Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Children's Author Saves Planet

I bring you the exciting news that I, Fiona Dunbar, have single-handedly Saved the Planet. It was a close thing; there was just one chewy caramel one left in the pack, and I hadn't even had any yet. rolled out of the pack and under the sofa, but I rescued it just before the cat got to it. Reader, I ate it.

OK, I'm being flippant. Yes, I think Mars Planets are a truly great invention, but of course there are bigger and more important things to concern ourselves with than making sure we don't lose out in the caramel stakes. Today is Blog Action Day 2009, so I promised I'd blog on the subject of global warming and all that scary stuff. Here are my Top Ten Tips for Doing Your Bit:

1. If your school isn't already signed up for the 10:10 pledge, tell your head teacher to organise it now! . People who sign up to this pledge to cut their carbon emissions by 10% by this time next year. If they are politicians, that goes up to 20%, to account for all the extra hot air they generate. If they are Victoria Beckham it goes up to 50%, as that is approximately the percentage of her time she spends on an aeroplane;

2. Get your school, your family, and anyone else, to sign up for Earth Day as well: April 22nd, 2010 .You get to sit around in the dark with lots of candles and tell scary stories. In my day, it was the miners' strikes;

3. If you're getting on an aeroplane more than once a year, see if you can't cut that down. Holidays don't have to mean flying! Getting there by car or train can be so much fun! I really mean this; I honestly think flying is hell. Being on holiday means not having to work, getting to be outside a lot, and doing fun things like swimming and eating. You can do those things pretty much anywhere.

4. Eat less meat. Drive your parents up the wall by telling them you want to go vegan. If they
are really annoyed with me for telling you this, email me and I'll give you my address, so they can come around and punch me on the nose. It won't save the planet, but punching a smug preachy-type person can be awfully satisfying. Many years ago I worked in Soho, and this man (see tiny pic) used to parade up and down Oxford Street telling us that...well, you can see from the placard. I would see him EVERY DAY. I never bought one of his leaflets – I sort of wish I had, now. He's a piece of history. Look at his placard: I love the way he made it up, thought about it some more, then built an extension saying "and sitting". I never did work out what it was about sitting that was supposed to make people lustful. Or any of the other stuff, for that matter.

5. I digress. Grow fruit and veg in your garden. It's really fun! Even if you don't have a garden, you can grow things on a windowsill or a roof terrace – or an allotment, if you're really lucky. I have a LONG way to go with this. But I'm working on it. I'd keep chickens, but my part of north London is TEEMING with foxes; it's Fox City Central here, I tell you. I trip over one practically every morning, coming out of my house. They poo on your vegetable patch too.

6. Compost heaps, wormeries, all that stuff. I have a compost bin. I haven't opened it in about six months. I'll be honest: I'm scared to see what's in there; it might be Quatermass (ancient movie alien reference). BUT we do recycle all our food waste throught the council, which is not ideal, but better than just slinging it in with the landfill stuff. I know, I know, could try harder. Will try harder. It's just that we had a bad experience once, from putting the wrong stuff in. We're
still getting over the trauma of the smell, which must have generated enough greenhouse gases to quadruple our carbon footprint. Not the desired effect at all.

Wormeries are fun. Worms are nice.

...OK, I'm not going to do ten. Six will do; you've heard it all before anyway. Turn the lights out, wear a jumper, watch less TV, ride a bike, recycle. It's not rocket science. The important thing is to actually DO these things, and not SAY you're going to, then secretly go home and slip into your outdoor jacuzzi under your seven patio heaters, eating hothouse strawberries in December that have been flown over from Bahrain.

Last but not least: turn off the TV/computer and read a book instead: one of mine, preferably! Happy Blog Action Day!


Anonymous said...

oh i'm so relieved you've decided to save the planet after all. i was worried! will try to help by not bathing.

Keren David said...

We're very good about eating lots of vegan food. Not quite all though. I want to know what caused the problems with the compost..I'm thinking of getting one to deal with the guines pig poo.

fionadunbar said...

It was a long time ago when we were completely clueless, Keren: I think it was cooked vegetables.It went anaerobic; the stink is unbelievable when that happens. Can't help re: guinea pig poo!

fionadunbar said...

PS I lied about the cat; we don't have one. Only a phantom, vegan one.

maryom said...

We're very smug here. We grow a lot of our own veg, compost all sorts of rubbish, hardly use the car as Hubby has retired and youngest daughter walks to school, always holiday in the UK so no flying, have energy saving light bulbs all through the house, knit and sew -making new clothes and recycling old favourites. Do still eat meat and dairy but not a great deal mainly due to low-fat diet.

fionadunbar said...

Mary, you are an inspiration to us all!

maryom said...

Sadly, most of my friends just think I'm weird.

The Mole said...

Compost bins and worms..... Yes worms are nice. To the garden, harmless to ourselves and lovely to mice. Yes MICE. I recently opened one of my compost bins and it was teeming with worms. Lovely. I put the lid on the ground and a mouse scurried out! OK Not so bad really. But then inside the edge of the lid was her blind litter! HORRID to find.

If your compost bin smells then add paper and cardboard in large quantities as the smell indicates a lack of carbon. Add your uncooked kitchen waste as well. But nothing with meat in. (Cat Poo, Fox Poo included). Meat can cause rats to become interested but...... If you have mice then you don't have rats - the rats would eat them.

fionadunbar said...

Eek: mice in the compost bin; not had that one yet! Bin not smelly any more; bit more clued up now, and CERTAINLY never put meat in!