Cutting energy use

Gatwick_Feb13Readers of this blog know that I fly quite a bit. My beloved lives in Munich and I live on the South Coast of England. That is about 500 miles/800 kms complicated by a stretch of water. Last week I did take the train all the way. It took 14 hours, though it was extremely civilised, particularly the first-class travel between Brussels and Cologne. In the short-term, I will continue to fly. But the effect on climate change makes it very difficult to reconcile. Energy use is unsustainable. So, here are some ideas for cutting energy use in the short-term. Low hanging fruit. Any additional suggestions welcome.
I do think about ‘unnecessary’ flying. Top of my list is sport. Tournaments are international these days and sports players – individuals and teams – fly all over the globe in pursuit of titles. Mostly unsuccessfully. One thinks about the Olympics last year. The amount of unnecessary carbon generated by moving sportspeople and their equipment really cannot be justified. Not to mention all of the building, electrical power, etc. Essentially, there needs to be less international and elite sport, not more. The Olympics should be every 5 or 10 years with intermediary events held regionally. Ditto for football’s world cup. Cricketers should play the Ashes between England and Australia less often (it pains me to say that as a cricket fan). Golf is already split into two ‘tours’ – the American and the European. This should be consolidated and playing in both tours should be frowned upon rather than celebrated. Playing in the Gulf should not be counternanced because of the energy required to maintain golf courses in deserts and the air miles needed to get the top golfers and their entourages there. The same is true of tennis.
And putting horses in aeroplanes so that they can compete in horse races across the planet is neither good for the planet nor fair for the animals concerned.Asparagus-Bundle

I appreciate that whole national economies are now based on exporting perishable produce to supermarkets. Particular culprits – asparagus from Peru (even when it is in season in the UK and Europe – note Tesco); sugar snaps, sweetcorn, fresh herbs, etc. Be careful as shoppers, just because it is there, does not mean that it should be bought. We need to be more creative with our cooking to render more locally-produced foods attractive and enjoyable. Some may say that Peru and Kenya, for example, enjoy comparative advantage in terms of climate and land. Be that as it may, but the transportation costs are just too high. At the very least these products can be tinned, jarred, dried, etc.

Here is another one. Turning off soft-drinks vending machines. In fact, all chilling cabinets for soft drinks and chocolate. Chocolate, indeed. We chill chocolate. The vending machine in the building I work in now serves at best 10 people. Nonsense. Soft drinks are unnecessary, chilled in December, particularly so.
Picture: (asparagus) Evan-Amos (wikipedia)

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