What our rowing member does to reduce her carbon footprint

Michelle Barden talks about the changes she’s made to make her lifestyle more sustainable, why they’re important and how they allow her to save money as a student at the same time.

What lifestyle changes have you made to be more green?

Recycling:

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“I’ve stepped up my recycling, even just bits of paper that used to find itself in the bin, I’ve made the effort to make sure they’re either in my recycling or my wormery. What that allows me to do is turn it in to compost for the back of my garden. As well as the worms, I’ve also built a bug hotel in my garden from recycled rotting wood.”

“Unfortunately a lot is only recycled if there’s a market for it, meaning it still goes to landfill, so it’s important to make an effort to use reusable mugs and bottles when you can. I have a water filter machine and soda stream so I can filter and fizz my own drinks rather than buying bottled.”

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Changing cars:

“I used to have a sports car and a Land Rover for the dogs and for countryside and beach trips. It was fun but the emissions were shocking so at the end of last year they got traded in for a low emissions Estate. My road tax has gone down to £120 a year, when my 2 previous vehicles were almost £600 a year.”

Becoming vegetarian:

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“For an assignment I wrote about how psychology can impact climate change by convincing people to eat less meat. Researching about the dairy industry and methane emissions for this really bothered me and I found out you can get enough protein from veg. I use Gousto delivery for ingredients for meals so no more food waste! I’ve been vegetarian for almost a year and I don’t miss meat.”

Swapping products:

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“I’ve swapped my Clarins skincare items for Tropic which is chemical free, vegan and totally recyclable. They’re the worlds first carbon-neutral company and also cheaper! The suncream I use is environmentally friendly for when you go in the water too. My face cloth is made of bamboo and it can go in the wormery when it’s done.”

“A group of us also did a ‘stop shop’ for a year and didn’t buy any new clothes, we found items on eBay and charity shops instead. I’ve also cleared out anything that gathers dust to charity sales and shops. I’ve committed to putting one thing a day out and it’s so liberating.”

What is the most important change you have made?

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“Becoming vegetarian. Lots of people say they’re green-living aware but they think methane emissions are a load of rubbish. There’s a lot more coverage in the media recently with Extinction Rebellion but lots of people say they could never give up a bacon sandwich.”

“Even if people give up meat one day a week, that’s equivalent 1/7 of the worlds population becoming vegetarian. Little changes do make a big difference.”

What other lifestyle changes do you hope to make in the future to reduce your carbon footprint even further?

“I’ve looked in to solar panels for my roof but my roof isn’t appropriate for them, so there’s not much I can do about that. I am much more aware of sticking the heating on and I use blankets to warm up instead.”

“I’d love to live green on a little boat somewhere but that will have to be something for after uni.”

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