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"The April rain, the April rain,
Comes slanting down in fitful showers,
Then from the furrow shoots the grain,
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers;
And in grey shawl and woodland bowers
The cuckoo through the April rain
Calls once again."

Mathilde Blind, April Rain
Learn English in March

The cost of going green

mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
We are all being told that we need to go green and save our planet, but how easy is it? This American mother tries her best and kept a diary to highlight how difficult it can be.

Can poorer people afford to go green?

What do you think? Do you try to be green? In what ways?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/29/eco-friendly-going-green-poor-cost-diary
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Comments

  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    It is definitely difficult, but people often rule out even trying because they can't do everything. Even making small changes can make a difference, and changing your life in a small way can certainly help a lot.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,488 ✭✭✭✭
    I think the thing that anyone, including the poorest, actually, especially the poorest, can do is being economical. Just ask yourself when wanting to buy new stuff: "Do I really need this? Will I use it often? Does it cost its value? Can I rent it instead? Can I buy it used? What could be a cheaper way to meet this need?"
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    You are so right @Practical_Severard. Sometimes less well-off people seem to have a higher propensity to consume and feel more pressure to keep up with the Joneses.

    I think even though each person by themselves can't make much difference, everyone together can make a big impact.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod

    I think the thing that anyone, including the poorest, actually, especially the poorest, can do is being economical. Just ask yourself when wanting to buy new stuff: "Do I really need this? Will I use it often? Does it cost its value? Can I rent it instead? Can I buy it used? What could be a cheaper way to meet this need?"

    Yes, a lot of people buy many things that they just don't need. If we stop and think before we buy almost anything, we will realise that we don't need it - and we could help to save the environment and save money for ourselves at the same time.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    I have this postcard lying on my coffee table as a constant reminder 'Can I do without it?' Its a picture of a World War Two poster that I picked up from the Imperial War Museum when I last visited.


  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    I have this postcard lying on my coffee table as a constant reminder 'Can I do without it?' Its a picture of a World War Two poster that I picked up from the Imperial War Museum when I last visited.


    I read a lot about the war, because I have a great interest in how people at home coped, and I think the mindset of the country was incredible at that time, and we should try and grasp hold of some of those thoughts for the way we live today.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    My father remembered how rationing continued several years after the war too. He remembered once going on leave and he had some bananas with him when he was on the train going home. He said the children in his compartment had never seen a banana before and tried to eat it skin and all until he showed them how to peel it.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,488 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2019
    My father's father was MIA in 1942, and the mother died of an illness in several years. My father was 13 at that time and lived with a younger sister on a small pension in a detached house. He stocked up on potatoes for winter during harvests (usually a horse-driven cart at a time) and he bargained much with country men who brought potatoes to the market. He kept this hard bargaining habit through the rest of his life.
  • VokVok Posts: 1,879 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge I should probably take a leaf out of you book and get the same postcard to keep me extra vigilant. It's so easy nowadays to fall prey to consumerism.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    @MIA @Practical_Severard? My grandfathers, both of them were lucky enough to be just too young for the First World War and too old to serve in the Second World War. My French grandpa had to continue work in the Farman factory making airplanes. My English grandfather served in the homeguard (he reckoned it was nothing like the famous comedy serious, Dad's Army). My father just made the last 18 months of the war to join up in the Royal Navy. Before enlisting he said that at school he grew vegetables on an allotment.
  • Practical_SeverardPractical_Severard Posts: 2,488 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2019
    mheredge said:

    MIA @Practical_Severard? My grandfathers, both of them were lucky enough to be just too young for the First World War and too old to serve in the Second World War. My French grandpa had to continue work in the Farman factory making airplanes. My English grandfather served in the homeguard (he reckoned it was nothing like the famous comedy serious, Dad's Army). My father just made the last 18 months of the war to join up in the Royal Navy. Before enlisting he said that at school he grew vegetables on an allotment.

    MIA stands for "missed in an action".
    Yes, in 1942 at Kharkov. My both grandfathers and one of the grandmothers took part in the WWII. One of the granfathers survived, mainly because he was wounded and invalidated. A cousin grandfather was captured POW, did forced labour in Austria at a military plant until he was killed during an Allied aerial bombardment in 1945, he was buried in a mass grave in Bavaria. Three other cousin grandathers were MIA.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    My father remembered how rationing continued several years after the war too. He remembered once going on leave and he had some bananas with him when he was on the train going home. He said the children in his compartment had never seen a banana before and tried to eat it skin and all until he showed them how to peel it.

    My grandad remembers it, too. We don't realise how lucky we are these days to just be able to go into a shop and buy literally however much food we want!
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    Living in a poor country for a few years that relies heavily on imported goods, it used to be very frustrating how certain things would be out of stock for months at a time. However these weren't basics like rice or vegetables. They were however the nicer things anyone used to having them whenever they wanted felt essential.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    Living in a poor country for a few years that relies heavily on imported goods, it used to be very frustrating how certain things would be out of stock for months at a time. However these weren't basics like rice or vegetables. They were however the nicer things anyone used to having them whenever they wanted felt essential.

