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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

STOP PRESS - Scheherezade Goldsmith chat cancelled!

(335 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 18-Jun-08 11:54:30

Hi folks,
We’ve just heard that due to unforseen cirmcumstances Sheherazade Goldsmith is unable to come on for a live web chat this afternoon. We do apologise to those of you who were looking forward to taking part. Sheherazade has answered many of your questions however and her answers are posted below.

Is organic life about saving the planet or about feeling good and living the dream?

It’s about neither. Organic life is a way of looking after yourself and your children. Ensuring that what they are eating, playing with and living around is as safe as it can possibly be. As a mother, the fact that it also helps to look after a planet they will one day inherit is a bonus.

By zippitippitoes on Fri 13-Jun-08 13:18:10 in your view what would be the most eco way to spend a week on holiday?

Some of my favorite holidays are spent by the sea in the south west of England (which I will often travel to by train). Many people associate holidays with traveling half way across the globe, but with small kids it can turn out to be more hassle than it’s worth. It is true to say that children love the seaside, but they generally tend to be much more tolerant of bad or cold weather than us……..Their enjoyment comes from being outdoors and feeling unrestricted – they don’t mind if the beach has white sand or pebbles in the same way that they don’t care if the sea is grey or turquoise.

By Anchovy on Fri 13-Jun-08 13:42:08

Have you calculated your carbon footprint? How does it compare to, say, a similar-sized family living in an urban area? (Would be genuinely interested in that - I have a sneaky suspicion that living responsibly in an urban area is probably a more "eco" approach, where a lot of journeys can be done on foot or by public transport, etc)._

I have to admit that I haven’t calculated my carbon footprint. My approach to living an environmentally friendly lifestyle has always been a practical one. I do as much as I can, because I believe in all the benefits it brings, and try not too get too bogged down with guilt about the things I don’t do. For me being environmentally aware, simply means changing the things you can change, such as using energy efficient products, be it light bulbs, washing machines or solar panels, eating seasonally and sourcing locally grown food were possible, travelling responsibly and trying to recycle whatever you can. All of these things tend to have a double benefit – economically and environmentally

By Anchovy on Fri 13-Jun-08 14:44:31

How many flights do you take a year? Assuming you do fly, what criteria do you use for deciding whether the flight is necessary?__What are your best "eco" tips (I am unfeasibly proud of my blackberry being charged by solar power ) and what are areas in your life that you acknowledge still need work on?

I will probably fly once a year. If I can get to a destination within 24 hours by train (which includes a vast majority of areas around Europe), than I will take a train. But I don’t tend to travel that much, as I am fortunate enough to have a second home in Devon.

My best eco tips are generally about considering the way you consume – in other words, just considering a few simple questions before making a purchase ie thinking about where something has come from; how it was made – what sort of chemicals might have been used; who made it and were they treated fairly; how long will it last for; can you recycle it or will it just end up in a landfill site?

Many of these questions can be answered simply by using common sense – it is clear that one product claiming that ‘it can kill everything dead’ and carries a health hazard warning is going to have some pretty nasty stuff in it, likewise a packet of ready-made chicken nuggets that only actually have 20% meat in them is not going to be great.

My weakest area is definitely clothes – I have as yet to get as excited about an organic label as I am about something from Topshop….having said that organic cotton clothing essentials such as T-shirts, pants and socks are as good as any.

By BeauLocks on Fri 13-Jun-08 15:18:58

What is an "eco mum"?__How do you become an "eco mum"?__Who decides if you're an "eco mum"?__Do you wake up one morning and think "I know, I think I'll become an eco mum"?__Is there a register of "eco mums"?__

“Eco mum” is a label other people have given me not one I have given myself. When you start to consider the options, being an environmentally friendly mother, sort of comes naturally. Out of choice, no one would choose to feed their child food which may potentially have been sprayed with chemicals, nor would they give their children a Christmas present that has been made using child labour. Saving energy in your house, just makes economic sense and recycling is just about reforming a habit. Being an ‘eco mum’ is not about completely changing your lifestyle or giving up those things that make life easier and pleasurable, it is simply about considering the wider impact of the way you live and reconsidering the habits we have.

