Eco Tips

Embsay and Eastby Eco Tips

In 2021, we decided to have a weekly eco tip, in line with our themes for prayers.  We are going to collect the eco tips here.  Although the themes are a guide, we are not sticking rigidly to them if there is something else which is more topical!

January: Where are we now?

Watch 'Feast to save the planet' on BBC iplayer, if you didn’t see it on the BBC2 Horizon programme. Food accounts for a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, so making informed choices about what we eat is more important than ever and is one way as individuals and households we can reduce our carbon footprint. The programme is a dinner party where the guests have to predict the carbon footprint of each item on the menu. As the dishes are plated up we find out how to choose dishes that don’t cost the earth and as you would expect there are some surprises.

Calculate our environmental footprint using the WWF Footprint Calculator to provide a baseline of where we are now, as individual households, at the start of St Mary’s Eco-church journey towards the Eco church gold award. It only takes a few minutes to complete and once you’ve got your score please make a personal record of it so that when you’re asked to do it again you will be able to see if any practical actions you’ve taken has made a difference. Hopefully we will gain evidence needed to evaluate changes in behaviour as a result of increasing awareness of how our lifestyles impact on the earth and all that lives in it.  If you think any of your neighbours and friends in the village would be interested in calculating their footprint please encourage them.

You are encouraged to join the Eco Café, hosted by St Andrew's Methodist Church in Skipton, to rind out what other individuals and groups who are concerned about the health of our planet are doing.

Find out and reflect on whether:  your tea bags contain plastic,  your toilet roll is made from recycled paper, how many main meals have you eaten this week that contain meat? Are you prepared to make swaps this coming week/next time you go shopping to be more environmentally friendly?

February: Fairtrade

Support small farmers in this country who are acting as custodians of the land for future generations by buying  organic, low impact, less travelled food when you can and if you eat bananas make sure that they are Fairtrade. The producers of other brands are not getting a living wage.

 

Find about how Fairtrade contributes to a more sustainable world for us all by watching this video. It’s an animation based on the story of Teresa, a coffee farmer from Nicaragua.

 

Fairtrade and sustainability | Fairtrade Foundation

March: Climate action

This week's eco action is to buy local for at least two meals in the coming week because buying local seasonal produce helps support biodiversity as well as reducing carbon emissions.

The second online Eco Café on 20 March, organised by St Andrew’s Church in Skipton, will be considering the question, “What inspires us to be green?”. Michael Jennings, from ‘Steep and Filter’ on Otley Street will be opening the discussion by sharing his thoughts.

Now is a good time to start thinking about what recycled materials you could use to make a cross to display in your garden or window during Holy and Easter weeks.

April: Water use

Check and, if necessary, reduce your shower time. The average shower uses 75 to 190 litres of water so try and make sure your showers are under five minutes. This is normal practice in some countries where water shortages are commonplace.

If you were asked how much water an individual in the UK uses in a day I wonder what you would say. Perhaps anything between 50 and 100 litres? The figure is actually 140 litres. I for one forget that water is intrinsically linked to energy – energy needed to treat and pump the water into our homes. Then there’s energy to produce hot water in our homes. So this week’s eco-suggestions are use cold water rather than hot water when it makes sense and make sure that washing machines and dishwashers are full before using them. Our reputation for a rainy climate distracts from how the relationship between rainfall and the water available to us really works. Water is a precious resource and climate change means that it is becoming more unpredictable; so far April has been a dry month but last February was the wettest on record.

Saving water is another way to reduce our carbon footprint.

This week’s eco tip – Minimise evaporation by watering garden plants during the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler and if you don’t have a water butt to take advantage of water stored during wet weather why not investigate the huge variety available in different sizes, shapes and materials. There must be one to suit your requirements.

May: food

This week’s tip is to do with waste because 30% of the food produced in the world is wasted, with serious repercussions for the environment. In fact, if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the USA.

