Trying to live sustainably has unexpected benefits

Trying to live sustainably has unexpected benefits

Posted by Amanda Furness


There are many versions of this quote and attributions vary but the meaning is clear, and it has recently become very poignant,

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” 

As a parent of adult children who may at some point become parents themselves, I feel like there should be a postscript added, “So sorry, please take better care of it than my and your grandparent’s generations have done”.

But instead of reactive statements, thankfully, there are those who are prepared to stand up and create awareness – both young and old.  So, in response to all the recent environmental campaigning, like many people, I’ve had a serious word with myself and looked at changes I can make immediately to try and live more sustainably.

I’ve managed to cover myself and those standing next to me with washing up liquid when re-filling my bottles at the local zero waste shop.  I may even have improved my fitness running up and down the four flights of stairs from my front door to the various recycling bins up the street.  And my step counter hopefully has a big smile on its face as I try to walk everywhere and see how far into the year I can go without putting any fuel into the car.

But as my daughter lives a few hundred miles away, walking wasn’t an option when we visited her recently.  So, instead of doing what has become the norm and scouring the internet for cheap flights, we bought one of those travelling together railcards and scoured the internet for cheap rail fares instead.

And the point it’s taken me a while to get to, is that the benefits weren’t just environmental.  I can’t say I exactly dread flying, but I certainly don’t look forward to it.  Yet, with the train, I felt that excitement I used to enjoy as a child embarking on a holiday journey.  I had a window seat, my book, a picnic and almost 5 hours ahead of me all to myself!

Well, almost – although we’d booked into the ‘quiet carriage’, so as not to be interrupted with other people’s one-way conversations, I hadn’t taken account of my travelling companion’s reading material.  I can report that he enjoyed the journey too, snorting quietly beside me and shaking with laughter regularly at the book he had brought with him.  Reminiscent of a train journey long ago when we were travelling to our honeymoon destination, all that was missing were the two old ladies opposite, looking at my then gleaming wedding ring, shaking their heads at each other and watching me with a look of pity on their faces!