Environment, Social Policies, Economics

19. May, 2022


Only a few days ago I posted on Twitter that the only thing you cannot switch off in your home is a fridge or a freezer. Yet a BBC News bulletin today confirms that many are switching off such, overnight to save electricity. This is leading to tummy bugs and truly is a false economy: Most likely by so doing the cost of bringing such items back down to temperature, defeats the purpose plus things like milk will go off. FOOD POISONING IS NOT TO BE IGNORED. IT CAN BE DANGEROUS.

For those that do not know me, I am 69, previously plagued with ill health but stubborn enough, not to give up or give in. Working when I could. I arrived from the South of England 30+ years ago. My website is all I can afford, www.sustainablebritons.org and a little ramshackle, however there is 60+~ years of experience within it. Which I hope will help others in these extreme times. For the past 4 years I have been documenting life as it is. My house is my workplace. Whatever comes into it and goes out of it. I took myself off to college at 55yrs. And one module, exhilarated me, because as I progressed with my learning I realised that, I have lived it; from 1953 to date sustainable living and sustainable development has seen me through, many bad times, with some good.
I have turned my own thinking around from what I was being taught, and for me the environment will always and should always be the priority, then Social Policy and finally the economics. Covid taught us that, from the benefits of taking pleasure from the natural world, a walk in the park defying lock down. But no one could ever have visualized this perfect storm in the UK. Brexit, Covid and now war in Ukraine.
However complex life has become, it is better to isolate such thoughts, deal with the here and now avoiding being overwhelmed, it is not good for one’s Mentality.
Walk with me, lets sort out what we can do without fear or favour.
In the past, the hike in the cost of living was a gradual thing. In 1975 I was a newly married housewife and I believe though I cannot totally establish the Bank rate at that time it was high, it was increasing and 15% occurred. Within weeks of 2022 it seems rather than that graduation of cost, the hike has become immense. We are all in this together as we were when the Pandemic hit, and as bad as it is, there is no point in frustration, it has happened. It is cruel and it is unprecedented, since WWII. So much before, so many recollections.
All I hope is, for what is left of my lifetime I can help and do something positive. Even if like my mum I think and live outside of the box. You will not always agree, I hope you may find the chance to laugh a little. And if you follow me on my twitter @sustainablebriton you may gain something: however small, when things get too big, they can get unmanageable. And can easily bring you down to your knees in exasperation.
And so, to Fridges and Freezers. Something, unless you remove them completely from your life, you cannot and should not switch off.
Today, such items are an integral part of how we live, as a young child they did not immediately enter our home. So, how did my family sort it and what did we have? The house had a larder, a vent through the wall to the outside, a meat safe; cupboard wit a wire front keeping bugs out. Later we did get a fridge it was Gas. We have all come along way, but back then mum was at home, and Dad with no car, just a bicycle, worked. Mum shopped regularly using a good bus service and lots of sturdy bags, cooked regularly, got up around six, fed and watered husband plus three girls. But then weekends were weekends and a half day on a Wednesday. That now of course has all changed. Yet I still believe that whatever the work rota, workers should get two consecutive days off, two days any time in the course a seven-day week.
It is the hottest day of the year so far in UK 17th May, 2022 and my suspicions are it is not going to get cooler as the summer moves on. We all need our fridges and our freezers. So what can be done to compensate the running costs? When I moved into my house I had an undercounter fridge, with only a small ice compartment, I progressed and things did get better the Mark 2 Fridge/freezer as photo. And finally, an integrated unit. When the time comes and frequently (at the most inopportune of times) your appliance fails. Buy the best environmentally friendly cooler that you can. Do not go fancy, truly look at what you need rather than what you desire or want. I know because I use my house, like a citizen scientist that when my old fridge went, I saved £39 per month replacing it and that, in turn virtually replace the cost of replacing the defunct one. Therefore, and I can only suggest, speculate to accumulate. And repeat, it is the only thing in your house you cannot and should not switch off. I will look at how to compensate by more dextrous reduction in other electrical items another day.
A good friend of mine, worked in the dairy trade as a delivery driver, he pointed out that milk plus other chilled items only go bad quickly if the temperature alters dramatically, it possibly seems a little obvious. Cooked meat can survive a day or two without refrigeration is kept chilled. And until the summer comes, I have always stored my potatoes, carrots and other root veg outside in a shed. I keep lettuce refreshed in a glass of water. Neither need refrigeration. So, there are ways around problems, just takes a bit of extra thought. Talking to your parents, grandparents is a good way. Try not to stress yourselfit does not help anyone or those that you hold dear.
Therefore, best option is to keep the fridge/freezer full but not necessarily with food. Just plastic bottles 2/3rds full of water and frozen work very well. I had an issue some months back filled my fridge with frozen water bottles, they lasted a couple of days before needing to re-freeze them And it was amazing how cold the fridge was when opening the door. If you only have a small fridge, just a couple of camping freezer blocks are better than nothing at all. Both plastic bottles and blocks in a fridge freezer and definitely bottles of frozen water in a chest freezer. Do not waste the water when not required, pour it on the garden. Maybe you don’t have the capacity to make such yourself, ask a neighbour and offer up defrosted water for their garden in return. Never forget, all families live differently with different priorities and everyone knows what is happening. Never, ever think it is wrong, bad, shameful to ask for help or support.
It is going to be tough for all. But there will always be someone worse than yourself out there, so share thoughts and ideas.