Walk your talk

Lots of phrases go with ‘walk your talk’, such as ‘actions speak louder than words’. I have sat on lots of committees over the years and watched and listened as many ideas were put forward. ‘Let’s do this then’ was often spoken but when it came down to it, nothing happened because although the words were sincerely meant, the actions did not follow. People make promises that they have no intention of keeping and I find this very sad.

Looking at our world today I see many promises being made, actions promised but all of this never arrives. Governments make promises to help other countries but the aid or money never arrives. Seeing what is going on currently in our world, really bad storms, floods, earthquakes and war and then seeing all the adverts for giving aid makes me think that it is mainly the ordinary man or woman who does the helping.

I have ‘friends’, not sure they are really friends as they talk about being organic and loving the earth and understanding what is needed then they go off on holiday across the world and tour in a gas guzzling vehicle. To me that is not walking your talk. I don’t profess to only eat organic food as I find it hard to get at times but I do try to buy fair trade clothes when I can. I also try to help others less fortunate not necessarily with giving them money but by helping them to find ways to live better and where they can go for help like the food bank.

I’d love to go abroad but the thought of my carbon footprint makes me think that it is better to stay in the UK. There are some wonderful places to visit and some amazing nature to walk through so why fly abroad? Last summer it was hotter here than in Spain and is likely to be the same this year so foreign holidays are not needed if you only want to go for the sun. How do you walk your talk?

Too much technology?

I remember when my elderly mother was given her first debit card and pin number. She just did not understand what to do and was not able to remember the pin number either. Nowadays we take these things for granted and shop online happily. Or do we? There are many who do not have the facilities to do this. Not everyone has a smart phone or a tablet or a PC.

Yet applying for bus passes and government help seems to be only available online. I am one of the lucky ones and know how to do these things but I know others who cannot. I have been helping a neighbour recently with her universal credit account. Everything seems to be done by text or online and she finds this extremely difficult to do on her phone and to understand how to do. I noticed that details of payments and any times when payments were reduced was available in a pdf file. She had no idea how to open the file or what it was. Why do governments think that everybody can do everything online? What if you don’t have access. I was told that for some things like the elderly bus pass you can go to a council office often some miles away and not always accessible on the bus. Not everyone has a car either. I don’t have one.

So many of us are very lucky to have this access to online things and we often take this for granted. It has become a part of how we live and many cannot survive without it. But there are other reasons why everything should not be available via the internet. There was a programme on the TV last week about the large number of servers required to keep the internet going. The amount of energy and water used was horrendous and would have provided power for thousands of homes.In one area new houses could not be built because there was no water supply. It was being used up by several buildings containing servers for the internet. Do we think of this when we attend meetings on Zoom, for example? No, we take it all for granted without seeing the cost. Maybe it is time for us to take a look at our technology and find out how much we actually need and how much we can do without.

Looking forward

Our government has produced an environmental improvement plan. Very ambitious but full of flaws. The government intends to make the environment better and leave it in a state that is much improved from when they took over. One of the items that interested me was about river and stream pollution. ‘The environment secretary has said the UK government is taking urgent action to reduce sewage discharges into rivers and the sea in England. George Eustice unveiled a plan to curb pollution from the “most damaging” storm overflows by 75% by 2035, and 80% of all discharges by 2050.’ 2035 is over 10 years away. Why can’t it be sooner? Are they afraid of the companies that pollute our streams and rivers? The damage done by polluted rivers is enormous and has been a problem for many years.

Another interesting statement is this one ‘every household in England will be within a 15-minute walk of a green space or water, with the Government committing to restoring 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat and 400 miles of river.’ Really. If we are to be within 15 minutes of a green space then a lot of buildings will have to disappear. If only this could happen soon it would be wonderful to only have to walk for 15 minutes to a nice open green space. The green spaces I know within a 15 minute walk are often covered in litter and dog poo so not a nice place to walk or even sit for a while.

Words are easy to say but promises hard to put in place. It has become a well known fact that being outside in woods and green places is good for mental health. Maybe those in power are understanding this but promises to change things need to be followed by action.

On another note there are several signs of the coming Spring around us. I have seen lots of hazel catkins, snowdrops, dwarf irises and crocuses and the willows are starting to show their catkins too. The birds are eyeing each other up and starting their mating dance routines which can be quite funny to watch! There are some things that never change and I for one, would not want to see them change. So let’s keep the good stuff and get rid of the bad stuff.