Am I green enough?

I am pretty impressed by some of ‘the green-ness’ that I hear of on twitter and in blogland.

What I am not quite so keen on is some of the self righteousness and ‘my way is the only way stuff’ that goes with it.

But I fell to thinking about what I do and how it measures up.

And not just in gardening either.

Personally I have not flown in 5 years except for business purposes. I drive a small, modern, low powered car which I use largely for business purposes. I tend to grab shopping en route. I freely admit to buying washed and flown in veg. My busy life needs the short cuts there are. I naturally take part in the council’s refuse recycling scheme, although I resent the space the stock piles of the various categories take up in my house and that my doing of it does not reduce the cost of waste collection.

My house is small, terraced, insulated and heated only when necessary. My boiler is old fashioned and at the end of its shelf life. A new one will doubtless make me greener. As an active garden designer good light is important for my eyes and so I do use well lit space. But my bulbs are all of course low energy.

This may be rather too much personal info, but I shower rather than bath. I do not see myself investing in a composting lavatory!

My main personal green contribution I see as not having had kids. The carbon footprint and future genetic carbon footprint of any one who has must be off the scale compared to me.

To turn to gardening, my garden is actually quite large and I do need to take advantage of short cuts.

Currently I have 1 man – day a week’s help in the growing season during which grass is mown, the edges are cut and some strimming gets done – that means gas! But the rest of the time it is just me on my tod and no power tools. I have some help with the leaf fall in the autumn – 8 man days max and they do use the dreaded blowers. I wish they didn’t. Years ago all the leaves were raked and I am sure the sward was the better for it. But who can blame them? 2 petrol driven, man – days are spent cutting hedges.

Now for the nasty bit. If twer done and all that! I have had as much as 4 man days of spraying for weeds done in one year. This year I have gotten away with out any as yet. When it is done, glyphosate is used which breaks down quickly. Great care is taken to avoid known reptilian areas, ponds and so on. I do use slug pellets, but only in a very restrained way, about two or three times a year.

 All garden soft waste and leaves get composted and used on borders. Shrubby material I tend to pile in the little wood and have discovered that if I keep topping up the various piles they very gradually sink down so that in effect I am composting wood. I have not had a bonfire for two years and have also used no energy on chipping.

 Against any of my supposed excesses above I have maintained a sizeable, green, life giving space, which contains a good quantity of mature trees, some managed woodland and is a useful reserve for varied wildlife, both common and rare.

So I don’t actually think I do too badly.

A few imported salad leaves and a few handfuls of fertilizers on some borders – sorry, forgot to tell you that last one – don’t really weigh that heavily in the balance!

 R

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