thing about all this habit changing is that it’ll make us more robust, physically, emotionally and financially.

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