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We all know that we should reduce flying to lessen our carbon footprint. But sometimes, you may just have to fly. I live in Europe and I am from Australia, so in order to get home once a year, I need to take a flight.

What I like to do is to calculate my carbon footprint and then use other ways to make up for this. Whilst it is not the same as not flying at all, at least I can do it with a conscience. Firstly, I try to take the shortest route possible with the least amount of stopovers. Carbon emissions are huge in takeoff and landing, so doing this helps. I also try to pack as little as possible, and certainly not add to the weight of the plane with unnecessary items.

I turn off all appliances before I leave, and leave nothing on standby. There is a certain amount of carbon that each person can theoretically use in a year without any affect on climate change. The trip alone from London to Sydney uses up 2 and a half times this ration. Obviously there is much to be made up for!

I always take trains or busses to and from the airport. On the plane itself I refuse anything with packaging (which is almost everything). I also try to fly during the daytime, and summer, when the conditions exacerbate the carbon emissions.

Of course, nothing would help more than not flying at all. So this year we are meeting halfway there, in Thailand. This means that my parents use this as their holiday, I use up my time for my holiday, and we only have to travel half as far.

Charging your laptop and mobile phone wont ever take a whole night. So there is no point at all leaving them to charge all night as this will just waste energy. Even once your phone or laptop is charged your wall adaptor can use power even if there is nothing to charge. Try to charge while you are in the shower, or in the mornings before work. There is no reason at all to leave a phone or laptop charging all night. Save energy. And money too!

Most insects wont do any harm, but no-one really wants a spider lurking overhead at night in the bedroom, or ants in the kitchen for that matter. But this doesn’t mean you should run for the insect spray and suffocate these poor critters!

To get rid of ants, squeeze some lemon to the surface of where they like to visit, and leave the peel there. Ants will avoid this. For a spider, simply get it to run onto a piece of paper and take it outside… although I do need my boyfriend’s help with this one! To stop weevils from visiting, hang small bags of black pepper around areas where you store food and rubbish. This will drive them away!

It’s not just about killing the animals here either. We don’t need to buy chemical sprays when there are alternative and environmentally friendly alternatives!

This might be a boring topic, because it has been talked about at length. We all know how plastic bags harm the environment, so why are a trillion used each year? And where do we think they all end up?

Starting in the fruit and vegetable section, who really needs to put a bunch of bananas into a plastic bag, which will only go into another plastic bag later? Will it be any harder for the checkout operator to weigh them in a plastic bag? There is no reason whatsoever for this. Never have I encountered a checkout operator who had a problem with weighing my loose fruit and veg.

If vegetarians care about not hurting animals, then it should be just as important not to use plastic bags at all - since they can end up in the stomachs of sea turtles, calves, suffocate birds, whales, and dolphins. If we wouldn’t eat a bird, then why would we allow for a bird to die painfully through ingesting a plastic bag, only to decompose and the plastic still be around?

A plastic bag can take up to 1000 years to breakdown. How difficult is it to take your own organic cotton bags to the supermarkets? Again, you might not think that your simple action will make a difference. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

My favourite vegetarian is Sir Paul McCartney, and not just because the Beatles is my favourite band! From his sadly departed wife Linda’s amazing vegetarian food line, to his daughter Stella McCartneys fashion range, and refusal to use fur or leather, this family are an inspiration. It couldn’t get more perfect! The most amazing music ever made, the best-tasting meat alternatives, and finally a designer who makes non-leather boots and heels! Not to mention the fact that John, George and Ringo are all vegetarians too.

Who else has seen (or saw) the light? Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison,  Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Pythagoras were all vegetarians.

Amber Valetta, Alicia Silverstone, Pamela Anderson, Natalie Portman, Alyssa Milano and Anne Hathaway prove that vegetarianism doesn’t harm your looks, but makes you radiant.

I don’t eat chicken, and if I can’t convince you not to eat chicken at all, then maybe I can at least convince you to eat free range chickens. Free range organic is even better. Chickens which are not free range live in cramped conditions and never see the light of day. If you refused to buy chickens unless they were free range, then this would force the producers to change the living conditions of chickens. As consumers, you have the power to do so.

Over 95% of chickens in Britain spend their short (39 days) lives inside a barn with thousands of other chickens, never to see sunlight at all. 17 chickens occupy one square metre. And there are over 800 million chickens who go through this every year in Britain alone.

Artificial lighting shines 23 hours a day, forcing the chickens to stay awake, eating more, and fattening up for a shorter lifespan, whereupon they are electrocuted and their throats are slit. It may cost you a little more, but what is the cost of a life? Even that of a chicken must be worth something, vegetarian or not.

Depending on where you live, it may rain a lot, or hardly at all. If you live in Australia, for example, where there are water restrictions and droughts, it makes sense to not waste water. But what about those living in places where it rains and rains. And rains. What is the problem with us having 20 minute showers?

By having shorter showers, it is not only water you are saving, but energy. Energy is used to heat water, and as we all know, it is energy consumption which leads to global warming.

If you can’t manage to shorten your shower time, then invest in a new showerhead. Newer models use  litres of water a minute, compared with older showerheads which use 15 - 20 litres a minute.

Best tip of all - take a shower with your partner.  

Veggie Lunch!

I am a vegetarian, and find the worst thing about it is constantly having to explain myself to defensive people. It usually goes something like this:

 them - “I could never be a vegetarian, I love steak”

me - “that’s good for you, this is a decision I made”

them - “well I’M going to eat meat”

me - “ok, go ahead”

And the person launches into a rant about vegetarians, and hippies, and how on earth can an oyster have feelings, etc, etc. All I have done at this stage is to order a vegetarian lasagne! If people are genuinely interested and willing to listen, then I am (more than) happy to extol my beliefs on them. But I am generally not up for a fight with someone who is vehemently trying to defend something which I have not even criticized!

 So, since you have read this far, why would anyone be a vegetarian?

Here are just a few reasons, all of which are important to me -

Animal have rights, and eating them is not in their best interests. People can laugh at this, but not so long ago, people didn’t think women had rights, or people of certain races for that matter.

 The environment is destroyed through the raising of animals for food - rainforests disappear, pesticides pollute, lakes and oceans become toxic. In fact, the carbon dioxide produced from one pound of burger is the same as that which would be produced driving a car for three weeks.

Vegetarians are healthier. We have a lower rate of breast cancer, obesity, heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and many more health issues which are so prominent today.

Vegetarians care. The grains used today to produce beef would be enough to feed all the starving people in the world today. It’s not that there isn’t enough food to go around, it’s that the resources are devoted to the livestock production for those in the developed world, leaving millions of others starving, and malnourished.

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