By buntinglicious on Fri 13-Jun-08 13:27:50 I am a part time working mum to a 1 year old. I live in a 1st floor flat with no garden (and no window sills). We are short on money, are desperately trying to budget our food shop, don't go on holiday, mostly buy second hand stuff (clothes, baby toys etc.), recycle where possible (plastic bottles, paper, card, glass, tins) don't have anywhere to put compost, living in rented accommodation in an old building(so fundamental house changes are impossible).__What realistic changes could I make in my life to become more eco friendly?

It sounds like your pretty eco friendly already. But there are a few things you could consider. Using energy efficient light bulbs in house will help save you money and will help save energy. I read somewhere that if every household in the UK used just 3 energy efficient light bulbs a year, it would save enough energy to light all the streets in the UK. Putting aluminium covered large pieces of cardboard behind your radiators, will help reflect any heat back into the room, saving you up to £10 per radiator per year or turning down your thermostat by 1% can help save as much as 10% on your gas bill.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recently proved that buying organic, locally sourced (produced in the UK) loose ingredients were less expensive than a ready made frozen meal – and cooking is often less time consuming than you would imagine. Being environmentally aware, which you clearly are, is already a step further than most. As individuals it’s easy to feel that our small token efforts are not enough, but the truth is that collectively they can make a massive difference.

By Issy on Fri 13-Jun-08 15:55:53

I'm sorry that I won't be here for Wednesday's chat, but questions that pop into my mind are:__1. What was the basis and extent of your research into the ecological effectiveness of each of your ideas?__2. Based on 2. above, are the projects in your book ranked in terms of their ecological effectiveness? And what is the ecological effectiveness of those projects in your book which could actually be undertaken by the average flat-dwelling, time and/or cash poor urbanite (particularly when discounted against the ecological impact of the production and distribution of the book)?__3. Without wishing to be intrusive upon your personal life, could you explain the duration and depth of your pesonal commitment to green issues, including around key areas such as cutting down airmiles?__4. Is your book printed on recycled paper?__5. Setting aside the big stuff like the Kyoto protocol, what do you think is the single most ecologically effective project or change in behaviour the average UK citizen can undertake? Personally I think it may be stop flying, but, given my ice-cap melting business travel schedule, I hope I'm wrong.

What a lot of very serious questions, I will do my best to answer them, but have to say don’t think my book was as well thought out as your questions!

The projects in Slice of Organic Life, are projects that I have tried at home and enjoyed doing. Their ecological factor simply comes from not using chemicals, and letting nature get on with it.

The whole of the first part of the book is filled with ideas for flat dwellers, as well as advice on what to look out for as a consumer.

The ecological production costs of the book, I assume will be fairly high, but if it has helped to inspire a few people to rethink the way they approach their daily lives than it will have been worth it. I don’t believe that you have to be a purist to care about the environment, just be part of a collective effort for a more positive environmental impact. The whole point of the book was to show people how easy and accessible it is to make a positive impact without feeling guilty about the things you don’t do.

My commitment to the environment started nine years ago, when I became pregnant with my first child and will last for as long as I have children – and I hope, one day grandchildren, so with any luck, a life time.

The book, like a lot of books today, was printed on partially recycled paper.

I think the most effective change people can make in the UK would be to consume less. Whether it be food, clothes, gadgets, toys, furnishings, traveling, we are all guilty of over consumption and the way we consume has a massive environmental impact.

By asking yourself a few simple questions before you purchase anything you can end up making your choice a positive one. Where has it come from and how was it made? Who made it? How long will it last and can it be recycled? Was it made using chemicals or did it have to travel long distances?

By johnso on Sun 15-Jun-08 12:03:24

I love organic food but can't afford it. How can we make it more affordable?

