Are my recycling efforts making a difference?

Great. I’ve ripped, shredded, squashed and put as much as possible in one recycling bag and the street is full of recycling bags. This is just one street’s worth. How much recycling are we creating? Is this actually good? How do we create so much to be recycled in the first place?

Having worked in research laboratories, I know my small bag is nothing compared to the industrial waste being recycled and I also know the valuable work that is being done in these companies. I also know my food needs to be contained in something in order to transport it. I have used a local greengrocer where handfuls of goods are weighed and placed in ONE bag but they are few and far between.

Scientists at Cambridge University have recently announced plans for a new unit to explore radical ways of fixing the earth’s climate. These include refreezing the polar regions and “greening” the oceans.

The Centre For Climate Repair is being planned in response to concerns that current efforts to tackle climate change by reducing emissions will not be enough to halt or reverse damage to the environment. One of the ideas being considered by scientists is spraying salt water high into the atmosphere to “whiten” clouds in the Arctic region to reflect heat back into space and bring about refreezing.

Dr Emily Shuckburgh, from Cambridge University’s Carbon Neutral Futures Initiative believes we need to look at the widest possible range of ideas and radical innovations. Shuckburgh became Director of Research at the University of Cambridge in April this year. She is a climate scientist and leads the research group focused on understanding the role of the polar oceans in the global climate system.

Shuckburgh also co wrote a book called Climate Change. This robust easy-to-read guide went through a peer review process – the first time for any Ladybird book. It contains the science and also details opportunities and technological innovations that are starting to bubble up in response to the problem. Shuckburgh wrote it alongside Friends of the Earth Director, Tony Juniper, and non other than the Prince of Wales.

I haven’t answered my question about doing enough but perhaps making an effort to understand climate change by reading this book by such an inspirational woman is a start.

Keen to learn more? Here’s a great article from Emily Shuckburgh on the scale and urgency of climate change. I’d also recommend taking a look at this interview with Shuckburgh to learn more about how she started her life’s work. And finally, if you’re in any doubt about whether to invest your time into the book, here’s a review.