This blog was originally based on a course ran by Professor Nick Gray of the Trinity Centre for the Environment at Trinity College Dublin who also wrote a textbook for the module Facing up to global warming: What is going on and what you can do about it. Now working as an independent consultant, Nick continues to work in the area of environmental sustainability and looking at ways of making a difference without recriminations or guilt. Saving the planet is all about living sustainably.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Struggling to be sustainable? Maybe you need a holiday

You have heard it is the right this to do, read about it in the newspapers, heard your Granny harp on about valuing what you have, but are you really convinced about living sustainably? We get water from the tap in the kitchen, vegetables from the supermarket shelf, petrol from the end of a pump, how can we really appreciate their value?

Don’t stress, take a holiday!

Am I suggesting that you fly half way round the world to stay in an eco-labelled lodge in Costa Rica? Not at all. I am suggesting taking a holiday close to home where you can learn the value of a commodity.

Try working on a farm in Ireland. Spend a week away from work weeding, planting, watering, growing and most importantly… eating what you’ve picked that day! There’s no better way to appreciate the value of the food on your plate. And next time you head to the supermarket you’ll look differently at the bag of carrots on the supermarket shelf.

Why not take a cycling holiday around Ireland and give value to every kilometer you travel? It might make you think differently about the hundreds of kilometers spent in an airplane or in a car on those carbon intensive weekend breaks.

What about taking a walking holiday in the Scottish Highlands? You might be kilometres from the closest water source whilst hiking, so you’ll need to measure just how much water you need for the journey. It might make you think differently about flushing the toilet six times a day and lingering in the shower for 40 minutes.

Getting to see and experience the limits to the commodities you buy and use everyday really gives them value and encourages that sustainable lifestyle we are all striving for. So next time you plan a holiday, think about what sustainable tip you can come away with!

 Alice Bentley

 Working on Mew’s Farm, Devon, UK
Taken by the author on 10/08/2011

Reaping the benefits of our work
Taken by the author on Landscove Farm, Devon, UK, 17/08/2011

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