The Corfu Blog by Hilary Paipeti

How big is your carbon footprint?

How big is your carbon footprint? Mine must be one of the tiniest in the Western world, but that’s more down to a dislike of extravagance than a belief in mea culpa climate change (see below). Just as the banks imposed withdrawal limits at the end of June, I put 50 euros petrol in my tank, in case of a financial meltdown, which didn’t happen. Today, on the 20th of August, a quarter of a tank remains. During July, I visited Town (25 minutes door-to-parking) four times, but in August, with the manic mainland and furious foreign drivers on the road, I have kept to the locality. Attendance at a memorial service fifteen minutes away has been my most distant trip, and Wednesday LIDL shopping has been replaced by visits to the Kokkini Supermarket for the time being.
Meanwhile, the binmen have begun regular rubbish collection again, having been rather remiss during early summer (perhaps they weren’t being paid). I didn’t contribute greatly to the heaps of trash, as I separate my waste:
Edible stuff: In the dogs.
Vegetable waste: Over the fence into a dense stand of cane and reed.
Paper waste: Into the fire.
Glass: Into the glass recycling bin at the Golf Club (if it goes to the dump anyway that’s not my fault!).
Bottle tops and other hard plastic: Collected for recycling at the Anglican Church.
Unwanted objects: To the Ark charity shop or to the Caritas one.
Unwanted clothes: Ditto or cut up for dusters.
Unwanted books/CDs/DVDs: To Holy Trinity Church library.
Thus only plastics, tin cans, tetra boxes and other packaging go (in a very small supermarket bag) to the wheelie bin.
I appreciate not everyone possesses a rapaciously greedy labrador-type puppy, nor a convenient wild field next door, nor even a fireplace; but we all could take small steps to reduce our waste, even tiny steps such as buying vegetable loose instead of in a plastic box.
And… Is that journey REALLY necessary?

Did you know that if the entire sea ice of the Arctic Ocean melts to nothing, sea levels will not rise by a fraction of an inch?
Try it out on a small scale: Part-fill a glass with water, then add a couple of ice cubes. Mark the water level and allow the cubes to melt fully. You will find that the level is exactly the same whether the ice is in the form of cubes or melted into the body of the water.
This is because ice is both lighter than water and has more bulk. Think icebergs; they float on the sea, with about a sixth of their bulk above water level. The much larger underwater part DISPLACES the same volume of water. When the ice melts, the exposed and the underwater sections are converted into EXACTLY the same volume of water that was displaced. Thus sea level remains the same.
In fact, the Arctic ice, not sitting on a continent as the Antarctic ice does, pretty much melts during the summer. Remember the notorious photograph of the polar bear standing on a tiny ice-floe, all on its own in a vast, empty sea – the propaganda poster for Man Made Global Warming? They shot it in the summer, when every year the sea ice is in exactly this condition. How do I know it was summer? The sun was shining. In winter (when inconveniently there is plenty of ice) it’s dark.
By the way, polar bears 1) swim long, long distances between ice-floes if they have to 2) happily move to dry land when there is no ice 3) have a healthy and growing population, unaffected by mythical MMGW.
Nevertheless, do try to diminish your use of throwaway plastic. ‘Biodegradable’ plastic – so called to make you feel better about using it – does not exist; much washes into the sea and disintegrates into tiny particles. Ingested by sea creatures, the plastic poisons them. This, not climate change, is the real danger to life on earth.

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