Taking action now – view from a Witchford resident! Let's go! Greta tells is how it is. “We can no longer let the people in power decide what hope is. Hope is not passive. Hope is not blah blah blah. Hope is telling the truth. Hope is taking action”. Even before her speech at the pre-COP26 meeting in Milan, as a family we had decided to make changes in our lives. We aren’t vegan. We do own a car. We do buy (some) new clothes. We do buy from supermarkets. But that didn’t mean we couldn’t make changes to our lives to have an impact on our carbon footprint – those within reach based on our financial situation, which is so different for everyone, and those we felt we would stick with. Small changes first We have started with some small changes during lockdown – many of which make financial sense We have at least one day a week where we have vegetarian meals We visit a local shop for refills where possible. As our little one has eczema issues, some refills aren’t possible for us – so we look for 100% recycled plastic containers for things such as fabric softeners We have switched to soap bars for the shower, including shampoo and conditioner bars We buy food from the farmers market and local shops, mainly fruit and veg, but try to buy meat and cheese too – appreciating it is more expensive. The bulk of our shop is still at the supermarket, so room for improvement We have limited our clothes buying, and are always on the look out for second hand clothes We have limited new toy buying, and try to buy second hand toys where possible We have an active composting area at the bottom of the garden We talk with our toddler about looking after the planet We collect difficult to recycle products, such as crisp packets, flexible plastic bags etc and use TerraCycle sites (locally run) to recycle them We joined Eco Ely and Eco Ely Trash to Treasure on Facebook to keep up to date – plus became active members of the Witchford Climate Action Group! Bigger changes followed What was next for us? We decided to switch energy supplier. Although our previous supplier said it was 100% renewables, it wasn’t that clear cut…and they were still heavily investing in fossil-fuel based energy infrastructure. We’re now using Octopus Energy, and have claimed the community scheme money for Rackham Pre-School. We had some savings which we decided to use on improving our poor quality roof insultation. It felt strange investing in something we can’t see, but we know the benefits will come! We agreed that we would generally not go on international holidays which required airplane travel, but instead holiday locally (which we love) or where we can drive. This is likely to mean air travel once every 4-5 years, not every year – if even that frequent We have taken the plunge and ordered an electric car, to replace our elderly petrol car. A financial commitment, but less than we thought – and have found a suitable car which meets the government grant requirements and should last us at least a decade. Plus we will make use of the further government grant to get a significantly reduced cost charger installed at home. What’s next? It’s really difficult. The biggest change we can now make it moving to home-based renewable energy and switching from gas to alternative methods of cooking and heating the house. That’s a huge financial commitment…so we’ll start saving and see how we are doing in 2-3 years time! Ultimately, everyone’s journey to net zero will be different. But experience shows that – while government may lead large-scale initiatives (let’s hope) – it is down to each of us to do what we feel we can do. My advice is start small if you feel daunted, and slowly other opportunities for change will become apparent. Plus ask for advice and support – we are a great community here to help each other!