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Live Another Way

Let's explore another way of living to ensure justice for all.

Woman in community garden

We believe that small steps will make a tangible difference to the lives of our global neighbours.

Small steps such as reusing cups and bottles rather than creating more plastic every time we want a drink. And bigger steps such as reviewing your energy supplier and switching away from fossil fuels.

We've got loads of practical ideas for how to live another way and we'll be adding more ways to take steps towards big change here over the coming weeks. Let's get moving!

The Big Shift

Poverty robs people of dignity and freedom and of power over their own lives.

Christian Aid holds a vision for a better future, one where everyone has the chance to flourish and live life in all its fullness.

Climate Change is the biggest threat to that future, and it's already impacting poor communities. One of the biggest causes of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas - especially by richer countries.

The more we burn them, the more the planet warms, and the harder life becomes for people already living in poverty.

This great video explains what fossil fuels have to do with poverty.

Following the historic UN climate deal agreed in Paris in December, the global shift towards renewable energy has well and truly begun. But we need to keep up the pressure on our governments to shift much further.

One way we can each do this is to make the big shift away from fossil fuels ourselves, in our churches and communities. It needn't cost the earth – and if we act together, it could even be cheaper than your current tariff.

Why not join the Big Church Switch to clean energy today? Churches of all denominations, shapes and sizes are joining together to make a switch to 100% renewable energy.

We know this is not always a simple process for churches, so Christian Aid has teamed up with church procurement experts 2Buy2, as well as Tearfund and CAFOD, to create the Big Church Switch and make it as easy as possible for your church to join in.

Collectively, we have huge buying power and are working to secure good value, clean energy tariffs.

You can register your church's interest on the Big Church Switch website.

The Big Church Switch can help you decide which tariff and timeline works best for you. All you need to do is put in a few details about your church and some contact details. And if the deal isn't right, there's no obligation to switch.

There are other ways to save carbon too, if switching your energy supplier isn't for you right now. Check out Eco-congregation Scotland's resources for greening church buildings - they've drawn together a host of great guides which can help churches conserve heat, recycle, build sustainably and even save bats!

Life Without Plastic 

What might life look like without any plastic at all? Val Brown, our Church and Community Manager, tried to find out.

The task we set ourselves was simple – can a family with two children, aged eight and six, live without plastic?

As folk who like to think of ourselves as environmentally aware, we had already taken steps to reduce our carbon footprint as much as we could: we have solar panels; we religiously switch things off; we don't buy plastic toys; we get appliances, furniture, bikes and stuff from places like Gumtree as much as possible.

We wear predominantly second hand clothes; we grow a lot of our own fruit and veg; we use the train; we recycle; we buy, read and return books to charity shops; and we have reusable sandwich wrappers, water bottles and lunch-bags.

All that is well and good. However every month we still seemed to be drowning in plastic: three big recycling bags' worth. So could we cut out plastic?

A quick look at the recycling bag confirmed what I already knew. It was mostly food-based plastic: sparkling water and diluting juice bottles, fruit trays, yoghurt cartons, milk bottles, meat trays and shampoo soap bottles.

Over the summer it was slightly easier. Spinach, carrots, blackcurrants, strawberries, raspberries, potatoes, blueberries, gooseberries and parsnips grew plentifully in the garden, so the amount of fruit and veg we bought from the supermarkets decreased.

But once those supplies finished, we were once again back to plastic-wrapped items. It's impossible to get berries without the plastic. We have been choosing loose potatoes, tomatoes and apples where possible and re-using the bags we get them in.

However it's fair to say that with other fruit and veg we failed. And this was a choice, of course, because we wanted to have a diet rich and varied in different-coloured fruit and veg, not all of which were either from, or in season in Scotland.

Meat was easier. We have tried to cut down our meat consumption and what we do get is now from the local butcher who will fill our reusable boxes every week.

On paper, water and diluting juice should have been the easiest one. But when you have small people in the house who have to be persuaded to keep hydrated, having their favourites around is essential. So whilst we have cut down on these, we have by no means eliminated them!

The healthy breakfast oat and fruit smoothies, the evening kale and spinach-infused smoothies all rely on a steady supply of yoghurt! So the five large tubs per week still find their way to my recycling bucket.

We looked into getting milk in bottles, delivered from the local dairy. But that increased our milk budget too substantially. So the five milk cartons also still reside in my recycling bucket.

Living without plastic may have been a simple notion, but the outworking of it was, and remains, difficult. We do our best and will continue to try and reduce our need for plastic. But sadly eliminating it completely would only be possible if we radically overhauled our eating habits.

How about you? Do you think you could live another way, with less plastic in your life? Let us know if you take up the challenge and how you get on.

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Christiand Aid Scotland

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