RT @innovationsjrnl: RT @PatrickMeier: New publications on Haiti, Crowdsourcing and Crisis Mapping, http://is.gd/kmkIR #Ushahidi #Crisis …
The Tree Year
This is my first photo for the Tree Year 2011. Its a tree in my garden which I think is a lilac, but I’m not sure. I tried to identify it earlier using some online tools at the Natural History Museum, but they really depend on you being able to see the leaves - and at the moment the tree is still in it’s winter nakedness. (I’m sure it won’t mind me taking naked pictures though!)
Its very very small in the picture, but you can see a sparrow on the left hand bird feeder if you enlarge the picture - I really need a better camera if I’m going to try to get birds included in my pictures! (Actually my Christmas present from my boyfriend got caught up in the bad weather post and then got sent back to the distributor, so I don’t know what it is yet - maybe I’ll get lucky :-)
I also want to find another tree near where I work so I have an excuse to go out once a week on my lunch break and get far enough away from the office to really clear my mind. I’ll find one next week and start posting pics of that too.
If you would like to join in the Tree Year and take photos of a tree for a year so you can see how it grows and changes over time, and also take a few minutes out of each day, or each week, to appreciate the nature around you, visit the Tree Year blog for details, or follow them on twitter @treeyear.
How to get your environmental views across to big companies - Do surveys?
Market pressure has huge influence on decisions made by companies. If we all only bought local food then no one would transport food thousands of miles around the globe and we would avoid health scares like the current one related to eggs brought into the UK from Germany from getting out of hand. We would also massively reduce pollution created by the transport of food.
So what other ways can we influence the market - as well as obviously making smart choices when we shop?
I’ve just come across My Voice which is a web site you can sign up with to receive and complete surveys online from big retail companies - I’m sure there are many other similar ones out there - I would advise you read terms and conditions carefully before signing up for ANY of this stuff though - don’t want to open yourself to huge piles of junkmail!
I’m not sure how it works yet, I’ve just signed up today and not had any surveys to complete so far. But I’m hoping there will be questions in at least some of the surveys asking for opinions on issues like packaging, organic food, animal welfare and so on. And if this is the case then I’m hoping that by answering these questions with my own opinions about these issues I can add extra volume to my voice as a consumer who is concerned about the planet.
I’ll post again when I’ve completed a few surveys and I have an idea of what kinds of questions they are asking - I could be wrong - they might just want to know my shoe size and favourite colour!
Anyone got any ideas on this approach to getting heard by the big retailers?
Its too easy to get distracted on the internet! Started off looking to identify a tree in my garden - ended up completing a political survey
RT @guardianeco: Northern Ireland Water boss resigns http://gu.com/p/2m7y8/tf
The Tree Year
I have just come across this: http://thetreeyear.wordpress.com/
What a lovely idea! I can’t take any pictures until the weekend due to the light levels at the moment when I am leaving for work and coming home again - but a picture each week of the tree in my garden where I feed the birds would be lovely.
A really nice way to take a few minutes out each week to appreciate nature. I’m looking forward to it :-)
What’s my carbon footprint?
I just found the carbon footprint calculator at http://www.carbonfootprint.com its quite scary but also a little reassuring.
It allows you to work out how much CO2 you are putting into the atmosphere by adding up your CO2 emmissions based on various aspects of your life, such as how much you spend on electricity and how many miles you travel using various modes of transport over a 12 month period. It also takes into account your eating habits and whether or not you recycle and so on.
Of course how accurate the measure is depends on how accurate you can be with the values you put into it, and I have to admit that some of the values I used were very much a guess, such as how many miles I have travelled by car and by rail in the last 12 months, but still, it’s a nice way to guestimate your impact.
My carbon footprint
My calculation came out as 9.626 tonnes of CO2 in the last 12 months (but I suspect I under estimated several of the values I put in, such as miles of car and train travel). The average person in the UK has an average of 9.8 tonnes and the worldwide target to combat climate change is just 4 tonnes (less than half of mine).
The web site displays this by use of a scary graphic which I have reproduced here:
So what’s reassuring about it?
It also gives you options for how to off-set your carbon footprint by giving you options to buy various things which will help - such as paying for the planting of trees, or supporting renewable energy work. What I liked about the options it gives though, is that some of them are things you can do in other ways, not just the ways the web site recommends.
For example - planting 10 trees in the UK would offset my carbon footprint. I could do that by paying for those 10 trees on the Carbon footprint website, or I could get advice from the Woodland Trust on how to plant my own. I could even buy trees from the Woodland Trust online to be sure I am getting an appropriate species. Alternatively I could dedicate trees through the Woodland Trust (which doesn’t necessarily mean they will plant new trees, it may mean paying for trees that have already been planted but it will certainly support the work of the trust. OXFAM also has a tree planting gift that you can buy, and there must be many other charities offering similar options.
As you work your way through the calculator you also get an idea of what you are doing that is increasing your footprint. So therefore an idea of how you could reduce it. And for further advice on how to do this you can visit the carbon reduction pages on the website.
I very much want to reduce my footprint, and in the mean time at least offset it, but some of the options given are quite expensive and I’d like to give some thought to how I want to do this. I’ll write a follow up when I have made some decisions about how to act on this.
- Has anyone else calculated their footprint?
- Were you surprised by what you found out?
- Are you planning to act to change it?