June 5th marks the United Nation’s World Environment Day raising awareness and encouraging people across the globe to take concrete action to protect the planet.
But with our increasingly frenetic lives in can be easy to talk the talk of caring for our environment without walking the walk. That’s why we asked a few members of the CIWEM team to give us a window into their daily lives and the commitments they’re making to be greener and make the world a healthier, more sustainable place to live in.
CEO Terry Fuller says: “I am committing to improving the understanding of young people about the incredibly rewarding and vitally important careers available in the sustainable stewardship of our world. I will do this by speaking at school assemblies over the next 12 months and through the voluntary youth work that I support”.
Publications manager (maternity cover) Sarah Anderton says: “When my son was born it seems I unknowingly pledged a complete overhaul of my buying habits… I’m sure most new parents can relate! In the last year I’ve learnt to make do with a minimal wardrobe (the key is keeping on top of the laundry, full loads mind!) and have learnt to prioritise mending over replacing.
“This year I’m going to continue nurturing this attitude as well as working on buying items, where needed, that are good quality and can be repaired or passed on in time rather than buying cheap twice.”
Head of external affairs Rebecca Sells says: “We’ve pledged to ditch the car for the nursery run. As well as protecting the environment, it means my children get to see and appreciate nature every day. We enjoy learning the names of the flowers and trees we pass and counting the ducks on the canal.”
Digital content editor Miriam Habtesellasie says: “I became a sustainability champion for local charity Sustainable Merton last year and have a long-term loan of one of their litter pickers. I’ve already started doing small litter picks in my local area and will continue to do more. September 18th also marks World Clean Up Day so I will be out in full force, hopefully persuading my neighbours to join me, clearing debris and rubbish from local places of interest.
“I also want to up the ante on my recycling. I’m aware of local schemes that will recycle everything from crisp packets to medicine blister packaging but haven’t yet been organised enough to take advantage of them”.
Executive assistant Francesca Batchelor says: “I have been vegetarian for many years and vegan for the last three. Vegans get judged and criticised, however, being vegan for me is a lifestyle and a pledge to the environment. Since buying my house in 2019 we've had a lot of refurbishing to do, and I decided I wasn’t going to buy anything new unless there was no choice. For example, my floors are recycled plastic, my kitchen utensils are plant based, my toilets have sinks that drain into their cylinders. Needless to say, I tried very hard to shop ethical.
“Lockdown has taught me a lot about myself, I have tried my best to upcycle everything: keeping jars and yoghurt pots for growing plants, envelops for note pads and my favourite discovery, when you get to the end of a lettuce, pop it in water and it regrows (pictured)! Cucumbers, courgettes and lots and lots of tomatoes have been my babies from just removing a few seeds when eating.
“My professional life is 60 per cent sending emails. Our president Niki Roach has ‘Every email has a carbon footprint (about 1g), so if you don’t hear back from me, it’s not because of you, it’s because of the planet.’ at the bottom of her emails and therefore I pledge to think twice before sending a ‘quick email’ if unnecessary.”
Membership engagement executive Chloe Goode says: “As a vegetarian, I’m committing more and more towards a vegan lifestyle to reduce my carbon footprint and to fight for the protection of animals. Supporting small businesses (that tend to be more ethical) and shopping locally where possible is the way forward.
“I’m also making a pledge to swap fast-fashion for second-hand purchases. It’s so important to dispose of unwanted clothes in a way that does not harm the planet so I sell everything on to a loving home (Depop is the best!). There is still a long way to go so I try to educate myself on how I can be more ethical and reduce my footprint on the planet!”
The Environment editor Karen Thomas says: “My pledge is to continue reducing the number of flights I take. In 2019 I attended a carbon literacy training scheme in Manchester and the group played a game ranking all the ways you can make a carbon footprint; flying came out on top. I haven’t been on a plane for the last two years and won’t this year.
“However, I still have lots of far-flung destinations on my travel wish list including Japan, Mexico and Mali. So, if, and when, I’ll be taking to skies again, I’ll be researching how to offset. Meanwhile, I love and miss trains”.
Branch liaison officer Barbara Woods says: “As part of my commitment to gardening in an ecologically sound way which supports biodiversity, I am taking part in Plantlife’s No Mow May campaign again and doing their Every Flower Counts national survey to contribute to the assessment of how the nation’s flowers are faring, as well as to discover the availability of nectar in my lawn for bees. So far this year I have noticed more cuckoo flowers, violets, speedwell (pictured) and ox-eyed daisies growing in the lawn and am particularly pleased that I now have two common spotted orchids coming up. I have also been sourcing peat free, organic compost for my veg and fruit planters."
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