The only way organic food would become more affordable is if the demand increased. The perception is that organic food is the most expensive food you can buy but, as Hugh Fearnley-Witthingstall recently proved buying individual organic ingredients actually works out cheaper than buying a ready made meal.

cremolafoam Fri 20-Jun-08 17:32:28

definitely gok
huge fearnly- eatitall
betty boothroyd - want to ask her about her tiller girl days
dr pamela connolly

littlemissbossy Thu 19-Jun-08 22:50:12

Another vote for Martin Lewis - in light of the current economic climate I think he'd be a good guest

WilfSell Thu 19-Jun-08 22:49:03

I've just seen Will Hutton speak today. Clever and strangely sexy. Methinks we need him on to explain all things economic and worky to us. He was very excellently deferring to his vv clever female assistant.

Let's have him on please?

UnquietDad Thu 19-Jun-08 22:48:27

That's three calls for Martin Lewis now!

sallystrawberry Thu 19-Jun-08 22:24:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hatwoman Thu 19-Jun-08 22:15:11

David Attenborough (I'm really not sure that's spelled right...)

MadamePlatypus Thu 19-Jun-08 16:26:24

I love Alvin. I have a signed copy of one of his books.

DarthVader Thu 19-Jun-08 14:27:20

Basil Brush doesn't need to be able to type, just to dictate, surely? Don't tell me the live webchatter celebs do their own typing hmm

katierocket Thu 19-Jun-08 13:41:24

ooo, Alvin, of course, why didn't I think of him. Brilliant.

sis Thu 19-Jun-08 12:36:18

Oooh! was Alvin on the cards anyway or was my suggestion the prompt? Please let it be the latter!

hanaflower Thu 19-Jun-08 10:50:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EffiePerine Thu 19-Jun-08 10:48:45

Desmond Morris sounds fab

CountessDracula Thu 19-Jun-08 10:47:11

what a big wuss

bundle Thu 19-Jun-08 10:45:13

of course Alvin he's fab smile

still want Justine's MIL wink

hadn't realised that about Bev

Basil Brush could double up with Boris..

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 19-Jun-08 10:44:43

Great conspiracy theory too by the way - if only we were that clever grin.

carriemumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 19-Jun-08 10:43:15

Thanks for all the suggestions - please keep them coming and we'll try to keep up.

A quick update on a few names

Alvin Hall will be coming on to talk money in the next couple of months and we've also got Desmond Morris booked, who should be fun

Beverley Hughes has already done a live chat and we're not sure she'd be too keen on coming back.....

On Mac D's - they approached us and offered their new man to talk about their new menu and image. We approached you and after much robust debate (involving everything from threats of resignations and anxieties about litigation) the decision was to say no on this occasion.

We have some concern that Basil Brush's typing may not be speedy enough to keep up with you all, but we promise, of course, to look into it grin

UnquietDad Thu 19-Jun-08 10:04:43

Only if he brings Little Ticker, Mr Roy and Dirty Gertie.

DarthVader Thu 19-Jun-08 07:56:14

Another vote for Basil Brush

tigermoth Thu 19-Jun-08 06:49:44

lol@ at the way this thread is going! All these name suggestions should keep MNHQ busy for years.

What a delicious thought that MNHQ started that thread in retaliation to something - my sensible head tells me they didn't but still....

Also, getting away from celebs, I'd like to see MD's of our favourite (or unfavourite) companies and shops put under the spotlight.

AitchNunsnet Wed 18-Jun-08 23:14:57

shami was disappointingly giggly on hignfy, imo.

pinkteddy Wed 18-Jun-08 23:03:00

another vote for Shami Chakrabarti.

2sugarsagain Wed 18-Jun-08 22:27:13

My vote goes to Basil Brush.

2sugarsagain Wed 18-Jun-08 22:25:34

Damn. I soooooooooo wanted to ask her if she'd ever considered changing her name.

Tinker Wed 18-Jun-08 22:24:40

Don't think so Marina. She looks a bit like Penelope Leach (who I like) but seems to be a smacker

(Ignoring any more Tori talk. She had a boyfriend called Wolf for god's sake.)

NotDoingTheHousework Wed 18-Jun-08 22:20:28

Message withdrawn

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