Pete, Nicola, Lola and Nell spent three months during summer 2007 travelling around Britain. Now we're home but the travel bug is still there. Join us for the occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint.
I'm guilty of introducing an 4x4 jeep sized-footprint into the house. At least that's what a recent Guardian piece claims here thanks to the arrival of our pup. Much of Leo Hickman's piece is taken from a hackle-raising book, Time To Eat the Dog and is probably spot on. I've already noticed that even at eight weeks Vulcan's lack of house training meant we had to wash our hands more; and we're flushing his poos away so our water use is well up. He eats a chicken-based biscuit (so we're fuelling Amazonian rainforest decline as soya feed gets used to fatten the poultry base). We also often leave a light on for him - and at night to keep him warm we provide a hotwater bottle (better than gas central heating, but still a need forextra electricity as we heat up a saucepan on the hob).
In an ideal world we'd have got an unwanted/rescue dog who would still have a resource-heavy footprint (mostly shit) but convincing the rescue centres to let me take one home was heavy weather. One in Wales didn't seem to think I could collect a dog (Jester) without a car (wherever I lived) because it would be "too traumatic". I was so furiously amused that I couldn't actually reply to this ridiculous comment.
The whole family was also expected to do the fetching, and we had to do it straightaway. When I pointed out this would mean taking the girls out of school - technically illegal - the dog ladies (because they always were) gave a telephone shrug as if that was quite inconsequential.
The dog books are the same, containing scant regard for resource pawprints. Here is where you learn that dog poo should be picked up in cheap nappy bags (which don't biodegrade); and dogs need to learn to love cars so they can be driven for walks. Call me old fashioned but I think it's better to start walking from where you are, not by driving to where you want to be.
This is not a campaign I will be putting a jot of time into - turn on dogs and you lose a huge swathe of people who just might have made an effort to cut their carbon emissions until they realise they love the enemy. Besides, I am looking forward to walking our puppy more as he gets big enough to do so and together we will muse on this strange, strange world.