Climate change personal action!

palo1

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This kind of management is really really key to what the equestrian community in general can do to support efforts for net zero.. hedges, trees, soil, grassland management are all not only key for carbon sequestration but will add biodiversity too.. plus hedges and trees provide really good bio shields against extreme weather and will help limit disease spread.. I am dreading seeing diseases that occasionally surface in Southern Europe making their way North.. Anything we do for biodiversity will also help mitigate climate crisis. The two go hand in hand.

I've found this spring and summer it bit scary ... exceptionally dry and one of the fields my horse is on is extremely thin soiled and has really really suffered.. It's been rested since this time last year and yet the grass is only a few centimetres in height even now..
Yes, equestrian land owners can do this stuff which will be a genuine investment in environmental protection. Water and disease will become so much bigger issues for all of us in the future so both saving water as well as preventing/mitigating flood water will be crucial as will biosecurity measures.

Last year our ground suffered from the dry weather and we struggled with very poor grass growth; it gave us a frightening taste of what could be. We were able to put loads of muck on over the winter though and this year the butt of our pasture is stronger and thicker than it has been for several years.

We only use organic stuff on our ground and have decent hedges as well as a winter 'yard' area with some poor/muddy turnout so the ground can be rested and mucked over winter. We also cross graze with cattle and sheep. It is much harder for livery yards though as people don't want to pay the true cost for good land management; many people can only afford to keep a horse at rock bottom prices so there are some pretty false expectations about the real cost of good land management. That will have to change I think but people could ask livery yard owners to plant trees/repair hedges with new planting or add muck and commit to pay a proportion of that. I am not a livery but have been previously and I think that could be a manageable change? For example £10 per year from 10 liveries would pay for quite a few young hedging plants at least. A 3 sided sqaure of hedgerow plants would make a great windbreak/shelter too and far more sustainable than cheap/poor quality field shelters possibly. Muck is a bit more logistically tricky and possibly more expensive.
 

palo1

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I am a mean tight fisted beggar at the bet of time I plant tree grown from cuttings in every space I can find, grow most of my jungle garden from cuttings or small plants. Maintain the grass and remove poo manually feed the ponies grass and grass products which as far as I am aware are just about carbon neutral dont feed soya or eat it I eat simply and if possible locally grown or from my garden. I have 50 years of stuff so probaly buy one rug a year in a different size wont be trying second hand stuff off the internet though as it is a total fail for me. I am very suspicious of being scammed and don't put myself out for it if possible. I like quality over quantity and rarely buy new clothes for me they are usually threadbare before they are replaced. Tried bamboo knickers they are ultra comfortable but are probably not good in terms of manufacture or transport. Again probably not good for the environment as production cost environmetally will be high but only wear cotton denim or wool or ancient clothes or passed down from my kids so think I do my bit I avoid plastic in packaging where I can and recycle everything that it is possible to do
I think tight fisted-ness and consumer caution will be good things for coping with the future @windandrain! Feeding UK grown grass and grass products is a good thing too and something many more people could do rather than feeding mixes or complete feeds which have some more exotic ingredients. That would also give consumers more of a sense of investment in the foodstuffs grown I reckon. The UK potentially has the right feed for almost every horse; oats, linseed, barley, grass, sugar beet, oat straw and even newer, fancier stuff like beetroot and whey protein.
 

Fransurrey

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Sorry, but the promotion of the idea that taking personal responsibility by buying a different brand or not buying a new rug will make any kind of difference is just the latest stalling tactic to avoid the government and big business making the changes that are needed.

Not saying it's not a good thing to buy better produced or more sustainable products, but it won't make any difference to the climate crisis at this point.

If you want to do something that will actually make a difference, vote for the Green Party. They don't need to win for that to change things, just look at UKIP.
Why not do both?
 

Celtic Fringe

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Interestingly the biggest climate impact for equine owners is transport, unless you keep your horses at home and don't travel them anywhere in a box or trailer.
The carbon hoofprint for 'leisure' horses kept at a yard, not at home, mostly comes from people driving to the stables - this amount is greater that that for feed, clothing, pasture management, bedding etc etc. 'Competition' horses can also rack up the miles travelling so their carbon hoofprints also tend to be fairly large.
So, if you want to make a difference keep your horse as close to home as possible; travel to your yard by bicycle or in a hybrid or electric car and share transport if possible.
I've had a couple of students (BSc and MSc) research this in the past few years. I can dig out the figures and post them if anyone is interested - off the top of my head it could be possible to 'save' the equivalent of 2-3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per horse per year. Also need to get round to publishing the results somewhere soon...........


