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Sustainability starts at home

Sustainability starts at home

Yet again the world is looking forward to new hope in terms of mitigating climate change. There is supposedly hope for a sustainable future and it is called green energy. With the Covid-pandemic seemingly under control, all eyes turned to Glasgow in November where scientific heavyweights, economic planners and politicians gathered to hammer out a things-to-do-before-2050 list.

All the right buzz words have been bandied about for years: decarbonisation, green energy, ammonia-as future-fuel, new economic development, prosperity, H2Atlas, hydrogen industry, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, regenerative agriculture. The bandwagon is ready, and everyone is clamouring that Namibia should jump on. Is it a bandwagon or the next lucrative gravy train?

What does the future hold – success or trouble? The witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth chanted “Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble...” What can we add to that, post-COP26? Mix it up into a muddle, add some PR to befuddle?

The government is developing green hydrogen and green ammonia strategies as part of an economy-wide prosperity initiative. Green energy is any energy that is generated from natural resources, such as sunlight, wind or water. These three resources seemingly don’t harm the environment by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But there is a downside to everything. Wind turbines, on the other hand, have huge blades of some 81 meters made of composite materials including epoxy thermoset (resin). They, too, have a limited lifespan and end up buried in huge landfills. Thankfully, the world’s first fully recyclable wind turbine blades were produced in September this year by the Danish. Wind power is wonderful – but have the birds received the memo?

Suppose we leave the big picture to the heavyweights. Let them create a sustainable environment in which we, the people, may live, work and play. Where does that leave John Smith and his wife? Hopefully in a veggie garden, producing good, fresh food for family and friends. Because every plant is a mini carbon sequestrator. Remember primary school life science? Plants utilise carbon from the atmosphere and release oxygen. And remember Covid? We really, really need oxygen.

John Smith and his wife could also learn from the minimalists. Less is more – more intact resources for later use.
Magda Olchawska, writing for impakter.com, calls herself a conscious consumer. “My careful shift from a consumption-driven lifestyle to eco-minimalism will hopefully… add to my deep desire to be a part of... a sustainable future. The concept behind conscious consumerism is straightforward. You only buy what you need and what is essential. You don’t splurge on items you already have enough of or status things that look good or are very trendy…”

Careful + mindful + recyclable = sustainable. Living sustainably now, is like putting money into your grandchild’s piggy bank. Every bit helps.

Christine Stoman

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