#QuizTime: How green are you?
1. Time for a cuppa:
a. You always boil the kettle for the correct amount of people.
b. You’re proud of your reusable coffee cup, offering it to the barista with a smug smile.
c. Nothing beats a good old builders’ tea. And you fill that kettle, just in case someone calls.
d. Your daily latte is a treat and taking a reusable coffee cup with you everywhere simply isn’t practical.
2. Dress sharp:
a. You’re proud of your ethical garb, and you don’t buy clothes often.
b. Your wardrobe is overflowing with goods you’ve collected from charity and vintage shops over the years.
c. You’d love to dress more sustainably, but it’s too expensive, right?
d. Ethical fashion is all about hemp shirts and sandals, isn’t it? No thanks. I buy little and often from the high street.
3. Getting around:
a. Walking, thank you very much. That said, you’ve also got the bike/ train combo nailed.
b. For holidays, you offset all flights and cycle to work. Oh, it’s raining. Start the car.
c. You tap that Uber app or rev up your car engine at least twice a week.
d. Your weekends often start with an Uber to the airport.
4. Supermarket Sweep:
a. You get most of your food from an organic veg box or local greengrocer, and you love to cook with seasonal produce.
b. With a canvas bag close to hand, you buy organic or Fairtrade – if your local store happens to stock it.
c. Rainforest friendly? FSC? MSC? OMG! It’s all a little confusing.
d. You’re driven by impulse or special offers; you’ll go into a shop for one thing, and come out with four. Bring your own bag? Ha ha!
5. The big picture:
a. You are vegan, recycle weekly, reuse plastic water bottles, use renewable energy and tell everyone you know to do the same.
b. You never preach to others, but try to do your bit and have cut down your meat intake. Plus, you encourage work to be more green.
c. Climate change, biodiversity loss, resources running out. We need to take action… Wait, after this cuppa.
d. What’s the point, eh? Trump, China and all that malarkey. It’s up to the government and businesses to take action, not you.
MOSTLY As: Changemaker
You’re walking the talk and leading by example; you’re already doing lots to reduce your own carbon footprint. By far the biggest environmental influence you can make is to encourage others to take action, too.
As social creatures, we’re most likely to be inspired by our friends and colleagues – anyone who we trust and respect. So you’re in a great place to start instigating change. That might sound slightly daunting and uncomfortable, though – you probably don’t want to be labelled as a preaching eco warrior.
Fear not, there are lots of tools out there to help you to create hope and make a difference.
TRY: Visit Do Nation online where you can create a campaign to raise pledges from friends or colleagues, in support of either a marathon or other challenge (like JustGiving, but committing action instead of cash). Or, as part of a workplace sustainability programme, join (or set up) a green team at work and help your workplace to become more sustainable.
And why not sign up to a climate leadership course, such as Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project?
MOSTLY Bs: Green bee
It’s great you’ve made a decent start on doing your bit for the planet and have taken many of the obvious steps to reduce your footprint. Now’s the time to challenge yourself and crank it up a notch! That doesn’t mean making difficult sacrifices though; you’ll probably find it quite satisfying and simple.
Have a go at cutting down on meat and dairy a bit more. You’ll save money, which you can then spend on buying free range, organic meat and dairy – a double treat! You can even get delicious plant-based meals delivered to your home now, with the amazing Allplants.com.
Why not have a soul-cleansing wardrobe declutter too – you might be pleasantly surprised at what’s in there. Loveyourclothes.org.uk has some great advice on what to do with anything that’s surplus to requirements.
TRY: Go on an adventure, exploring the UK and Europe by train. There are some incredible gems that you can reach within hours, avoiding the stresses of long airport transfers. Loco2 is a great website for helping you to discover the romance of Europe by train.
MOSTLY Cs: Keen green
Like most people, you’re quite concerned about climate change and sustainability and you want to do more, but haven’t got a clue.
It’s a bit overwhelming at times, so easier to focus on the positive things you’re already doing and worry about the rest later.
