Louisa Pearson: ‘When I started out, being green was still a minority interest’
IT IS with a heavy heart that I write these words. Did you know the average female heart weighs 9oz?
That fact propels me straight into the autopsy room of any number of TV crime dramas. They’re always weighing internal organs on those shows. Why they do it, I have no idea. Perhaps it gives a clue as to the cause of death. If it was me on the slab, the coroner wouldn’t have too much trouble finding a verdict: heart weighed down with the sorrow of writing her last Green Goddess column.
That’s right. All good things must end. Come in number nine, your time’s up. Hawd the bus I want to get off. What could possibly be wrenching me from the bosom of my devoted readership? The chance to work for a major multi-sport event that’s taking place in Glasgow in 2014, that’s what. Surprisingly, they haven’t got me in to advise on environmental issues, but I’m sure you can imagine the dread the chap in charge of such matters is currently experiencing. I’ve already been sending him a steady stream of emails. “Are we carbon footprinting the whole event?” “Will there be wildflowers like the ones in London’s Olympic Park?” “How many energy-saving light bulbs will there be in the velodrome?” None of this falls anywhere near the remit of my new role, but old habits die hard.
By way of goodbye, I thought I’d rake through the archives to see what’s been uncovered on this journey together through the greenery. “To flush, or not to flush, that is the question” was one of our openers back in 2007. From saving water we lurched to embedded water – I discovered (and promptly forgot) that a tomato has 13 litres of water embedded in it. Shocked and appalled, I vowed to become more water-aware, and henceforth only fill the kettle with enough water for one mug of tea. I’m still failing at that one.
Other revelations from 2007 were that women are more eco-friendly than men (72 per cent don’t leave appliances on standby as compared to 65 per cent of chaps) and there was encouragement to make biofuel for your car by distilling the used oil from the local chippie. Still haven’t tried that.
Onwards to 2008 and we find the bold statement: “Hemp is not marijuana.” Very true. By 2009 parents were being advised that they could save almost £3,000 in the first 12 months of their child’s life through making green choices (I can only assume this means puréeing carrots you’ve grown yourself). Swishing became the official name for clothes swapping, then we got all romantic in early 2010 with an introduction to French Letter condoms, made from fairly-traded latex.
Breakfast was ruined forever when I found that some ‘not from concentrate’ orange juice is kept for months in “vast storage tanks to ensure a year-round supply. To make it last, the juice is stripped of oxygen and its essential oils and other flavour components, which are later added back in”. Scary stuff.
By 2011 it was all about glamping and other low-impact holidays, while I recommended biodegradable plates for picnics and organic sun cream. Unfortunately, the sun didn’t make an appearance that year.
By 2012 we were on to green apps and specialist sea salt from Cornwall. My local council built a bridge of recycled plastic. From algae to guerrilla gardening, it’s been a long, strange trip. When I started, being green was still a minority interest. Now it is firmly in the mainstream. Congratulations Scotland. Together we’re greener.