Monday 26 October 2009

Baby steps

So this is it, my first week as main contributor to the TN Blog. In fact the first week to have a main contributor. When I first met up with the Transition Norwich Comms team in September to talk about the possibility of running a blog, Charlotte already had a clear idea of what she was hoping for. One of the ideas that really appealed to me was that of offering people a week at a time to talk about their "lives in transition" and what it means to them to be part of the Transition Norwich movement. But I didn't expect to go first, and that felt a little bit scary!

John Heaser's post of 19th October gave me courage. One of the great things I've found in the relatively short time that I've been part of the Transition community is that there are no saints and no sinners - we are all on a journey, together, exploring what it means to be in transition towards a low carbon or post-peak oil future.

I calculated my carbon footprint about a year ago using the calculator on, and recently refreshed it. My footprint has actually gone up in the last year (fractionally, but that doesn't make me feel better) to 8.62 tonnes a year. So what's that all about? Well, we're all at different life stages, and we start our journey at different points. I have two small children under five, which in itself generates a huge amount of washing, and, in winter, drying. We moved into a Victorian end-of-terrace when daughter number two arrived as our previous house was just not big enough any more. I've never lived in a more draughty house - you can feel the wind whistling past your nose sometimes when you're lying in bed. It costs a fortune to heat. Our last car, an eleven year old Ka that, again, the girls were just too big to fit into anymore, finally died this summer and had to be replaced (that accounted for the most of our increased carbon footprint). And our family is scattered across the UK and Ireland - they all want to watch our children grow up and it's important to us that they do.

But... the UK average carbon footprint was nearly 11 tonnes a year in 2006 and I don't suppose it's got massively better since then. So ours is still better than average. Our electricity comes from npower's Juice scheme which uses wind farms to generate electricity. After years of commuting round London on the M25, I can now walk the twenty minutes to work each morning. We turn off all our (energy efficient) lights when they're not needed, leave nothing on standby, and we're replacing all the thermostats on the radiators. My wife is trying to find a carpet fitter for a beautiful, recycled carpet to deal with those draughts in our hall and daughters' room. A long, long way to go, but we're getting there.

One of my colleagues in the Comms team has been thinking about groups of transitioners helping each other on home projects to reduce the overall environmental impact of our homes - I'm keen to get on board!

So we all start from different places. Some journeys will be longer, some shorter. What's important is that we know where we're going and take those first baby steps.

That's it for today! Tomorrow I'll be writing a little bit about food...

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