I have just spent a lovely (albeit wet) week in the Peak District with my family. We got talking about the beauty around us. My children were fascinated by the renewable energy being generated as we walked – they were full of questions about why it is important and how it got to the houses and what would happen if the sun didn’t shine. Would it mean the TV wouldn’t come on? It was difficult to stop myself launching into an explanation of easements and battery storage - which felt a bit excessive for a six and an eight year old - but I loved the thought processes. 

Their summer school performance this year included a song, “I am the Earth” by Glyn Lehmann – search it up, it’s a tear jerker – and the message it delivers is fabulous. “We share the future, side by side, one earth, one people, we’ll turn the tide”. Walking through the Peak District we broke the song down and I explained to them what the song they had been singing for weeks (and weeks) really meant and how they were the future, that they could turn the tide. A few hours later my six year old son, who had clearly been mulling it over, came back to the subject and said: “it really is important isn’t it mummy?”. Cue proud mum moment being able to talk to my kids about what I do in the sustainability field and how it makes a difference. 

However, it got me thinking about what they could do and what we could do as family on a more granular basis. We read daily about the impacts that our actions are having on the environment and climate change. But day-to-day are we doing anything about it? Those little incremental changes which, if we all do them, would add up to a big change. I’m not talking about replacing your car or putting in a ground source heat pump (although if you can then go for it), and sadly not all of us are in Angela’s position (see the case study in the link). I’m talking about wasting less, using your car a little less or flying less (when we’re not all confined to a staycation). Or even eating less meat or dairy on a weekly basis. 

I’m thrilled to hear that the over 50s want to see faster movement on climate change – a message I’m sure all generations will agree on to ensure we all play our part in reducing the impact our lives have on this planet. But if we don’t all make those seemingly minor incremental changes and see that achieving net zero is something governments and businesses are responsible for and committed to, then we’ll never get there. We’re certainly re-evaluating in our house and have ignited an interest in the next generation. Topic for dinner tonight?