A Greener Freedom

As the lockdown eases and we enjoy greater freedoms with glimpses of normality, many of us are realising that not everything we have experienced over the past few months was negative and there are some things we don’t want to leave behind. Going weeks between visits to the petrol station, depending on local shops, walking and cycling on quieter roads, cooking, gardening, home working without the commute – or just simpler living.

A ‘new normal’ is being widely talked about, with hopes for a ‘green recovery’ – an environmentally conscious structure informing how we manage the changes needed in a world living with Covid-19, with a focus on tackling climate change. Social distancing means our campaigning efforts currently remain largely in the digital domain, where we urge you to support climate action groups by donating, signing petitions, and emailing influential people.

We have a huge opportunity to influence how our towns and cities are designed with regard to transport, for a greener and cleaner future. In Alresford, Hampshire County Council Travel Map has received 14 suggestions for improvements to local footpaths and roads to create better spaces for walking and cycling. Some worthy suggestions still only have minimal support, so we ask you to visit the site at https://hantscovidtravelmap.commonplace.is/  to register your support for existing ideas, add your own, and share the site with friends and neighbours.

While the environment has benefited from a reduction in air and road traffic, the pandemic has driven an increase in single use plastics with the need for PPE. This is often unavoidable in high risk settings, but as individuals and in everyday life we can make greener choices to reduce our impact. The government is encouraging us to use washable face coverings and for the ‘crafty’ there are instructional videos online. Alternatively, there are people locally making reusable face masks for sale or for a donation to charity – just ask on the All Things New Alresford Facebook group.

When it comes to hand hygiene, regular washing and resisting touching your face remain the best advice. Where this isn’t possible, using hand sanitiser is the next best approach. Gloves do not provide enhanced protection over regular washing, in fact they can be a worse option. The virus can survive for long periods on the waterproof surface and people tend to wear the same gloves for long periods, with greater risk of spreading the virus to other surfaces they touch.

If you’ve been using the lockdown time to have a clear-out, recycling centres are now open although access is still restricted. Many local charities, especially hospices, rely heavily on income generated by their shops and their finances will have suffered hugely during lockdown. So before you set off to the refuse centre please take time to sort through and save items which can be donated to charity.  Charity shops are setting up donation bins outside their premises, with donated goods dated and placed in quarantine for 72 hours before they are circulated into the shop. This means you can donate easily without having to queue and you can continue to shop safely for those bargains.  

Please check our Reuse, Repair, Recycle Directory https://newleafalresford.org/reuse-repair-recycle-directory/ for all available recycling schemes – from PVC paddling pools to hearing aids, you might be surprised what can be saved from the refuse. You might also discover alternative outlets if your usual options remain unavailable. Clothes, accessories, medical equipment, furniture and foreign currency can all be donated locally, and there are local recycling collection points for batteries, crisp packets, mobile phones, pens, printer cartridges, Tetrapak cartons and more!

As we begin to emerge from lockdown we are presented with a huge opportunity to embrace and push for green changes in our lives. Enjoy your new found freedoms, whether these result from escaping lockdown or were discovered because of it!

Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. 

Hans Christian Andersen