    I think a lot of Brits would struggle living in those kinds of countries. It confuses me how so many people think that eating is expensive, it's actually relatively cheap, but it's only when you have luxuries taken away from you that you realise that they were never essential.. if that makes sense.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    In Nepal if you are content to eat dal and rice, then sure, it is cheap. I think to eat a properly balanced diet is not so cheap anywhere however. And then if you want to eat organic food, or meat and fish raised in a sustainable way, it gets even more expensive.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    In Nepal if you are content to eat dal and rice, then sure, it is cheap. I think to eat a properly balanced diet is not so cheap anywhere however. And then if you want to eat organic food, or meat and fish raised in a sustainable way, it gets even more expensive.

    It's also a lot easier to eat frozen foods because they last longer, whereas if I buy a fridge full of fruit & veg at my weekly shop, it won't last until the end of the week, so I either do two shops per week (not really got time) or just don't eat fresh food towards the end of the week.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    Imagine how hard it is cooking for one. Organic food tends to go off quicker too.
  • VokVok Posts: 1,879 ✭✭✭✭
    I ate green yesterday evening. it was steeamed broccoli I had and it wasn't cheap.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    Do you mean that you splashed out on organic broccoli @Vok? Did it taste better?
  • VokVok Posts: 1,879 ✭✭✭✭
    Yes, I do @mheredge . This thread has galvanised me into pampering myself with something greener than usual.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    Vok said:

    Yes, I do @mheredge . This thread has galvanised me into pampering myself with something greener than usual.

    It is lovely to treat yourself to something nice and fresh every so often. There is a little greengrocer near to where I live, and I sometimes like to go there rather than the supermarket to get some nice fresh veg.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    Good for you @Vok. I am spoilt with the excellent market nearby which isn't cheap as most of the produce is local and organic. However, everything tastes so good.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    I read this article and confess that I do eat a few of the so-called controversial items on their list, like milk and octopus. And if I don't eat most of the others, it isn't for any particularly ethical reasons.

    I do wonder that if we very really strict on what we ate in this way, we would end up just eating grass. Even if we did this, I'm sure someone could argue would be 'bad for the planet.'

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/20/to-eat-or-not-to-eat-10-of-the-worlds-most-controversial-foods?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX0d1YXJkaWFuVG9kYXlVS19XZWVrZGF5cy0xOTExMjE=&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUK&CMP=GTUK_email
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,625 ✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2019
    More and more food shops offer special containers for fruit and veg. I bought a set of bags recently; the net bags come in four. I've still problems due to forgetting to take them with me when shopping or to advise my family to take them with.

    An other supermarket offers special bags who are degradable for € 0.05 a piece another gives it for free.

    I try hard to reduce my daily household refuse. At some points it's easier for me because in my household live five, so I'd buy amounts larger.

    I rather seldom buy food from elsewhere, I try to buy local produces, especially fruits and veg.

  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    Hermine said:

    More and more food shops offer special containers for fruit and veg. I bought a set of bags recently; the net bags come in four. I've still problems due to forgetting to take them with me when shopping or to advise my family to take them.

    Another supermarket offers special bags which are degradable for € 0.05 a piece, while another gives them for free.

    I try hard to reduce my daily household refuse. In some ways it's easier for me because there are five living in my household, so I can buy larger amounts.

    I seldom buy food from elsewhere and I try to buy local produce, especially fruits and veg.

    Going green can sometimes save money. The travel agency I was visiting this week had a good idea of removing one light bulb from the light panels that have several. There was not much difference in the light but they saved on electricity. Similarly by having low pressure taps, they save on water. They had a very good idea of providing large and small glasses at their canteen, so employees could decide how much water they want to drink. And by serving a buffet lunch, there is less wastage as staff take what they want rather than get served large portions which then gets wasted.
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,625 ✭✭✭✭
    It's good to hear that some institutes think about solutions. @Marianne

    PERSON of the YEAR
    Climate Activist Great Thunberg

    It's a shame for all the responsible politicians, to put such a load on a 16 year-old girl's shoulder.

    Shame, shame on them.

    In Austria, the guys in the parliament spend months after months to find out what party fits together. Our former financial minister is under suspicion of having enriched himself by taken money from the nation.





  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    She's amazing and like you say @Hermine, shame on all these politicians. In particular shame on those who criticise but don't do anything about the problem.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    After a couple of months not eating meat (which I never missed once), now I am back home in the Land of Carnivores (France), I want to see how long I can avoid meat. I didn't dare rock the boat last week when I was staying with my mother (she's ninety and is very much a carnivore), but when I ate out with my friends, I impressed myself by not wanting to eat meat.
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,625 ✭✭✭✭
    Marianne, do they Asian people rather eat less meat?
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,616 ✭✭✭✭
    I think they do @Hermine. Most dishes if they include meat tend to have less quantity but even people who are not vegetarian don't eat meat every day.
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