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Small steps can take us a long way

26 May, 2021
By Mary

Looking after our world isn’t an optional extra, it needs to be part of everyday life and it sends our government a clear message.

As a child nearly 40 years ago, I am trying to remember if my mother ever used plastic bags.  Possibly for the annual clothes shop before the start of the school year or to make the new pair of shoes feel special when we were little, but she always had her shopping bags.  Not just to pack everything up at the cashier but she also brought bags with her for the fruit and veg as well.  As I grew up, looking after the environment and climate change were moving up the agenda, we found different ways to reduce car travel, single use plastics, eat organic and locally sourced food.  My mother taught me to consider the impact of everything we do and see if there was a more environmentally friendly way of doing it.  I am no saint, I have my vices, for example, I go fell running and my fell shoes are oil based and certainly aren’t biodegradable sadly.  However, through life I have found better and better ways of doing things.  Lots of small steps will get us a long way.

My father died when I was young but had the same attitude.  I read one of his letters from when he was in his twenties saying ‘I don’t want to be an engineer to make cars that pollute the world or better gin and tonic shakers’.  Forward-looking for over 50 years ago. He passed this mindset onto me.  I believe that engineering is the other caring profession, using science and technology to make society and the environment better.  This is why professionally, I have been working to support local renewable generation and help them benefit their local communities.  A lot of my role is behind the scenes, it’s fighting bureaucrats and vested interests in endless meetings.  It’s exhausting and can be lonely and it certainly isn’t ‘sexy’, sometimes I wonder if I am getting anywhere but it’s essential and it’s using my skills and expertise for something positive.  Just think of the impact if everyone decided that the highest priority was for their career to have a positive impact on society and the environment.

For all that, we can’t prevent the climate disaster just as individuals, we need system change at a government level. However, everything we do in our personal and professional lives sends a clear message to our governments that we want them to act and act now.

 

Mary

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