I’m dreaming of an eco-Christmas!

This week, much to Donald Trump’s dismay, but to many younger peoples’ delight, the 16-year-old Greta Thunberg was named Time magazine’s person of the year – the youngest person to receive the award since it was created in 1927. Bearing this in mind, along with the wildfires currently raging across New South Wales, Australia (image below), it occurs to me that we should now all follow her example and try much harder to live our lives more sustainably. And why not get started with an eco-Christmas?

What would this mean? Possibly, no more jet-setting Christmas breaks in the Seychelles or Maldives. And, instead of the usual non-sustainably reared turkey (or roast beef that induces global warming), why not try a tasty nut roast with locally sourced sprouts and potatoes, swilled down with a glass or two of delicious sparkling English wine? Rather than the traditional dispensation of often unwanted and unused presents, manufactured and shipped from China, wrapped up in non-recyclable Christmas paper and opened around a log fire that releases polluting particles up the chimney, how about a donation from each of the family to Crisis? A donation of only £28.87 can reserve a place for one homeless guest at one of their Christmas Centres.

And why not, after Christmas, make some eco-friendly resolutions for you, your friends and family for the New Year? Travel less in an aeroplane, switch from an SUV to an electric car, and get fit by walking and cycling further during 2020?

A very merry eco-Christmas to you all, and a much more sustainable New Year!

Comments (17) Add yours ↓
  1. Louise de Winter The Urology Foundation

    Hope you enjoy your nut roast Roger! Although I can recommend English sparkling wine from Ridgeview estates in Ditchling!

    December 19, 2019 Reply
  2. Christian Brown Urologist

    Not a day goes by where I don’t worry about all the things you raise. Sustainability was a big issue this year and will be next I’m sure. There are several good documentaries on Netflix about diet and it’s impact on the environment that I recommend such as Game Changers and What the Health. I’m unlikely to become a vegan or an English Wine drinker but if we all reduce our animal product consumption everyday and think about a re-usable version of everything in our daily life the planet will benefit. Happy Christmas everyone!

    December 20, 2019 Reply
  3. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    May all your Christmas’s be carbon-lite!

    December 20, 2019 Reply
  4. Jane MacQuittyj The Times Wine Critic

    Just written about the wine side of this for The Times. Reduce, reuse and recycle already big in our household but 2020 is the year the MacHedges will be doing more.

    Jane MacQuitty
    TUF Patron and Wine Critic for The Times

    PS check out my column in The Times on December 21 for a tenner off the best non vintage English fizz

    December 20, 2019 Reply
  5. Matthew Perry Consultant Urological Surgeon

    Due to a family member being vegetarian we’ve had a non- meat Christmas for the last 2 years! Delicious vegetarian Wellington once again this year.

    Travel to family is always a worry this time of year with the roads clogged with traffic. As such we are leaving that until 3rd January, hopefully travel will be more efficient.

    Will try not to burn too much coal, don’t want to set fire to Santa!!

    December 20, 2019 Reply
  6. David Redman Anaesthetist

    No comment, daren’t…

    December 22, 2019 Reply
  7. Simon wessely Professor

    Nice piece roger. Trust you will taking the pedalo cross channel for next ski trip

    December 22, 2019 Reply
  8. Culley Carson Distinguished Professor

    Happy Holidays to all readers. We are burdened with government buffoons on this side of the Atlantic but as the proverb says: “May you live in interesting times.” While reducing the carbon foot print is difficult we should all do our part. While the idea os an electric car is a good one and IU am surrounded by Teslas, the cost and miles are difficult. All can do better at recycling, reducing energy consumption at home and work and bicycling more! Let’s make 2020 a year devoted to the environment and eco-sensibility!

    December 22, 2019 Reply
  9. Anjna Harrar GP, Honorary Secretary ‘BSHM’

    What a lovely message Roger. I am being persuaded by my daughters to do V January (vegan not vegetarian), be more active and take note of climate change. Our children are more sensible and worth listening to. Merry Christmas.

