By TransitionStA volunteer- Isabelle Low

A Passivhaus in Fife – photo by Fiona Drummond

I was prompted to write this piece by an article in the Sunday Times by Dominic Lawson, saying (accurately) that anything that we did in the UK would change only 1% at most of global emissions, most of which are produced by the USA and China.

I agree with his data; I disagree fundamentally with his conclusions.  Every one of us on the planet can and should modify their behaviour to make a tiny difference. 

What we need to do, one by one, is:

  • take fewer flights, especially longhaul;
  • drive less (and walk, cycle or go by public transport more);
  • buy fewer “fast fashion” clothes and donate more to and buy more from charity shops instead
  • eat less meat;
  • eat more vegetables and fruit which are locally grown, not imported; and
  • be more energy efficient.

Making small adjustments means that you become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

I used to be a bit smug about my carbon footprint: I no longer fly; no longer drive; don’t eat meat; and source food locally.  But then I did a carbon footprint check ( and realised that I was so blind about heating my large house with a gas boiler.  So now I’m thinking about moving to or building somewhere much smaller; and/or adding much more insulation; and/or swapping to a heat pump.  A visit to a friend’s new Passivhaus (which is state of the art for clean living) certainly gave me a prompt.

I don’t have children; and will probably die before the planet is in total crisis.  But why be selfish when you can help shape a better future for the next generation?