Breathing Space


vulnerability update

Well a few weeks ago I mentioned how we didn’t seem to realise how close to the edge we lived our lives.
Then our water supplies around the North stopped and suddenly everybody in Northern Ireland water is inept, people are filling their baths when they can and people are getting hysterical.
While recognising the inconvenience that it’s causing  many people perhaps it will make us realise how fortunate we are to be able to turn a tap on and have fresh, clean water pumped into our homes?

So perhaps less whinging on BBC Radio Ulster and a bit more appreciation for what we do have?


Everytime I take stuff out to the bins I am horrified by the amount of waste we go through, even as a couple who are trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
There is so much waste in our lives from packaging, so much that seems beyond our control. We need to eat and with lack of quality and variety in our local foods we need to buy whatever the shops supply, in whatever way the shops and suppliers package it.

There is another thing that worries me. What are we going to do when we’ve exhausted all our oil, or whenever oil becomes much scarcer especially when our homes are mostly heated by oil? We could us wood burning stoves except we live on island with no trees. Does nobody else worry about our lack of trees here in Ireland?

What are we going to use to keep old people warm when the oil is all gone?

At this time of the year charities who are doing good work to make the world a better place send out letters asking for money, with the paper piling up on the hall floor.

This morning we had a church breakfast this morning and our cereal was all packed in individual little cereal boxes and wrapped in individual plastic wrapping with the minimum amount of highly processed cereal possible inside each of those cardboard boxes and plastic bags
It’s a sin. But who do we blame for life getting this way?

Or is it OK?

Maybe even good?

There was an interesting and disturbing programme on BBC2 a week or so ago about the bottled water industry,an industry that has made it perfectly normal for water to be bottled in France and exported round the world, say to a store in Nashville, then kept cool in a fridge for  few weeks until some customer comes in to quench his thirst,
to say nothing of the plastic bottles that the water is kept in that is made from oil to say nothing of the fact that most of us have water piped directly into our homes and workplaces.

I’ve never been to Africa but in my minds eye I see a lady with a large water jar on her head trudging for miles to get a source of clean water every single day to water crops or to cook with or to drink.

Is that right?

Then we have large multi-national companies like Nestle and Danone, Coca Cola and Pepsi fighting wars over branding and sales, selling  a basic human right for profit, buts thats OK because the customer is king and wants it.

Last year we had a chance to holiday in Switzerland and one day we walked along Lake Geneva, past the Nestle Headquarters. I think it was a national holiday, which may have explained why it was so quiet for the headquarters of such a major multi-national company. It was weird. I had all this anger towards the company then walked past the building and just felt empty, that we are all locked in a runaway train that nobody seems to be in control of.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the world is incredibly complex in its problems and I don’t know what to focus on sometimes. ‘

And its doing my nut in a bit.

water-waste on tap…

I hang my head in shame for only today, on the 12th November have I done what I said I would do approx. 3yrs ago. Somewhere when I was doing my drawing class I read that one way to save water was to fill a plastic bottle with sand and put it in your toilet cistern. I said I would do it. I even took time to draw a picture or two. All I had to do was find a plastic bottle, fill it with sand and put it in the cistern.

In 3 yrs that small gesture would have saved at least 500ml X 365 X 3 = 545litres of water, presuming that I only used our toilet myself once a day.

But of course its not just me. It my wife as well. So thats at least 1000 litres of water that small gesture would save.

At the time a few years ago I was planning to bring a plastic bottle of sand into Dublin each time I went in and placing one secretly in busy cisterns round the place. Perhaps its time to launch a secret plastic bottle planting war in Belfast as well. You’ve been warned!