Making changes because changes need to happen
17 June 2019
By Hayley Carmichael
As Care Without Carbon develops at Sussex Partnership we are hearing from more people for whom being greener really matters…to inspire others to do the same
An end to the chaos
Tammie Cook, a SMILES Liaison Nurse with Sussex Partnership in Brighton is committed to ensuring that there is a future for her children, and all future generations.
After 20 years in mental healthcare she is still hugely moved by the resilience of her patients, and the experience and determination of her colleagues. These are the very qualities she hopes will help us to overcome the climate emergency and avoid climate chaos.
A passion for the planet
We asked Tammie why she chose to get involved with Care Without Carbon, and she told us, “ I feel passionate about reducing our carbon footprint, halting climate chaos, and protecting our planet for future generations.”
“I try to live a sustainable lifestyle. I don’t drive, I’m vegan, I rarely fly -in the past 5 years, I’ve visited France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Slovenia by train with my family– the journey has actually made the holiday into an adventure – sleeper trains, stopping in different countries/ cities along the way, amazing views from the train windows. I try to reduce my family’s waste and used washable nappies with both my daughters when they were small. I help run a Woodcraft Folk group, part of which involves educating children about living in harmony with nature and the environment, as well as friendship, co-operation and social justice. I used to be an active member of the Green Party and am now involved with Extinction Rebellion.”
Bringing values from home into the workplace
As a community nurse Tammie has always reflected her personal values in her mode of transport – her feet! She gets to all her appointments without the need of a car.
But she told us, “I hadn’t really thought too much about bringing a sustainable lifestyle into the office until I saw Care Without Carbon though. It’s made me think about how to reduce the carbon footprint of our services and make them more sustainable, from transport, energy, recycling, waste etc.
“It really matters to me that we do something. I have children and I worry what the world will be like as they grow up – as climate chaos gets further out of control and as resources become scarce, as animals become extinct, as sea levels rise. I really hope we, as a species, can turn things round before it’s too late. “
Making a pledge to do things differently
So far Tammie has signed up for three of the Dare to Care pledges, ‘check it before you bin it’, ‘sugar swap’ and ‘paper cut’. She explains, “Recycling facilities aren’t too good in my building, so I’ve started taking things home with me to recycle. I’m hopeful the recycling will improve in the building soon though! Although I’m vegan, my diet isn’t always the healthiest! I’d love to reduce my sugar intake, and maybe lose some weight too. Thinking every time before I press print “do I really need a paper copy of this? Can I read it from my phone if needed in an appointment?”
The pledges are easy to fit into her working life, and even have surprise benefits, “I often meet clients in cafes and always put a sugar in my coffee – I’m trying to reduce it to ½ a sugar now. As I have non-dairy milk in my coffee, this leads to a conversation with my clients about my diet and the benefits of healthier eating and carbon reduction.”
We need this to be the new normal
Tammie has a new pledge she’d like to see roll out across Sussex Partnership, “Dare to talk about sustainability – to your colleagues, to your clients – spread the green word! Sustainability and climate emergency to be pushed higher up the healthcare agenda and we can do this if lots of staff are on board – I would encourage everyone to get involved!”
If you’d like to join Tammie in making a pledge visit www.carewithoutcarbon.org/dares