(I would also say that the above does not exclude the need for excellent land management, thoughtful purchasing of feed, purchasing sustainable products etc etc).
 

palo1

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Interestingly the biggest climate impact for equine owners is transport, unless you keep your horses at home and don't travel them anywhere in a box or trailer.
The carbon hoofprint for 'leisure' horses kept at a yard, not at home, mostly comes from people driving to the stables - this amount is greater that that for feed, clothing, pasture management, bedding etc etc. 'Competition' horses can also rack up the miles travelling so their carbon hoofprints also tend to be fairly large.
So, if you want to make a difference keep your horse as close to home as possible; travel to your yard by bicycle or in a hybrid or electric car and share transport if possible.
I've had a couple of students (BSc and MSc) research this in the past few years. I can dig out the figures and post them if anyone is interested - off the top of my head it could be possible to 'save' the equivalent of 2-3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per horse per year. Also need to get round to publishing the results somewhere soon...........


(I would also say that the above does not exclude the need for excellent land management, thoughtful purchasing of feed, purchasing sustainable products etc etc).
That is really interesting stuff thankyou @Celtic Fringe. I would love to read that research :) I am not entirely surprised tbh though the issue of plastic and 'fast fashion' in equestrianism - for horse and rider lol, has been far more on my radar than travelling.

Has anyone considered the 10% challenge? It could apply to travel I reckon. The idea is to reduce everything you do (maybe other than recycling..hahahaha) by 10%. So for every 10 meat meals, go veggie, for every 10 items purchased, put 1 (or 10%) back etc.

It might be possible to car share or find an alternative to 1 in 10 journeys to the yard at least do you think?
 

paddy555

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I'm sure most horse owners would like to do their bit but I suspect that would not extend to getting rid of or even reducing the trailer/lorry. Same with flying and overseas holidays. I would guess far more savings than going back to canvas and jute rugs but no one is going to go for that are they? people want to help the environment and climate change just not when it affects them.
 

Winters100

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I'm sure most horse owners would like to do their bit but I suspect that would not extend to getting rid of or even reducing the trailer/lorry. Same with flying and overseas holidays. I would guess far more savings than going back to canvas and jute rugs but no one is going to go for that are they? people want to help the environment and climate change just not when it affects them.
Agree. And truthfully this is also how I am. I go to the horses every day, but if I really wanted to it could easily be every other day. They would not be as fit, but would it really matter? I am not a professional making my living from fit horses. Not everything would be done as I like, but the horses would be fine. The problem is that I am genuinely not willing to give up what is essentially an unnecessary leisure activity. I do grow veggies, buy local and cook a lot of vegan meals, but to make large improvements I would have to drastically cut our quality of life, and truthfully in this case I have to admit to being one of those who Paddy refers to, wanting to help, but not when it affects me.
 

Labaire

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I think I am doing pretty well-no transport, cycle to see ponies as much as possible when not at home-otherwise they are on way to/from work anyway. They don’t get posh feed, live out on moorland. Don’t do rugs and those I have I look after, I only wear natural fibres or as much as possible. My garden is completely rewilded 😉 and I am planting a hedgerow this autumn. I do have a breeches habit, even though I don’t do matchy matchy, I do love breeches-cotton ones. I have Stubbs water buckets but have had them since 2007.
 

little_critter

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I don’t buy new yard coats any more. They take a battering so I seek out 2nd hand walking jackets on eBay.
We are lucky in that there are several shops in town who supply refills for cleaning products, shampoo etc. When my horse shampoo runs out I’ll use refill human shampoo instead.
I moved my horses closer to home last month and can now cycle to the yard. I was stunned that popping to the yard twice a day, every day clocked up 10000 miles!
 

