Finding the energy: Diary of an eco-worrier navigating the eco-issues in lockdown

Debbie Bourne - eco-warrior or eco-worrier?

Debbie Bourne - eco-warrior or eco-worrier? - Credit: Debbie Bourne

While I dream of being an eco-warrior, the truth is I’ve always been more of an eco-worrier.

Back in lockdown, like all of us, I’ve been seeking ways to keep energized.

I wasn’t expecting this to be quite so literal, but I’m helping to organise a virtual community energy cafe to answer questions like: Where do I use energy in my home? Are there ways I can use less and save money? How can the government’s Green Homes Grant help me? What is retrofitting (tickets available here)?

At the event planning meeting I was too embarrassed to admit that I didn’t understand what retrofitting actually is. Sounds like some kind of 1980s furniture store! What I do understand is that we do all need to make energy ‘conservation’ more sexy. It’s a big part of the pathway to reaching a zero-carbon Camden by 2030.

And then there is renewable energy. I’m part of Power Up North London, a non-profit organisation that enables local people, just like you and me, to invest in renewable energy projects. I may not understand what kWh hours are, and wish I had concentrated more on maths at school, but, hey, it’s never too late to learn.

One low-tech action we eco-worriers can take is to join the Camden-based food box scheme, which delivers organic vegetables and fruit sourced from small-scale farms near London.

Every Wednesday, when the bag arrives, it’s like TV’s Masterchef: “What goodies am I going to get? Oh great, it’s kale again!”

A quick look online for a kale recipe leads to a euphoric discovery: Pina-kale-ada. Yes, you read it right. That classic 70s cocktail. Just add a bottle of rum. And kale.

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An email from a teacher at a Parliament Hill school informs me that the girls want to plant an orchard for Think & Do’s Camden Forest project. Each tree will be named after a famous feminist from history. Bravo ladies!

My inbox is filling up with ideas for a Covid-safe toy swop in December: tree giveaways, ex-parking spaces to be turned into parklets...

It’s time for a cocktail. Oh no -- the pine-kale-ada recipe has imported pineapple in it! Would that make me not only an eco-worrier but an eco-hypocrite? Sigh! Until next time, salut!