top of page

How green am I?

Quite a few of the smaller outdoor providers around here have become 1% for the planet providers. I thought I do my own little audit.

Well I’m afraid it’s a bad start. I live in a well ventilated, gas heated (plus a log burner from time to time) Victorian terrace (phew.. it’s a terrace!). I drive a diesel powered car and I’m probably going to get another one this year.

We can’t have solar panels on our house (due to it having a complex roof), it’s insulated as well as can be, draughts have been reduced, we own big jumpers. We can’t have a heat source pump in this property. I’m not sure what else I can do to reduce the carbon footprint of our house.

The diesel vehicle is purely selfish. Three, four or even five times a year I drive to Scotland. I do this with mountain bikes, sea kayaks and mountaineering gear. My wife still works everyday so taking two days over the trip is a sacrifice we aren’t ready to take just yet. I do walk, cycle, bus and train locally as much as possible. My car is not used a great deal but it’s a very useful bit of kit for getting round Snowdonia easily. One thing I have done is allow more time for journeys. I drive slower than when I was younger, I’m happy to stop at local shops, I like to arrive early and refreshed wherever I’m going. By setting off early I have time to give way to bikes, horses and roadworks without being stressed. I use less fuel and I make little noise.

We do not fly. We haven’t taken a flight abroad for seven years now. We see no current need to do so, hence we’re comfortable with our Scottish drives. We are members and financial contributors to the Snowdonia Society, the North Wales Wildlife Trust and the RSPB. For presents we don’t buy gifts we make donations. This year for Christmas I donated £50 to the Langholm Moor buyout project for my wife’s present. Annually my Birds in the Mountains workshop donates around £200 to the Welsh Ornithological Society. Nature of Snowdonia was proud to be one of the sponsors of the Birds in Wales book. My business is environmental education and awareness.

Most of my workshop attendees make journeys that would be challenging on public transport. I’ve looked at moving locations and timings to fit better with public transport, I haven’t found a good compromise yet, but I’ll keep looking. I’ve noticed this year people booking adjacent workshops, I’ll plan more of these next year. January and March have proved popular this year so I’ll do two weeks of back to back workshops in each of those months next year. I’m wondering about trying to arrange accommodation discounts for people staying over, would that be of interest? Hopefully as we slowly exit from the coronavirus pandemic (if indeed we are doing so) then maybe car sharing can be reinstated too.

Minor things I’ve done is swap laminated handouts for PDF files sent electronically. I use phone mapping rather than laminated ones. I always use a lunch box, drink tap water in a reusable bottle and use wax wraps for my flapjack (we are now completely cling film free). I make my gear last longer. I shop local as much as possible.

I know most of you are taking similar measures; we are not claiming to be leaders. Some of you are doing more, some of you are doing less. We feel like we are doing what we can within the system as it stands without adversely affecting the way we live.

I think all that adds up to at least 1% for the planet, but I suppose, the big question is, as we do what we can without changing the way we live…

When should we change the way we live to do more for the environment? What do you think?

257 views4 comments

Recent Posts

See All


I've grappled with this issue myself and like you, think I'm doing as much as I can, but when I look at my own personal audit - which is probably pretty good relative to the rest of the world, but far far from perfect - it still leaves me with a sense that there's no way I as an individual can make a difference. Tie that with climate change science and it's easy to get pretty cynical! However I don't think the point has to be to change the world... I think living to a standard that's your best for the planet can subtly raise awareness among the people around you, even in a small way. Key is to just…

Mike Raine
Mike Raine

Thanks Monica, I know they say if we all do little thing it'll help. Let's do that! But the big issue are hard for us to influence as individuals, let’s just keep chipping away.


I think it's important to show wiling and do whatever little bit you can; in the grand scheme of things, the small changes each of us make, individually, have very little impact when viewed against the vast scale of industrial/commercial emissions from across the planet. The fact that you're developing, and demonstrating, an environmental awareness and making the effort is the main thing - the more of us make these small changes, the more environmental awareness becomes normalised and then we stand a chance of seeing real change. Well done for what you're doing and don't sweat the small stuff.

Mike Raine
Mike Raine

Thanks Mike, I know we all need nudging and we hope the little stuff will add up. I fear the crux is how willing are we to change our lifestyles and I fear the answer is as little as possible I'm afraid. However, our waxwraps are small beer comapred to this I guess we should all be a bit politically active.

bottom of page