I try to do my bit for the environment.
I make sure all the right stuff goes in the green bin for recycling, and if I make the odd mistake Clancy is always there to crack the whip and sting my conscience (don’t worry, the whip is entirely plant-based, responsibly sourced, fake leather, so no animal was harmed in the process… besides me, obviously.)
I walk to the shops most days and buy local as much as I can, making me years ahead of the fifteen minute city stuff.
And I buy all my clothes from the charity shops around Armley Town Street. Except underwear, obviously. Some things just need to be untouched by human hands. And other bits. I consider myself reasonably empathetic but I really don’t want to walk a mile in another man’s boxers. That’s far too grim to contemplate. Canada would have to be on fire and the Sahara covered in snow before I ever considered pre-loved y-fronts… erm, yeah…
But a lot of the time I just feel overwhelmed. Does placing the non-recyclable plastic bottle tops in the correct bin make any appreciable difference to global climate change? Would purchasing a new pullover from Primark have the slightest influence on net zero? Could buying a pair of underpants from Poundland contribute much to reducing the longevity of even a single polar bear?
I doubt it.
Personally, I’ve never struck oil, hunted a whole species to the verge of extinction, or constructed a coal powered energy plant, so my puny little choices don’t really amount to a hill of beans.
So, like most people, I know what I shouldn’t be doing. But I’m stuck when it comes to what I could be doing.
Which is where the new Climate Action Hub at Imagine Leeds comes in.
I went to the launch last week (anything for a free bar) at the City Exchange on Albion Street. And apart from an initial feeling of deja vu (which the free wine soon dissolved) I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much was going on in the city that I wasn’t aware of.
Special shout out to the wonderful people from Our Future Beeston who made me laugh uproariously and genuinely made me think about how I could get involved with the positive stuff going on and maybe get out of my rut of abject cynicism.
But there’s some great stuff here.
Personally I’ve decided to help set up an Edible Armley group. I know that may sound like an oxymoron to some of my fellow cynics (and definitely unappetising) but I’ll be writing about it a lot in the coming months to try to persuade you otherwise. And I’ve even made a start on the indoor crop of microgreens on the windowsill, just to prove you can grow things you can eat anywhere. And even the cat’s getting in on the action… We have a cat who enjoys a bit of greenery, and I don’t just mean salad. He’ll eat anything green, including artificial Christmas trees, foil packaging off cat food pouches, and random bits of cellophane he finds around the place. So we’ve decided to grow him his own salad garden. He seems to be enjoying it.
So, get down to Imagine Leeds. Get inspired. Do something. Even if it’s growing a bit of cat grass on the top of the fridge it’s a start.
Or sprouting green lentils in a cup. Just working out a recipe for Armley recipe station…