This week’s Eco tip is an easy one to achieve - Reduce food waste by freezing anything you can’t eat while it’s fresh and , where possible, buy loose produce so you can select the exact amount that you need. You’ll avoid packaging at the same time if you use your own bags and containers when you shop.

Use left over coffee grounds for repelling garden pests, deodorising your fridge and hands, boosting compost and fertilising plants. For more information read, “Grinding away: 11 ways of using leftover coffee grounds” (The Guardian, 9 May 2021)

Have a go at the “Dietary carbon footprint quiz What should I eat to save the planet? (The Guardian). Be warned it’s challenging.

This week’s food related eco tip – compost uncooked fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells (these keep the heap from smelling), coffee grounds, tea bags IF they don’t contain plastic. Composting works best if you add a fair quantity of material at a time, so it’s best to save up kitchen scraps and add them with some prunings or old bedding plants, shredded plain cardboard and newspaper.  

This week’s Food related Eco suggestions - Top 8 Tips for Sustainable Eating

·        Avoid Highly Processed Foods. ...               

·        Choose Nutritious Foods. ...

·        Avoid Overeating. ...

·        Avoid Purchasing Fresh Foods Out of Season. ...

·        Use Preserved Foods in the Off Season. ...

·        Consider Organic Foods. ...

·        Reduce Food Packaging. ...

·        Trim Food Waste.

This week’s food related eco-tip - Eat plenty of these eco-friendly foods – Garden peas, lentils, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, beans, broccoli, oranges and Fairtrade chocolate. Not only are they in the top ten list of eco-friendly foods but they are also good for you.

June: Gardening and land use

Come along and take part in the churchyard count on Friday 11 June AND next time you are thinking about a new plant for your garden choose one that will attract bees and butterflies. To discover the ten best plants for bees and butterflies look at 10 best plants for bees and butterflies (sundaygardener.co.uk)

This week’s eco tip/suggestion -  create a log pile lodge. Decaying wood is really important for wildlife. To make a log pile, simply collect small logs, large sticks and pieces of rotting wood. Pile them up in a damp, shady area of your garden, then stuff some dead leaves in the nooks and crannies to make it cosy. Good for: centipedes, woodlice and beetles who like to burrow into decaying wood. Log piles may also attract birds, frogs and hedgehogs looking for a tasty snack!

This week’s eco suggestions – bees of all kinds love dandelions so consider letting them flourish in a corner of your garden. Baby hedgehogs will be appearing soon so consider leaving out water and some meat (not fish) - based cat or dog food for them.

In June, we had a discussion about land and gardening after one of the morning services.  Here are some of the ideas from the discussion:

If you have more garden/allotment space than you can manage, see if you can find somebody to share it with you.  If it’s your garden and they’re cultivating it, you can probably share the produce.

 

Plant:

(i) pollinator-friendly plants (many plant labels in nurseries have a bee symbol on them to indicate suitable ones; also, look for which plants pollinators are heading for in the nursery/garden centre) Suggestions of suitable plants can be found on the following websites: www.sundaygardener.co.uk (10 best plants for bees and butterflies), www.wildflower.co.uk and www.makeitwild.co.uk.

(ii) a selection of flowering plants which blossom from spring (eg dandelions, though you probably don’t need to plant these specially – nature will do that for you!) through to autumn (eg the large sedums); plan for the `hungry gap’ in early spring (an early warm spell may bring out the pollinators before there’s anything much flowering)

(iii) at least some single-layer-of-petals flowers as the showy `doubles’ eg begonias, are difficult for pollinators to access - however lovely they look!

(iv) wildflowers where you can as we have lost 97% of our wildflower meadows; also some of what we would class as weeds eg nettles, are important food sources for some insect species (which form an important part of longer foodchains) – again, these will probably plant themselves

(v) your own vegetables and fruit: zero food miles and provenance assured – result!

