Julia Stephenson: The Green Goddess

My plan is to green up my life - going from a light shade to deep olive

A A A

The problems presented by global warming and the destruction of the natural world seem so enormous it's easy to want to hide beneath the duvet and try to forget about it. But, in the spirit that it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness, I'm going to do my bit.

The problems presented by global warming and the destruction of the natural world seem so enormous it's easy to want to hide beneath the duvet and try to forget about it. But, in the spirit that it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness, I'm going to do my bit.

During the next few months, I plan to green up my life. I currently stand at light green and still have some way to go before reaching eco-nirvana. I talk the talk, but I don't really walk the walk. Yes, I buy organic food from the farmers' market, which, I admit, is as much about catering to my middle-class, faux-rural Marie Antoinette fantasy as it is saving the planet. Indeed, my local farmers' market in Chelsea is full of Goldman Sachs wives wafting about before whizzing off to yoga at the Harbour Club.

But I do subscribe to The Ecologist magazine, I eat organic food, have drastically cut down on my personal rubbish mountain by refusing packaging, recycling and keeping a worm compost bin on my roof terrace, plus I am the Green Party candidate for Kensington and Chelsea. Actually, this is beginning to sound quite good.

But I conceal heaps of guilty green secrets in the depths of my reusable string bag, wardrobe and make-up drawer (I was given a jar of La Prairie "cell extracts" face cream - yes it is divine, but whose cells are they?), plus I keep forgetting to turn off my appliances at the mains, I drive a car and I fly in aeroplanes.

There are two types of green. Vanity "lite" greens buy organic food because it is better for their health. They are a slave to their Dr Hauschka rose face cream (made from biodynamically farmed roses which can only be picked when the farm workers are feeling happy), and they take ridiculous eco-holidays in obscure parts of the world that can only be reached by 16 hours in a gas-guzzling aeroplane.

Dark greens are motivated by a far more laudable concern for the planet, and I want to be like them. My plan is to switch from light green to deep olive.

But it's easier said than done. Eco-housing developments like the innovative BedZed in Croydon have blazed the way, but it is difficult for an ordinary householder to know where to start.

Fortunately, I have Donnachadh McCarthy's Saving the Planet Without Costing the Earth, which is packed full of gossipy, easy-to-implement eco-tips. I visited McCarthy at his cottage in Camberwell for some eco-inspiration. It is fascinating. A large tank on the roof collects rainwater, which is used for flushing the lavatory, bathing and watering the garden, and his high-tech solar system enables him to be self-sufficient in energy. His household bills are minimal and in summer he makes money from selling extra electricity to the National Grid. He recycles so effectively he has no dustbin.

McCarthy is keen to pass on his expertise and offers an eco-auditing service. He is coming round next week to do a 'green audit' on my flat and I can't wait to get started. The Good Life in Chelsea, here we come.

j.stephenson@independent.co.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
Amazon's drones were unveiled last year.
business
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Life and Style
Worth shelling out for: Atlantic lobsters are especially meaty
food + drink
Sport
Gareth Bale
footballPaul Scholes on how Real Madrid's Welsh winger would be a perfect fit at Old Trafford if he leaves Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Lily James in ‘Cinderella’
film
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lead Quality Auditor

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Identifying and communicating issues raised, p...

Recruitment Genius: Weekend Catering Supervisor - Temporary

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To be responsible for working with the Caterin...

Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - Infrastructure / VMWare - Hertfordshire

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established industry leading business is l...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Hertfordshire -Large Established Business

£22000 - £28000 per annum + study support, gym: Ashdown Group: A large busines...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss