Like many I have been worried and engulfed with a sense of anxiety with regards to the environment and our climate for the last few years, with more and more headlines showing quite a bleak outlook. Whilst I cannot change the large issues that trouble and impact us on a wider scale, I have taken the decision to make many individual changes which will hopefully have a positive knock on effect.
Switching to a vegan lifestyle
I began this on 1 January 2022. I previously did eat meat, dairy and fish a few times a week but at the end of 2021 decided to take up the ‘Veganuary’ challenge and it wasn’t as hard as I thought.
Initially it involved a few new meals to prepare for and get used to not having familiar foods I’d had for a long time, but nearly a year on and I now don’t miss it.
It can seem a big change but there are so many vegan alternatives available in supermarkets today. It's also helped me eat more healthier and become much more aware of my food choices as a result.
I moved to Warwick in 2019 and do not own a car and therefore walk, run or get the bus/trains to work or other places (mostly walking if where I am going is within a 45 minute walk).
I have found that this has had an impact on my wellbeing and physical health but it’s also good to know that the climate also benefits from less pollution. It’s been helpful in navigating and finding new walking routes in my local area too, for example I now use the canal paths to walk to Leamington.
Knowing the benefits of physical activity and wanting to reach my local community, I helped set up a Walking for Health Group and a Run Group called ‘Run Talk Run’ in Leamington. Whilst primarily to help others realise the benefits of physical activity in an accessible way, they have also gone on to help others consider their modes of transport and travel more actively.
I also downloaded and used the BetterPoints app to join the Choose How You Move in Warwick District challenge this year, which is a good way to motivate myself to choose environmentally friendly ways to travel and be rewarded for doing so.
I live in a large house which has multiple occupants and initially for a large number of people we only had one general waste bin. There hadn’t existed any recycling bins prior to moving in and during my first year. Not wanting to throw plastics and cardboard and other items which could be recycled in the bin, I contacted and liaised with Warwick District Council to arrange for recycling boxes for the residents.
This has helped provide an opportunity for all the residents to also recycle easier and gain a greater understanding of what the process is in Warwick, especially with the new bin system introduced in 2022.
I also try and take advantage of the local clothing banks and other facilities for larger items that can be recycled. Knowing they exist locally and where to find them has helped me be more conscious in how I buy, use/re-use and throw/give away items I no longer need.
It can be overwhelming to know where to start when the issues facing us as a society today seem so large but I have found focussing on what I can control in my day-day life and advocating for the environment where I can has helped ease this for me and has supported others to make small changes too.