(vi) companion plants eg marigolds with tomato plants etc, which deter harmful insects from bothering your crops  

(vii) hedges where possible, instead of fences; include a variety of species of plants – hawthorn is especially beneficial

(ix) seeds/small plants into re-cycled, water-retaining containers eg cardboard toilet roll middles and papier mache tubs (if you buy fruit and veg at Keelham) rather than buying plastic trays; often the cardboard tube can be planted with the plant, to avoid soil disturbance, or composted after use.

 Utilisation of your space:

(i) try to leave some wilder areas – see nettles above, etc.  Remember: a weed is only a plant in what YOU consider is the wrong place

(ii) leave some gaps in fences etc as wildlife corridors so mammals such as hedgehogs (threatened species) can move between gardens.  Remember: garden fences are a human social construct irrelevant to wildlife!

(iii) solar panels to generate electricity can go on elevated/sloping land, they don’t have to go on a roof

(iv) a pond – even a small one - will bring in many extra species, but do provide a `beach’ eg some stones at one side, to allow small mammals to get in and out safely

(v) install a `bug hotel’ – see the internet for instructions – and bird/bat boxes; you can re-use materials such as left-over pallets and bits of wood

(vi) if you have a glut of produce, share it.

 Things to think about before taking action:

(i) try to limit the use of pesticides and weedkillers; try to be as organic as possible within your lifestyle and limitations such as mobility issues

(ii) avoid the bird-nesting season when cutting hedges

(iii) if you’re trimming back berry-bearing plants, do it early in the season or leave it until the birds have had their fill of the autumn berries

(iv) with soft fruit, you’ll need to net it to avoid the birds eating it all but leave them some fruit (as there is a strong Biblical imperative for this!)

(v) next year, remember `no mow May’ if you didn’t manage it this year.

 B - General land use around the world

(i) the cultivation of some products eg cotton and palm oil may involve very intensive farming (cotton production takes a lot of water and natural habitats are often destroyed for the monoculture of huge palm oil plantations), so try to source ethical products – look for evidence of sustainability and Fairtrade as a start

(ii) peatbogs are a vital medium for absorbing carbon - even better than rainforests - and, to make things worse, they release carbon when disturbed; try to avoid using peat-based compost, even if you have to pay a bit more or source it more carefully, and consider other growing media as substitutes

(iii) consider the implications of your purchases and investments in how land and other scarce natural resources are used to produce things; there are websites which can advise.

 Overlap with other monthly themes/issues:

(i) educate/train other family members (and friends?) also to bear in mind these issues – and others, like food miles and excess/disposable packaging – in their purchasing

(ii) help others by working with the local food bank – remember that St Mary’s Church is a drop-off point

(iii) remember that `Re-use, recycle and re-purpose’ is an excellent philosophy for everyday life. 

July: investments

Take a look at the Shared Interest website and if you can invest £100 or more in a fairer world - Shared Interest Ethical Investment Co-operative (shared-interest.com) Since 1990 Shared Interest has enabled millions of people across the world to grow their businesses creating thriving communities. Their aim is to alleviate poverty by enabling people in remote and disadvantaged communities, to trade and earn a living. This is achieved by pooling the investments of over 11,000 members to lend funds to farmers and handcraft producers, who buy seeds, fertilisers and raw materials. Once they sell their crops or crafts, they pay back the loan, and this money is lent again. Your investment will not make you rich but it will enrich the lives of others.

This week we’d like you to consider the biblical principles for personal saving and investment. Who should we trust with our savings? Is the highest return all that counts or should this be sacrificed to moral principle? What do you think?  Paul Mills’ four page document is a recommended read. Link is below.

Investing as a Christian: Reaping where you have not sown? (hubspot.net)

The crux of biblical saving and investing is the same as the purpose given to every person who has placed their faith and trust in Jesus - to love God and to love others (Matthew 22:36-40). If we save money, it is to provide for our families and for those in need. In our excess, we provide others with shelter, food, clothing, and a place of refuge. If we do not have financial resources, then we offer our time, energy, and care to those in need of a friend. With our investments, we can plant seeds from which future generations can reap the fruits. Just as Jesus came not to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45), our saving and investing is not for our own kingdom, but for the Lord’s. 

