Today I had to go to Sydney for an ultrasound and, for the first time ever for a medical appointment, actually caught the train down.
For most people this would have been no big deal but I’ve xenical side effects always driven to Sydney for appointments. Partly because of the comfort of the car when I’ve been unwell, partly because I usually try to do half a dozen other things when I go down to avoid “wasting” a day, partly because I’m usually running late and partly because I love listening to the radio on the trip down. While I was on the train I wrote myself a “Shop to make it drop” list. Unfortunately, as you can see by my tickets, it’s not cheap to catch the train and, had the whole family been going, it would have been cheaper to drive. Anyway, here’s the beginnings of my list which I hope to perfect as I learn more:
Shop To Make It Drop
A 12 Step Programme to Lower Carbon Emissions
1. Ask yourself before you buy anything whether you really need it; if you do would it be possible to borrow or swap it, or buy it secondhand rather than buying new.
2. Choose the product with the least amount of packaging :
â€¢ if possible save jars and containers and buy from a local coop, butcher shop, health food shop or deli without any packaging at all
â€¢ buy bulk where possible
â€¢ if you drink at a pub make sure you only buy drinks on tap rather than in bottles
â€¢ avoid plastics and aluminium where possible – plastics are made of petrochemicals and most leak hormone disruptors into food. The energy used to produce and recycle them is greater than for glass. Glass can be reused and recycled and makes a healthy food storage container if you keep it and reuse it. In order of packaging preference choose recycled cardboard, then glass, then aluminium or plastic. Aluminium has been described as a “brick of electricity”. 40% of the world’s aluminium smelters have moved to Australia because of cheap coal and therefore they have a huge vested interest in maintaining cheaply priced coal fired electricity. Avoid anything made of aluminium but if you can’t make sure you recycle it.
3. Buy local and organic if possible because local supports your local community, is fresher, does not need to be transported long distances (carbon miles) and generally doesn’t need to be packaged as heavily; organic uses less chemicals which build up in the environment and ultimately destroy natural soil fertility, and is usually healthier for you. If you have to choose between the two choose local rather than organic.
4. Buy food fresh where you can – less processing and packaging therefore less carbon emissions, and also less GST.
5. If you must buy books and magazines check that they have been produced on recycled paper. If they aren’t (most aren’t) contact the publisher and ask them to reconsider printing on recycled. Only buy paper if its recycled. If the newsagent or shop doesn’t have it ask them to order it in.
6. Electrical appliances – avoid them as much as possible! If you really need something get the best energy rating possible. Imagine that you are relying on solar panels and can’t run too many appliances at once
7. Cars – difficult until we get better government support on this. Avoid driving if you can. Choose hybrid, at this stage, if you can afford them, diesel if you have access to biodiesel. Otherwise the smaller the fuel consumption the better.
8. In the same way you can get into the habit of taking a shopping bag with you to avoid plastic bags, get into the habit of taking a cup with you for drinks of water. Do not drink bottled water in plastic containers.
9. Reduce the amount of milk and meat you consume as stock are huge emitters of methane as well as carbon dioxide when transported. If you want to continue eating them make sure you choose organic, as organic animals are pasture fed rather than fed in feedlots which generates a lot more methane.
10. Where possible only buy retro or recycled clothes; if you can’t then select fabrics carefully – hemp is better than denim or cotton; polar fleece is recycled;
11. Building materials – use recycled wood and other materials where possible; avoid cement and aluminium which are huge greenhouse gas emitters
12. Wood – only buy wood that has been grown using sustainable forestry practices.
On the trip I spoke about global warming to the people sitting next to me on the train, to the sonographer and her staff, to the people serving me in the hemp shop and to the man standing outside the bakery. Got email addresses from two of them because they wanted me to send info about this blog. I think this could count as political action – especially as one of the guys works in transport and was organising a public information session about nuclear.
Going to Sydney and not spending money is VERY HARD. I forced myself to walk past Gleebooks without even looking in but, because I genuinely did need a new pair of jeans I thought I’d check out the hemp shop in Newtown and came out with a pair of black hemp pants. Feeling a bit guilty about this but don’t have time to go to opshops at the moment to buy a secondhand pair that would fit me and look good enough for giving public presentations.
I hadn’t been organised enough to take food and drinks with me but made sure I bought a juice in a reusable glass bottle (with screw on lid) and late in the day had a beer on tap at the Central Station Bar (because I just missed the train and had to wait AGES for the next one). Feeling chuffed that I didn’t let myself get tempted by magazines.