A Sustainable View From Home
07 June 2021
By Hayley Carmichael
Matt is an energy officer on the Care Without Carbon team. We asked him to reflect on the impact of the Pandemic on sustainable living for him and his family and he’s found plenty of things to feel positive about…
New hope in a greener way of living...
The effects of the pandemic have been horrible in so many ways, but navigating through has also shown moments of clarity and hope for a more sustainable future.
We’ve all seen the impressive ‘before and during’ pandemic photos of world monuments changing from heavy smog to crystal clear skies. And we also probably looked at our own skies mid-lockdown, noting fewer planes during the day and more stars at night. But what did this mean in terms of encouraging a sustainable lifestyle at home?
Well, for a start, international travel was no-no. So while polluted skies temporarily recovered we made the most of buying a van, building a bed in the back and seeing what the UK travel industry had to offer. And it was wonderful! We’ve already rebooked a couple of favourite camp-sites this year, and look forward to more UK based breaks in the future.
But while our own UK min-travels breaks might have increased, our daily travels have decreased due to remote working. As an avid cyclist, it was so enjoyable encountering less traffic on the roads, and seeing more and more cyclists and runners about. Bike sales increased and people wanted to make the most of being outside- You could smell the clean air!
While at home we also had time to focus on a creating a vegetable patch and bake our own bread. Admittedly, this was in part reaction to the barren supermarket shelves, but it gave us the chance to learn new skills and perfect old ones, along with trying new recipes and eating less meat.
New skills also included darning, giving life to old socks. Whilst the time at home also allowed us to better insulate our house through increased loft insulation, saving energy and therefore money too.
A survey by green energy provider Bulb found that more than a third of the UK public lived more sustainably during lockdown, and although we’ll perhaps need to balance new habits with potential negative impacts (i.e. initial increased consumerism- a bread-maker, anyone?), hopefully we’ve seen enough to encourage new shoots of sustainable living and drive a better change for the planet and our future from home.