Consider investing financial resources in ‘Lend with Care’. Launched in September 2010, this microfinance lending website from the development charity, Care International UK, allows individuals and groups to make small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries, and help them work their way out of poverty. Microfinance from CARE International UK (lendwithcare.org)

Consider which is more important -  how a return is made on savings OR how much return you get on savings. If you have no savings to invest think about how you spend your time. As my grandson tells me being kind doesn’t cost you anything.

August: Transport and tourism

When on holiday in the UK and overseas support the local economy by  dining in local restaurants, purchasing locally made souvenirs and gifts, visiting the local markets and pretty much anything local! This way you know your money is being fed back into the community and to the people who are hosting you.

It’s difficult to car share during the pandemic, but when things are easier, see if you can share lifts. Or maybe sometimes we can walk or cycle instead of taking the car.

If you are going away pack a zero -waste or sustainable travel kit. Resist the temptation to buy unnecessary new items. If you need to buy toothpaste, toothbrush, cotton pads, wipes and shampoo look for environmentally friendly items. For example, shampoo bars and 100% biodegradable plastic-free eco wipes, available on the Fairtrade stall.  Make sure you have a re-usable water bottle and reusable bags.

Consider offsetting the carbon emissions of any flights you make. My daughter Grace will be arriving in the UK in less than two weeks’ time and I’ve been thinking about her return journey in economy class from Denver to Manchester and how I can offset the carbon emissions – 2.4t of CO2 - of her 14,600km roundtrip. Carbon offsets are schemes that aim to reduce the environmental impact of air travel by supporting sustainable projects that lower emissions in some way. For instance, you may contribute to a renewable energy programme in your home country. You can work out the carbon emissions produced by your flights by inserting details into a carbon offset calculator

Stick to the path when walking as veering off when walking in open country could mean that you trample protected or endangered plants.

As this is the final week for the transport and tourism theme here’s another for you to consider if you’re flying in the future – pack lightly because every kilo counts when flying. The more a plane weighs the more carbon emissions it makes. I was amazed to learn that cutting one five hour flight will make your carbon footprint 1 tonne lighter.

September – Refuse, reduce, re-use and recycle.

There is so much that could be included in relation to this theme and it would be great if as many of you as possible could let me have your top two or three tips. I’m hoping that I’ll get lots and that someone will be happy to collate them under sub headings and produce a sheet/leaflet that I can share with everyone. Please let me know if you’d like to do that. I’ll start off by a tip that I’m trying to implement personally but not finding particularly easy – avoid plastic packaging by buying loose fruit and vegetables. Ace Nifty reusable produce bags made from recycled bottles were one of my best presents last Christmas.

Before you buy anything ask yourself - Do I really need it? Do I know if the people who made it were paid fairly? Could I support a circular economy and buy the item secondhand?

  • Choose two items you no longer use or may have never used, but are likely to be very useful to someone else, and bring them to the Methodist Church on Waste not Wednesday, 22nd September between 3.30pm and 6pm and call again on Takeaway Thursday, 23rd September between 3.30pm and 6.30pm and choose something to take away. For more details please see the attached poster. Anything is acceptable as long as it can be easily carried.
  • Recycle plastic milk containers by cutting off the tops and bottoms and passing on the middle portions to Lesley. They will be used to make moths in the Great Big Green Week.

Before replacing an item that no longer works ask these questions – Can it be repaired easily? – Can it be repaied cheaply? – Can parts be replaced rather than the whole product becoming unusable? If the answer is no to all of these dispose of carefully. For advice on how to recycle or dispose of common waste items   How to recycle or dispose of common waste items | Nottinghamshire County Council

Craven Stationery are happy to receive your used pens, pen refills, mechanical pencils, highlighters, correction fluid bottles and correction tapes, to be passed on to Greatwood Community Primary School for their BIC Recycling Programme. Is there anyone who’d like to organise a collection from St Mary’s as a one off or on a regular basis? I’m sure that we could all find several items suitable for dropping off at Craven Stationery and one drop off might be easier than lots of us popping into the shop on Coach Street.

