What things did you enjoy the most about your experience this week?
Our friends had a flea market and we are able to have some low-carbon fun, selling some household items, books and toys that we no longer need – it was great to see a roaring trade in second-hand children´s clothes and toys. It was a lot of fun with friends, live music and a party atmosphere
What were the main challenges you faced during the week?
I went to visit a friend who just had a baby and bought some gifts – and for the first time was confronted with thinking about the carbon emissions of gifts that I buy. I bought vegan snacks for the mum, so that wasn´t too bad. I bought a dinosaur sticker book for the older brother, which was a big hit! But obviously came with a footprint. I also gave the mum an almost new gardening book I had bought for my “fantasy self” which I knew she would actually use and I won´t (I don´t even have a garden!!) – which led me to thinking . . . to what extent do we stop being responsible for the emissions of buying a new product if we are able to pass it on? We recently gave away a lot of clothes, toys and kitchen equipment in the process of moving house. But unless our second-hand item prevents someone from buying something new, it doesn´t really absolve us does it?!
What were your main lessons learned of the week?
In the climate sector, we tend to spend a lot of time in our heads. With this experiment we are really “on the ground”, finding out in practice what it means to live the 1.5-degree lifestyle. We are discovering the practicalities, the emotions and the social implications of limiting ourselves voluntarily. I have realized that I don´t mind limiting my own consumption, but I feel uncomfortable about restricting myself when it comes to giving gifts or buying things for my children. This is connected to social norms and expectations about what kinds of gifts we should give for various occasions – so something that can be changed . . . .
What would have made it easier for you to achieve or surpass your target this week?
Having good charity shops / second-hand shops in our small town would be fantastic – although does the low price and low carbon guilt just encourage us to buy / own more than we would otherwise?