    December 23, 2019 Reply
  10. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    Are our political leaders too distracted by the lure of economic growth to act on our #ClimateEmergency? Check out ⁦‪@DrMaryBlack‬⁩ on the bushfires in Australia blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2019/12/18…
    Merry Christmas one and all!

    December 23, 2019 Reply
  11. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    Change is coming! This year all the coolest folk are renting replantable Christmas trees and from next year, Waitrose and John Lewis have promised that their Christmas cracker gifts will be recyclable!
    In the meantime, for all those who need an excuse, being “environmentally friendly” is a great reason for not travelling to visit the in-laws. Have as much fun as you can, everyone.

    December 24, 2019 Reply
  12. Mark Becker Consultant

    Yes indeed, Christmas is a good time to reflect carefully on our global attitude to sustainability and eco-policies. The world over from Sydney (the fires) to closer to home – Southern England – (the floods) the warning messages are clear. Think about planet Earth! Cycle more, walk more, buy less. … and have a great Christmas all.

    December 24, 2019 Reply
  13. Nicola Stingelin Ethicist

    Thanks Roger.
    I have this year tried to limit my damaging consumer paw-print by only buying Christmas presents in charity shops. Such a small gesture…

    In addition to eco-issues, the subject that troubles me greatly is homelessness.

    I took part in the Saturday Night Big Sleep Out in Trafalgar Square a few weeks back. I was strangely content when it became cooler and rained, having however no illusion that the gesture was just that – a gesture that in no sense reproduced the misery of homelessness – a real scourge of our so-called advanced economy. Walking up Regents Street at 6 o’clock on the Sunday Morning damp and cold with rolled-up sleeping bag showed how easily our veneer of normality can perish.

    Sobering times indeed.

    I wish you all a Happy Christmas.

    December 24, 2019 Reply
  14. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    My new year’s resolution is to only buy what I actually need. Perhaps we can get to a place we can be judged on what we don’t have and haven’t used, as opposed to what we what we have?

    December 28, 2019 Reply
  15. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    Firefighters are bracing themselves for a flare-up of catastrophic wildfires sweeping southeastern Australia ahead of searing temperatures and strong winds forecast for Saturday.
    Emergencies have been declared and tourists have been urged to flee a 350-kilometer (217-mile) stretch of coastline in New South Wales and Victoria states before temperatures climb as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) inland. That will bring “extremely dangerous” conditions which may intensify wildfires that have killed 20 people, the government weather forecaster said.
    “Strong, dry northwesterly winds will cause ongoing fires to flare up yet again threatening communities that have already experienced widespread devastation,” said Jonathan How, a weather forecaster with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
    What more evidence do we need before we believe that things have to change?

    January 3, 2020 Reply
  16. Roger Kirby Professor of Urology

    The average person in the UK will have a greater carbon footprint by Sunday than some people in seven African nations will have in a year, research shows. By this month’s second week, a Briton will have overtaken a single person’s annual emissions in Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Madagascar, Guinea and Burkina Faso, according to Oxfam.
    The UK ranked 36th in the world for its CO2 emissions from consumption spread across its population, totalling at 8.34 tons per person in 2017 – the last year when such data was available. The global average for that year was 4.7 tons of CO2 per person. Eighteen out of the 20 lowest carbon emitters per capita were African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya and Zimbabwe, all falling under 1 ton of CO2 per person for the year.

    January 7, 2020 Reply
  17. Roger Kirby

    A recent poll found that almost 70 per cent of those questioned said they supported the target of net-zero emissions by 2030, with only 7 per cent opposing it. And support for swift action over the next 10 years was high across all age ranges, social groups and parts of the country, countering perceptions of a generational or urban and rural split on the climate emergency.
    The survey found high levels of concern over the threat which climate change poses to everyday life for people in the UK, with 57 per cent saying they expected it to have a negative impact, against just 12 per cent who said it would be positive and 21 per cent who thought it would not make any difference.

    January 13, 2020 Reply

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