Choose second-hand when you can.

The Great big Green Week 18th to 26th September

After ‘Waste not Wednesday’ several people came to ‘Takeaway Thursday’ yesterday and went away very happy. Tilly Moorhouse chose a magnifying mirror on a stand with a light for her grandma, a garlic crusher for her mum and a stylish water bottle for herself. Lesley now has a smart new small backpack and I have a pair of beautifully embroidered Irish linen pillowcases that were still in their box.

I will be bringing a few of the items that weren’t taken and putting them on display on Sunday. If you see anything you could use please take home and think about giving a donation to an appeal to help refugees.

Tomorrow, between 2pm and 4pm, there is a carousel of activities based in St Andrew’s Church Hall on Newmarket Street in Skipton, and if it’s a dry day on the grass in front of the church. Suitable for all ages and for you to drop in and stay for a short time or for the duration. Local children’s author Katie Daynes will be explaining how she talks about climate change and the environment in her new book, Incredible Edible will be sowing seeds and growing greens, there’ll be green crafting, an optional visit to the Wilderness and Mindfulness for our Planet with Lucy Irven.

On Sunday afternoon why not visit Middletown Allotments in Skipton. Joel Howard-Birt and Paula Solloway will be on hand to welcome you and show you round the two allotments they are involved with – Trinity’s Community Allotment and Incredible Edible’s plot.

October: energy use

Embrace renewables and switch to a green energy supplier.  The cost of solar power has dropped by 90% in the last decade. On one sunny, windy day in Easter 2021, Britain met 60% of its electricity needs from wind and solar alone. Wind power accounted for half the demand on 3 May. Once dependent on coal for the lion’s share of our energy, the UK now regularly enjoys long chains of coal-free days. Onshore wind gives the best returns of any single climate solution, say the experts at Project Drawdown.

Tackle draughty spots; let the sun in during the day and close the curtains at night; close the doors of unused rooms; stay warm with extra layers of clothes and blankets.

More simple energy related eco tips:

  • Cook with the lid on
  • Wash clothes at a cooler temperature and in a full load
  • When replacing dryers and fridges (the two most energy-intensive appliances in a home) choose more efficient models which can reduce your energy by a half.

Now it's getting colder, remember that layering thinner clothes traps air between the layers which ultimately should keep you warmer than a single thick garment.  This also has the advantage that you can more easily respond to different ambient temperatures, as you move between locations during the day, and it's easier (saving energy) to get thinner garments dry when you launder them.

Use water wisely. There’s a lot of energy used to purify and distribute water to our homes – so saving water can lower greenhouse gas emissions. You can do things like only filling your kettle with what you need, reducing your shower time, not keeping water running.

November: Fast fashion and shopping choices

Tip of the week - Buy less often, avoid polyester if you can, buy high quality and wear more often.

Do you really need three black t-shirts made out of thin fabric? What if you bought one, made from 100% cotton sourced from sustainable practices? Not only will you dress better, but you’ll feel better about what you wear, too.

Polyester, which is the most commonly used fibre in clothing, is made from plastic and will never fully decompose. Instead, it acts like other forms of plastic, which are rarely recycled and will break down into microplastics for years to come, harming wildlife and emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

With Black Friday coming up don’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need online even if the deal on offer seems too good to pass by. Counting to 100 or even 500 before you buy is a good tactic. As far as possible support local independent shops and buy local produce. 

Every time you buy an item of clothing ask yourself, “Will I wear it thirty times?”. If the answer is yes, then buy it, but otherwise don’t.

Support our small independent local businesses – for family and friends who have more than enough of everything consider choosing a gift for them from the Good Gifts website Good Gifts Homepage or send them a lovely gift card from Mary’s Meals Christmas gifts | Mary's Meals UK (marysmeals.org.uk) £10 gift card will provide 125 meals and £15.90 will provide a child with a nutritious meal every school day for a year.