The Great British September Clean is on...

The Great British September Clean is on now, why not help out by picking up some litter in your local park, forest, or beach? It's really easy to do, gives you some exercise, and helps nature. If you want to buy a litter picker to help you, a company called Helping Hand sells nice ones.  Last weekend we picked litter at a local park, as well as a forest. We found all sorts of things: plastic bottles, drink cans, crisp packets, bubblewrap, cigarette butts, chocolate bar wrappers, etc. It felt good to gather all this up to put in the bin. Please join in! No need to just do it in September either... : )   

Can you save money using recycled toilet paper and recycled tissues?

According to , each European uses 13 kg of toilet paper per year, ie. around 22 billion rolls Europe-wide, wow! Using recycled toilet paper saves a lot of trees, uses less energy (they say it takes 28-70% less energy to produce than 'normal' toilet paper), and uses less water . According to 'for every tonne of paper used for recycling, the savings are at least 30,000 litres of water, 3,000 to 4,000 kWh electricity (enough for an average three-bedroom house for one year) and up to 95 per cent of air pollutants'. Is it cheaper? Well, Sainsbury's recycled toilet paper is FSC-approved and for 9 rolls costs 3.30 pounds, while their normal toilet paper costs exactly the same! So it costs the same to use the recycled paper, and is better for the environment. Sainsburys also sells recycled tissues ( 1.40 for a box of 90 tissues ie. 1.56 pound for 100 sheet) , way cheaper than Kleenex tissues ( 3.13 for 100 sheets) .  So, ye

Can you save money by eating a flexitarian diet?

The 'flexitarian diet' has been suggested as an important way in which humanity can solve the problem of the growing world population and the negative environmental impacts of eating meat and diary products from animals. Meat and other animal products require a lot of land and water, and also produce greenhouse gases (cow farts) that contribute to global warming, and other environmental pollutants (e.g. ammonia from their poos/wees). In comparison, growing plants takes up a lot less space, requires less water, and produces less greenhouse gases. According to the link above about the 'flexitarian diet', 'Worldwide, livestock accounts for between 14.5 and 18% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions.' Wow! Well.. I always did feel a bit guilty about liking baby lambs and pigs but then realising that we're raising them to eat them... So let's eat plants instead! In the 'flexitarian diet' you don't need to cut out meat entirely, but cut it

Can you save money by drying clothes on a washing line?

It's a bit of a faff to hang out your clothes to dry and then bring them in again later, but can it save you some money? The website has an article on the top five energy using applicances in the home, and the tumble dryer is number two, at least in the UK. They estimate that it likely costs most users about 37 pounds a year to run, assuming 150 uses a year. Another website, , estimates that a load in your dryer could cost between 14p and 49p per load, depending on the energy rating of your dryer, so 150 loads a year would be 21-74 pounds a year. And if you do even more loads than that, for example, if you have children, say 250 loads a year, then that would be 35-123 pounds a year, which is quite a bit of money! So hanging out your clothes to dry could save money (and greenhouse gas emissions). A handy thing to do is to check the forecast to see if it's going to be sunny or windy (both good for drying) in the next few days, and

Find out about plastic recycling near you

David Attenborough has called on the world to cut back on the use of plastic to protect oceans. To find out about plastics can be recycled near you (if you are in the UK), a nice website is In my case, the Cambridge council website has a nice page on recycling that says what goes in what bin. Here's what I've learnt from it about recycling in Cambridge: Blue bin:   - aerosol cans (e.g. deoderant) - tin foil/foil trays (scrunch up to a ball), - aluminium tubes (e.g. tomato puree) - bottle tops and plastic lids (put back on the bottle/jar) - bubble wrap - cardboard - cardboard egg boxes - carton (e.g. Tetra Pak juice carton) - catalogues - cereal packet plastic inner liner - cleaning spray bottles (leave spray trigger attached) - clean cling film - envelopes (including those with plastic windows) - glass bottles (rinsed, with caps put back on) - glass jars (rinsed, with lids on) - greetings/birthday/Christmas cards - ice cream tub and lids

Inspiration from the lifestyle of a climate scientist

I found it really interesting to read the recent article  How I stave off despair as a climate scientist by Prof. Dave Reay of Edinburgh University. In it, he describes how he has tried to reduce his family's carbon footprint by investing in 'solar panels, super-insulated homes and electric cars', and avoiding air travel. Now he and his family are taking a brave and big step, by buying a parcel of land in Scotland, and working towards his goal to pare down to a 'zero emissions' lifestyle at the very minimum, and ultimately to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by planting native trees. This undertaking will likely yield new insights into how people can live a 'zero emissions' life and capture carbon from the atmosphere by tree planting. Furthermore, since he teaches many bright students at the University, he says 'hopefully, my students can magnify its impact — learn from our trials and errors and help to take such carbon-management expert

Take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2019

Anyone who lives in the UK can register now to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2019 (free event), here . The Birdwatch weekend is 26-28 Jan 2019, and will help find out which bird species are doing well, and which need more help, and where. A great opportunity to help wildlife in your area!