palo1

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Agree. And truthfully this is also how I am. I go to the horses every day, but if I really wanted to it could easily be every other day. They would not be as fit, but would it really matter? I am not a professional making my living from fit horses. Not everything would be done as I like, but the horses would be fine. The problem is that I am genuinely not willing to give up what is essentially an unnecessary leisure activity. I do grow veggies, buy local and cook a lot of vegan meals, but to make large improvements I would have to drastically cut our quality of life, and truthfully in this case I have to admit to being one of those who Paddy refers to, wanting to help, but not when it affects me.
Can you think of a 'challenge' or action that might be life enhancing as well as climate positive? What is the next thing you want to buy; could you do without it and instead spend time grooming or learning equine massage or could you buy top quality that will last and be a real pleasure to you?
 

palo1

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I don’t buy new yard coats any more. They take a battering so I seek out 2nd hand walking jackets on eBay.
We are lucky in that there are several shops in town who supply refills for cleaning products, shampoo etc. When my horse shampoo runs out I’ll use refill human shampoo instead.
I moved my horses closer to home last month and can now cycle to the yard. I was stunned that popping to the yard twice a day, every day clocked up 10000 miles!
Yes, that is shocking and fantastic you can do without all that wear and tear and fuel for your vehicle!!
 

palo1

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I think I am doing pretty well-no transport, cycle to see ponies as much as possible when not at home-otherwise they are on way to/from work anyway. They don’t get posh feed, live out on moorland. Don’t do rugs and those I have I look after, I only wear natural fibres or as much as possible. My garden is completely rewilded 😉 and I am planting a hedgerow this autumn. I do have a breeches habit, even though I don’t do matchy matchy, I do love breeches-cotton ones. I have Stubbs water buckets but have had them since 2007.
Sounds amazing! I think we are doing similar though my garden isn't rewilded deliberately lol! Plastic buckets are deffo something I need to find an alternative for so I will have a look at Stubbs if they last longer. Good tip!
 

palo1

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I'm sure most horse owners would like to do their bit but I suspect that would not extend to getting rid of or even reducing the trailer/lorry. Same with flying and overseas holidays. I would guess far more savings than going back to canvas and jute rugs but no one is going to go for that are they? people want to help the environment and climate change just not when it affects them.
I do think there are people who are willing to change their habits - but it is harder if you have plenty of money and a particular idea of how life should be.
 

Labaire

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Sounds amazing! I think we are doing similar though my garden isn't rewilded deliberately lol! Plastic buckets are deffo something I need to find an alternative for so I will have a look at Stubbs if they last longer. Good tip!
Oh mine isnt deliberately rewilded, I just hate mowing grass. stubbs buckets should last forever. And having grown up with a mother who embraced polyester forveverything, I always have loved wool and cotton.
 

paddy555

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I do think there are people who are willing to change their habits - but it is harder if you have plenty of money and a particular idea of how life should be.

I think if you started a thread along the lines of are you prepared to give up flying on holiday and not take your horse to clinics, shows etc etc the answers, if they were honest, may border on the negative.

I can honestly answer that I would as I have no horse transport and the last time I went on holiday I was 15. I doubt some others would though. You only have to look at some of the threads of where people are on holiday or should I get a 3.5 or a 7.5 or my horse won't load/travel etc.

People will make minor changes, different rug, s/h clothes, minor things that are not difficult to give up and they can proudly say how much they are contributing to climate change. However look at the motorways. They are jam packed full of leisure traffic, airport queues.
Then look at some of the real polluters. . We are a tiny country who are going to end up paying a lot in green taxes for what? Are some other countries going to be so diligent?

Rewilding the garden is great as long as you don't then have to play the game of "find the dog poo" :D
 

Winters100

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Can you think of a 'challenge' or action that might be life enhancing as well as climate positive? What is the next thing you want to buy; could you do without it and instead spend time grooming or learning equine massage or could you buy top quality that will last and be a real pleasure to you?
It is a good idea. I am time poor, so doing something like learning massage would not work for me, and I don't have anything in mind to buy (actually I am not too bad on that front, I really cannot think when I last bought an item of clothing for myself). I am thinking that our main areas for improvement are km driven and energy use in the house. I will bring it up with the family over supper tomorrow, but I am thinking that it would be possible to aim for a modest reduction, say 10%, in these areas.

