Will this year be your year of change?


Will this year be your year of change?

One of the best things about running a small business is that you can adapt and change quickly, yet being honest, its easy to get comfortable and do things the way you have always done, until you need to take drastic action.

I can hold my hands up and admit there are plenty of times that I should have taken action in my last business but I delayed, and it cost me.

But this year I’m really starting to notice a culture of change.

Maybe it’s crept up on me, but it’s a revolution that is definitely changing pace.

I grew up on a farm in Kent. I love my gas guzzling 4×4’s and the practicality and adaptability of them. Whether full of friends and the dogs for a day at the beach, working on the farm or making sure I can get to work whatever the weather.

Landrovers have been in my heart since I was 5 years old. They are part of my make up – from an amazing 101 Forward Control to the tough bumpy ride of a 12-seater County Station Wagon if I’m at the wheel or in one there’s a smile from ear to ear.

But things start to change. As you get older, you start to become wiser. The last few months I’ve started to notice more and more waste and more things in my world that need to change. We need to adopt an attitude that welcomes change. Embrace change.

With my background in electrical engineering, I saw the introduction of solar panels, electric cars, wind turbines, ground source and air source heat pumps, all expensive technology that had a small uptake.

Yet visionaries like Elon Musk pushed hard for electric cars and little by little, more and more hi-tech chargers are popping up. The rules of measure, analyse and reduce that we adopted in engineering are starting to move into the home with the introduction of Smart Meters, allowing us to see where we can make changes at home.

I have to be honest; I’m not the best person at recycling. I always forget the bags for life when I’m shopping (with the excuse I’m too busy). I drink a whole lot of take away coffee and my car footwell normally has rubbish waiting to hit the nearest bin. I’m a consumer. I’m wasteful.

But it wasn’t always that way.

That wisdom you get when you are older? It’s actually the ability to look back on your life and see where you did better and where your life needs to change.

I grew up in a village with a Butchers and a Greengrocer. The fruit was taken home in a brown paper bag. The meat was wrapped in greaseproof paper and then placed in another paper bag. We didn’t waste food. I’m 35, but the wartime mentality was still fresh in my grandparents and my parents’ generation were resourceful.

Generation Y have had it good. The Millennials.

We had credit cards and a consumer mentality. Living for today and instant gratification, and now you start to realize the cost on your health, waistline and the planet.

We are starting to become aware of the damage we are doing. How much waste we create.

Have you seen Ben Fogel’s documentary on the waste in the Oceans? When I grew up, you believed this was some far away place. Ben’s documentary was based in Malta. 1,294.43miles as the crow flies. A four-hour flight.

Take a look here if you haven’t had time to see it.

But you know, that’s Malta, you can watch the documentary and it will give you a little bit of guilt but in general, you will forget it after a little while. Harsh but true.

Closer to home, each day I walk Harry at the moment, another epidemic is becoming more and more obvious. Little black sacks filled with dog poop. Everywhere. In the trees, in hedges, in long grass.

Dog Poo Bag Change

In 2018 there are about 8.5 million dogs in the UK, in 1983 the year I was born there were around 4.8 million. So along with the baby booming generation, and the millennial’s blossoming, the pet population nearly doubled in the 30 years that passed.

The culture change to pick up after your pooch has come, but it’s also brought some selfish habits and some environmental issues of picking up.

How long does a dog poo take to biodegrade? Dependent upon the weather, the faeces can have dissolved within a few days, the biological effects can often take up to a year.

ScienceFocus.com reports that a dog poo bag can take three to six months to biodegrade, dependent upon light, temperature and conditions. But they still come from petrochemical processes which have another level of impact. Then again, lots of people use nappy sacks and otChangeher cheaper products which could account for the hundreds of bags still not degrading on my morning walk.

High street coffee chain Starbucks is predicted to sell over 2.9 billion cups of coffee each year, that’s nearly 8 million disposable coffee cups from one chain, worldwide each day. Waitrose is one of the chains starting to face the change, becoming an early adopter. Encouraging people to purchase a reusable cup for their complimentary coffee in store.

It’s one of the changes I will make this month, remembering those bags for life and taking my coffee cup with me wherever I go. I will also aim to reduce the plastic bottles I use daily, water, coca-cola, etc.

David Katz recently produced a great Ted Talk on an innovative social project to introduce The Plastic Bank.

Putting my engineer head back on I’ve always wondered why we don’t have a shredder for our recycling in the home, so that transported waste takes less space at the point of disposal. Think about how many more bottles you could get in the bottle bank if each bottle was chewed as you put it into the bottle bank.

Now, I’m not going to go out and start hugging tree’s, it’s highly unlikely I’m going to change the world, but I am going to start to make wiser choices, its part of my responsibility now I’m getting older 😉

I will be trying to consume less, buy smarter, re-use and recycle more.

Will this be the year you start to change too?