In the latest of a series of podcasts I interview broadcaster, writer and adventurer, Ben Fogle, who recently added an Ecodan air source heat pump to his home.
I’ve been talking to people about sustainability, the challenges that we all face in reducing our collective consumption, and how we can all strive to live more sustainably.
In the half hour interview with Ben, he reflects on his personal experiences of setting up a new home in the country, before lockdown, the encouragement from his two children to 'go-greener', his views as a 'positive campaigner' on global climate change, and how one person 'can' make a difference to environmental sustainably.
Ben talks about his personal experiences of setting up a new home in the country, before lockdown, the encouragement from his two children to 'go-greener', his views as a 'positive campaigner' on global climate change, and how one person 'can' make a difference to environmental sustainably.
Regardless of budget though, there are things that everyone can do
The episode is part of the growing ‘Serious about sustainability’ podcast, where I interview key people about the challenges of trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
The year has certainly had its hardship for everyone and tragedy for some and it does seem strange to talk about sustainability when some struggle to even put food on the table.
But Ben says he always tries to be a glass half full kind of person so he has tried to take advantage of the situation and he’s found having spent all that time with his family incredible.
He starts by reflecting how strange the year has been for everyone and how, for him in particular, it’s almost happened in reverse as he would normally spend 8 months away from home. This year – like the rest of the nation, he’s been house-bound.
For the Fogle family, the first lockdown coincided with a move out of London to the country, so they actually had some focus as they created a new home.
Air miles and carbon footprints
In discussing how we can all play our part, Ben tackles what he calls the ‘elephant in the room’ of his own carbon footprint which involves flying all around the world and explains what he tries to do to offset the air travel.
However, his travel has also allowed him to see what is happening with his own eyes. There are undeniable changes happening to our planet, yet if you ask people if they are trying to reduce, most will say yes, and all of us need to do what we can to do our bit.
He says it’s complicated, but feels that the pandemic has given everyone a chance to reassess life and have a bit of a reset. For his family in particular, his children have been a major driving force in trying to live more sustainably.
They already know this planet is facing unprecedented challenges and problems and their hero is Greta Thunberg, so he explains that they are better at picking up their parent’s shortcomings than anyone else. With the house move, they were keen that the family went as green they we could, which was one of the reasons they got an air source heat pump.
Budgets and finance
But Ben is also quick to realise that finance can play a big part in the choices people are able to make and it’s difficult to talk about costs when we are in the midst of the COVID storm, because so many people are suffering from the economic fallout from it.
Regardless of budget though, he does feel that there are things that everyone can do.
“I’ve always been a positive campaigner” he says in the podcast, “I want to arm people with options and opportunities and the ammunition to make a positive change.”
Ben talks about us all having too much ‘stuff’ and how we should all question whether we need new things all the time.
Everyone can make a choice in what they buy and consume and look at their own habits, so there are simple things we can all do every day. As Ben puts it in the podcast “Be the change you want to see”.
To listen to the full podcast and others, including TV presenter and architect, George Clarke and Rob Hicks, Innovation Manager at Sovereign Housing, visit https://podcast.ecodan.uk/
Max Halliwell is Communications manager for Heating and Ventilation