I do struggle with this a bit though. I travelled a lot for work when I was younger, and now would be happy to never get on a plane again, but I also feel that just because this would not be a big sacrifice for me, I don't have the right to say that youngsters should not be able to enjoy the experiences that I had. I feel the same when I real about Greta Thunberg proudly claiming to have travelled around the US without cause for concern, because she hitched a ride on a racing boat. Fine, but that option is not open to most youngsters, and I would also question whether it is truly an environmentally friendly option given the number of people who will be transported on that boat during its useful life, and the manufacture of it, not to mention that everytime there is a crew change they probably have to fly to meet it.

Not an easy subject, and sadly no easy answer.
 

mariew

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Don't buy new stuff and think twice about whether you need to buy anything at all. Every time you are about to buy something, think about whether you really need it or just want it for whatever reason.

I'll buy jods, but any tops are taken from downgraded normal clothes.

Otherwise things like try to collect rainwater, use solar power. Don't drive to the yard. Only buy feed in paper bags.

It's only a little drop in the ocean though. We would probably be better off collectively campaigning retailers to reduce unnecessary packaging, use more environmentally friendly options where possible etc.
 

palo1

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Don't buy new stuff and think twice about whether you need to buy anything at all. Every time you are about to buy something, think about whether you really need it or just want it for whatever reason.

I'll buy jods, but any tops are taken from downgraded normal clothes.

Otherwise things like try to collect rainwater, use solar power. Don't drive to the yard. Only buy feed in paper bags.

It's only a little drop in the ocean though. We would probably be better off collectively campaigning retailers to reduce unnecessary packaging, use more environmentally friendly options where possible etc.
I think it would be fantastic if every HHO'er contacted their feed company of choice to ask for better packaging etc :)
 

palo1

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This is a really interesting article on the actions that actually make a difference - second to not having children, it seems like cars are the next biggest issue, so definitely adds credence to the idea that cutting down on the car journeys to the yard would make a big impact

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.th...t-to-fight-climate-change-have-fewer-children
Really interesting stuff. A great challenge for anyone then would be to reduce car trips. I have to say that as a result of COVID I now use my car so much less, having made some changes to our family logistics that have been maintained. It is brilliant :)

A 10% less challenge for car journeys could be interesting and really manageable ? I have found that once you start reducing car journeys you want to keep improving on that reduction so whilst 10% is not huge to start with, it is heading in the right direction.
 

Sussexbythesea

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I do 7,300 miles a year going to the yard and back twice a day as on DIY. Cycling 20 miles a day on top of caring for and riding them and working full time isn’t realistic. Before I got my dog I did cycle a bit during the summer but it’s a hideous ride because of the traffic and I can’t take the dog on my bike. The fuel savings would be great though never mind the carbon if I could somehow cut down.

I do try to recycle as much as possible and am gradually swapping to as much plastic free alternatives as I can. However I’ve just bought a horsebox although it is second hand…

The good news is that I haven’t produced any offspring and I travel abroad rarely and usually to see family who inconveniently live miles away or in other countries.
 

windand rain

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One thing I would like to know is if the countries interested in carbon neutral living can make a big enough impact to offset the industrial revolution in the far east, the willfull neglect of the Americans and the burning of rainforests for palm oil and soya. Not that I don't think we should try but some reading makes it seem a bit futile
 
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What these "holiday" things you speak of..??!! 🤔😳

I keep my horses relatively frugally already. I buy pretty much everything second hand, I find I can get nice quality second hand stuff for a similar price to brand new, but rubbish quality, stuff. I rarely buy new rugs but when I do I only buy 1200d tough ones that actually do the job. Wrecked rugs are harvested for their organs 🤣🤣 along with old leatherwork etc.
I buy as much feed in paper bags as possible and recycle plastic where possible.
Mine live out so I don't use bedding and the muck is done manually. No chemical sprays etc are used on the land and I try to buy natural rather than synthetic products for fly spray etc where possible.

I have 3 dogs, 8 Crested Geckos, 2 Giant rabbits, 2 Gerbils and 7 parrots as well as the horses...I recycle all toys by making new ones from bits of old ones. Enclosures and equipment is pretty much always bought second hand and I compost the feed/paper/bedding.
I make alot of my own dog, rabbit and parrot treats and feeds.

