Becoming Greener

In some circles, becoming ‘green’ might suggest developing an uncontrollable ‘green-eyed-monster’ type of jealousy, or perhaps suffering from extreme sea-sickness, but the shade of green I’m currently aiming for is the eco-conscious, eco-friendly, eco-chic variety.

Now it’s not that I’m a new convert to the ideology for I’ve definitely never been against being green – in fact my parents have always promoted good practice. However, having recently moved in with my other half, it’s time to start putting all of the well meaning theories and parental practices into action for myself.

In these times of credit crunch some elements of becoming green around the house are easy to adhere to, for not only does turning down the heating help to save the environment, it helps to save the gas bills too. So far it seems that I’m the only one who feels the cold anyway, so it doesn’t worry my other half if I become more frugal in the radiator department. But hand in hand with the gas bill comes the electricity bill, and here is where the real challenge begins…

Now training your other half in something which you believe is important but which has never crossed their mind before is a tricky one. Nagging is a rut that you can easily fall into, but it’s a technique which generally gets a bad reception. I find tricks, treats and excessive praise to be rather more effective, but it does make you feel a little like you’re training a puppy rather than your partner. Nevertheless, a couple of months into the adventure of setting up home, and the message is beginning to get through. Lights are turned off more frequently, and the power cord is disconnected from the laptop, and the TV is turned off standby…most of the time.

Good practice in these areas will hopefully become more automatic in our little house, and the results will begin to show. I believe that it’s as such practices are instilled into everyone that the impact will begin to make an actual difference for our environment.

Canary Wharf by night

Canary Wharf by night

It’s combating the cynics which really is the biggest challenge for those who are working on becoming greener, and the unfortunate reality is that the un-believers sometimes do have some uncomfortable home truths to brandish about the place. I read an interesting article over my breakfast this morning, questioning the validity of investing in energy saving light bulbs when the Canary Wharf offices have their lights on at full power all night, and when motorway authorities feel it necessary to floodlight the roads in some areas, whereas other motorists manage perfectly well using their headlights. (Jeremy O’Grady, The Week, 10.01.09)

These are valid questions of wastage to address, but no one should be using these examples of environmental negligence as excuses for their own lack of motivation. Every little helps, so I’m going to continue the campaign to turn off lights and eliminate standby around my house. Lowering your energy consumption is a good first step to take when becoming greener around the home, and my training routine in that department is well under way. However it doesn’t stop there – there’s still all of the rest of the house to come – hints and tips on boyfriend training all gratefully received…

And if you work in one of those offices around Canary Wharf – please turn out the light when you leave!

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