Earth Day – 22 April

A garden fence with trellis holding apple blossom and a pollinator box
Apple Blossom and a pollinators box, Earth Day 2022. Image by Charlotte Mbali,used with permission.

What Are You Doing for Earth Day?

In preparation for Earth Day, we sent an email to our writers asking what they are doing this year for Earth Day.  Here below is a selection of the responses:

Recycling and Rewilding

We are recycling more. We are also turning off any standby devices or chargers to ensure lower energy usage. We are using the airfryer instead of the oven where possible to also reduce energy usage.
(Jali Heny)

For Earth Day we have rewilded the garden, planted three large areas of the lawn with yellow rattle and wild flowers, bought a hybrid car, getting rid of two previous diesel vehicles, left areas of scrub for wildlife, revived the pond, planted two more trees and will try to avoid waste as much as possible.
(Peter and Tessa Livesey)

Unkempt grass with magnolia petals and clusters of cowslips
The Liveseys’ wilded garden with a carpet of cowslips; image from Peter & Tessa Livesey

I live in Qatar. Living in the Middle East is great but, like the whole world, we are not doing enough to reverse the damage already done. One step I have already taken here is to set up an environmental company to come to our house to pick up bins for plastic products and tin related items as this service is not government run here. This at least is a step in the right direction to stamp out global destruction. I hope this to be just the start of my efforts.
(Khurram Elahi)

Solar Panels and Allotments

The Beevor family are all anxious about the effects of global warming. We have a total of six cars, in a family of eight adults. One son in London has sold his car and rents one daily whenever necessary, another son has a small electric car and a petrol car. This year my wife and I plan to sell one of our two petrol cars and buy an electric car. We are all reducing our consumption of gas and electricity for heating. We also plan to use railways more than cars and planes.

There are many things that I have done sometime ago, like putting solar panels on my roof and buying a hybrid car, and an electric bike. For 20 years I have been working an allotment which provides me with much of what I eat. Years ago I was always planting trees and it is amazing how quickly they grow up.
(Juliet Blackburn)

More Trams!

For Earth Day I am in Dudley and Wolverhampton. I’ve come to learn about developments in Very Light Rail (VLR) at the Dudley VLR Innovation Centre, near Dudley Castle and Zoo. VLR is trams that are much lighter than conventional trams and draw their power from batteries. These get rid of the need for overhead supply wires and can be recharged very quickly at a tram stop.

Super-fast battery charger. In background workers laying new track for WMM tram extension
Dudley National VLR Innovation Centre’s reverse pantograph super-fast charger; image by Nico

I left the car on the drive at home, walked to the station and took the train and the bus. I will upload a picture or two, when I’ve taken them.
(Nicholas Kerr)

Dress Down to Dress Up

I am not buying any new clothes.  I have never been interested in the slavery of following the fashions. Indeed I have bought my clothes from either end of the spectrum – sometimes unique and handmade, but more often second-hand. When I need gardening clothes, I go straight to Oxfam.

If I need something odd for a fancy dress party, I will look in the charity shops. I was asked recently to wear the colours of the Ukrainian flag to a fundraising party and I realised that I had nothing yellow in my wardrobe. That was quickly corrected from a charity shop.

Sticking, and Coming Unstuck

I came unstuck from this policy of “no new clothes” when I had to buy a new rowing club uniform. This was because I couldn’t enter the boathouse without wearing it. Luckily it was Royal blue so it came in handy for the Ukrainian fundraiser.

Otherwise,  I seem to be mending my clothes and quite enjoying it. However,  I tried to stick some shoes together,  but now need to take them to a proper shoe repairer. I am proud to report that they are over 50 years old and still going strong perhaps for another 50.

A More Sustainable Diet

I have cut out red meat from my diet since 2020, although I still eat dairy as I am just too fond of cheese! From May I will get most of my vegetables from our allotment, and soft fruit should be ripening then.  I need to help along the pollination by putting up a pollinators’ box. (see pic)
(Charlotte Mbali)