I'll be honest, I hadn't given huge amounts of thought to feed ingredients in terms of where the products come from..I will definitely look into this.
 

palo1

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One thing I would like to know is if the countries interested in carbon neutral living can make a big enough impact to offset the industrial revolution in the far east, the willfull neglect of the Americans and the burning of rainforests for palm oil and soya. Not that I don't think we should try but some reading makes it seem a bit futile
I think it can feel futile and overwhelming but we in the developed West are definitely part of the problem driving manufacturing and industrial development in the East as well as being trading partners, linked by global corporations etc so there are certainly ways 'in' to make an impact.
 

palo1

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What these "holiday" things you speak of..??!! 🤔😳

I keep my horses relatively frugally already. I buy pretty much everything second hand, I find I can get nice quality second hand stuff for a similar price to brand new, but rubbish quality, stuff. I rarely buy new rugs but when I do I only buy 1200d tough ones that actually do the job. Wrecked rugs are harvested for their organs 🤣🤣 along with old leatherwork etc.
I buy as much feed in paper bags as possible and recycle plastic where possible.
Mine live out so I don't use bedding and the muck is done manually. No chemical sprays etc are used on the land and I try to buy natural rather than synthetic products for fly spray etc where possible.

I have 3 dogs, 8 Crested Geckos, 2 Giant rabbits, 2 Gerbils and 7 parrots as well as the horses...I recycle all toys by making new ones from bits of old ones. Enclosures and equipment is pretty much always bought second hand and I compost the feed/paper/bedding.
I make alot of my own dog, rabbit and parrot treats and feeds.

I'll be honest, I hadn't given huge amounts of thought to feed ingredients in terms of where the products come from..I will definitely look into this.
We are similar in our habits! For me the things that really bother me are the amount of plastic involved in all kinds of equestrian products; feed sacks where they are not paper, tubs of supplements, the huge quantity of plastic in rugs, in packaging of clothing, production and packaging of synthetic material clothing and equine wear (tendon boots, over-reach boots, 'smart' material stuff, fleece rugs - the list is endless actually as well as for leatherwork, saddlepads, numnahs etc. I do my best to not buy stuff at all and then only to try to use companies that use natural materials and have better pacakaging but it's not easy. I think I will be trying to lobby those companies I use regularly to ask them to consider more sustainable alternatives. We don't have to travel to do our horses as they are at home but I am shocked at the info around the cost of daily travel more generally and that is something that needs thinking about. I haven't holidayed abroad for 17 years (not entirely by choice but increasingly so!). I will try to reduce my journeys in total by 10% I think but I will have to work out how to do that in practical terms.
 

Pearlsasinger

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That is really interesting stuff thankyou @Celtic Fringe. I would love to read that research :) I am not entirely surprised tbh though the issue of plastic and 'fast fashion' in equestrianism - for horse and rider lol, has been far more on my radar than travelling.

Has anyone considered the 10% challenge? It could apply to travel I reckon. The idea is to reduce everything you do (maybe other than recycling..hahahaha) by 10%. So for every 10 meat meals, go veggie, for every 10 items purchased, put 1 (or 10%) back etc.

It might be possible to car share or find an alternative to 1 in 10 journeys to the yard at least do you think?

I think we have to be very careful about taking at face value the claims that meat production causes more harmful emmissions than veg production. I don't have the figures to hand but it is my understanding that 100% grass-fed meat animals produce less methane than grain-fed ones, because it is a more natural diet. Much of the emissions in trading anything is produced by the travel involved, so buying locally produced 100% grass-fed meat can be more effective for climate protection than buying veg that has been imported via air-freight, even disregarding some of the questionable production methods for vegetarian foods based on soya and maize, where huge tracts of land are deforested to make space for crops.


My personal travel has dropped by far more than 10% during the pandemic. I worked from home for the 1st year and then retired, horses are at home and I have made far fewer jpourneys, to the point where I let my car battery flatten because I hadn't moved the car for a fortnight, last summer. That is one of the best arguments I can think of for allowing those who can to wfh. There is evidence that the ozone layer started to repair while most countires were in lockdown.
 
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