You’ll be surprised by how good you’ll feel once you start taking a few more steps to reduce your impact. Not only will that niggling feeling of guilt be put to bed, but you’ll also start spotting positive solutions all over the place, and the action being taken all around you. Here are some ideas…
Break the cycling barrier – it’s really not as scary or sweaty as you may think. Cycle to Work Day is on 13 September and is an ideal time to get started.
Order groceries from ethical sites such as Abelandcole.co.uk. They sell more than just veg and have worked hard to find the most ethical, eco friendly goods.
TRY: The easiest action of all is time-saving and energy-conserving all at once: only boil the amount of water you need. When making a brew, don’t overfill the kettle. Simple.
MOSTLY Ds: Green schmeen
Living life to the max is your priority, and that doesn’t leave much space for Captain Planet antics. Let’s face it – you’re unlikely to change habits in order to cut carbon or reduce waste. That’s understandable.
Thankfully it doesn’t have to mean we’re all doomed; a lot of things that are good for the planet are also good for us – our wallet, waistline and wellbeing. Apparently, cycling is the new golf – it’s now the best way to up your odds of a promotion, quite aside from saving carbon.
You can try your hand at some simple actions that are hard to argue with.
For example, check out Project Just for some great fashion brands that are made with style and pride. You’ll be surprised at how easy looking good can be.
TRY: Without wanting to sound like your mum – plan ahead. Write a shopping list. That way you can save money, eat more healthily and reduce waste.
On the planning ahead theme – give yourself a bit of time to sit in the café and enjoy that latte from a superior ceramic mug instead of burning through yet another disposable cup.
WHAT DOES BEING GREEN MEAN TO YOU?
LUCY DAY, 27: ‘I like to think I’m quite green in my approach to life. I eat less meat than I used to and I recycle. I don’t pick up products with palm oil in them and go for coconut oil based products instead. I try to eat a vegan diet Monday to Friday, then let loose on the weekend. I tend to choose more fast fashion on the high street over ethical brands, though. So that’s an area I fail in.’
ALEX GLOSSOP, 31: ‘To me, being green means making sure we all look after the environment we live in. I’d consider myself a very green person but I do have some limitations. Recycling at home is a big deal for my partner and I. We also eat organic meat and veg, and use reusable cups. We’ve also cut down on the plastic we use. We both walk to work to keep our carbon footprint low.’
DEESHA NANDRA, 34: ‘Although I drive to work, I share my journey with my dad and brother. I recycle at home and usually choose organic ingredients such as eggs, but they tend to be quite expensive so it depends on the price. I never really think much about my carbon footprint and I don’t buy ethical brands because I don’t know enough about them. I go to charity shops, though.’
FIND YOUR BALANCE … GREEN YOUR ROUTINE
STOP FOOD WASTE. Landfill sites are reaching capacity and space is running out to bury our ever-growing mountains of rubbish. Cooking with others means you will plan your meals carefully and only buy what you need.
EAT LESS MEAT. Studies suggest reducing your meat intake can slash your risk of chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Plus, the meat industry generates nearly 20% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
AIR-DRY YOUR HAIR: Cutting drying time by just five minutes a day saves on carbon dioxide emissions each year, which can help reverse global warming.
BUY FAIRWILD: The FairWild logo proves that any plants used have been collected from the wild sustainably, the benefits of harvesting have been shared with everyone within the supply chain and the wild ecosystems are protected. Pukka Herbs offers 33 teas which are certified FairWild – look out for the logo!
TEA TIME PLEDGE
Whether you’re a devo-tea of a builders’ brew, matcha green or coffee, it’s time to put your mettle to the kettle. We are a nation of tea addicts, there’s no denying it. We glug down about 165 million cups of tea a day, and 70 million cups of coffee, yet two thirds of us boil far more water than we need. Only boil what you require – any extra and you’re wasting time, money and energy.
In fact, if everyone boiled only the water they needed, in a year we could save enough electricity to power the UK’s street lights for nearly seven months!
Pukka Herbs and Do Nation have joined forces to launch the Tea Time Pledge, urging people to only boil the water they need. For the first 1,500 pledges made, Pukka will commit to sending herb-growing kits to schools with the Soil Association’s Food for Life programme to get families gardening this summer.
Read more: The organic index