It’s a problem that everyone runs into every now and then. It is a another day at the office, you are just getting into the flow of working wonders for humanity, medical progress, economic growth — and then your planet suddenly turns out to have a climate crisis. What to do?
I discuss five home made remedies that I have tried out recently. With free tips!
1. Eat plants
The production of meat and dairy products contributes a lot to the emission of greenhouse gases. The good news is that we do not need meat or dairy to eat good food.
Conclusion: After sticking to a plant-based diet for 5 years, during which I gave birth to a healthy nine-pounder whom I’m still breastfeeding, I cannot discover any downsides to this method.
Tip: Don’t forget to take vitamin B12.
2. Go zero waste
There is too much plastic in the world. Collecting plastic waste separately does not solve everything. The UK exports a lot of plastic waste to Malaysia, where it runs a high risk of ending up in nature. The Netherlands does the same in Indonesia. There’s simply not a lot you can make from low quality plastic (such as bags).
So we’re trying to ban single-use plastic from our life. It’s quite easy to find vegetables and bread without it. I try to avoid buying food that needs packaging, like soy yogurt, tofu and biscuits. We’ve also tried plastic-free toothbrushes, dishwashing sponges and deodorant.
Conclusion: Once you have tackled the obvious things (bring your own shopping bag and water bottle), the rest can sometimes feel like an obsession or a hobby. Does my deodorant really have such a big impact on the environment?
Tip: Occasionally we pool together with some friends and order 10 kilogram bags of beans, nuts, rice and pasta, which also saves packaging. Who Gives A Crap are great for toilet paper.
3. Take to the streets
This was in May, when we took part in the Mother’s Day March in London (fathers were welcome too). The logo is from Extinction Rebellion. I support this organisation because their demos ensure that nobody can ignore the facts.
The mass extinction of species, people drowning or losing everything in floods, regions becoming too hot to live, causing more people to get displaced. Behind our dikes and with the air conditioning on full blast, we will be the last to notice, but at the same time we’re the ones who can exert the most political pressure.
Conclusion: It is a bit of a hassle and seems very indirect, but a demonstration of thousands of people sends out a clear signal. And in the UK, it seems that the demands of Extinction Rebellion are slowly being met.
Tip: Attach poles to your placard, because holding a piece of cardboard above your head for a few hours is a pretty tough workout.
4. Eating cake in town
With fewer biscuits in the house (see remedy 2), we have to eat more cake. And because we don’t have time to bake, we pay others to do that. As a full-time mother, I’m hanging around cafes most of the time anyway, because our living room is old news for Y. And in town we come across all sorts of interesting people.
Conclusion: The most pleasant way to tackle the crisis, perhaps not the most effective.
5. Stop buying stuff
The driving force behind the crisis is our urgent need to keep buying new things. They need to be produced, transported and, after a while, processed as waste.
When I need something, I always try to find it second-hand. In The Netherlands, there are amazing second-hand shops called ‘kringloop winkel’. I even came across a giveaway shop last time I was there. That is bound to be the death blow to consumerism. A unique photo frame that you can take away for free suddenly stops being so tempting.
Conclusion: Not buying anything is very boring. If you can’t go shopping anymore, what is the point of living? Hurrah for second hand and giveaway shops.
There are of course many more tactics to bring a climate crisis to a successful conclusion. “Planting a forest”, “Becoming a hermit”, “Sailing around the world with your house”, “Waiting till Technology will save us”, “Concluding that it’s all hopeless anyway and flying to Spain for a holiday” — enough ideas to try out!