Today millions of us will make promises to transform our lives and appear, Stars-In-Their-Eyes-like from a curtained walkway on the 1st of January, having been persuaded to lose the Christmas bulge, nagged to stop smoking, or guilted into getting fit. No matter what you choose, I like to think there’s something a little magical about making a New Year's Resolution, endless enthusiast that I am.
Yesterday I looked through last year's resolution list with my junior editors and it was pointed out with some derision that several thus far un-achieved items will have to roll over to 2020. Sigh. After shelving the most popular suggestion of "eat more chips", we agreed that there was no shortage of new promises to make, largely thanks to the new kid in town: the climate emergency. This issue is creeping in everywhere like the smell of burning toast; we all know something's gone very wrong, we're all hoping some simple wafting will be effective, and secretly crossing our fingers that it's not our fault (instead can we blame our neighbours? Ahem).
But great news guys, there are many simple, easy, non-bankruptcy-invoking things you could consider adding to your list that will help the planet. For instance, how about making a pledge to always take a bag for life to the shops? Shopping locally to reduce food miles? Telling the pharmacist you don’t need that paper bag before they’ve dispensed your pills? Walking to work or school rather than driving? Switching away from bottled water to tap or filter? Trying non-dairy milk? How about adding 'our progress with climate change' to your weekly team newsletter or meeting agenda? Set up an eco-club at your school or workplace? Write to you local MP to ask for better recycling in York, or even - with basic potato print shapes - to the Prime Minister? The list is endless...
I'm proud to say that my very excellent colleagues here at OSMP are all shining examples of what can be achieved if we consider what small manageable changes we can make. In just 7 months we have reduced our reliance on plastic bottles and bags, improved our recycling, cut down on printing, switched to Fairtrade coffee, Dr Guion is eating more plant-based foods, we consider reverse supply chains for our suppliers, and express our outrage at ridiculously packaged products. But above all, we are more aware of the problem. We are better able to advise patients, for example switching to lower carbon footprint inhalers, and directing them to local social initiatives to help with physical and mental health difficulties. Many of us have carried these changes into our homes, and this is how the message of hope will continue to spread, or so I tell everyone. Patriotic music and a drum-roll please. We can still salvage the burnt toast, it just needs a quick scrape of dairy-free spread and home-made marmalade. Yum.
Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and carbon-curious 2020