8 changes you can make on your yard right now, to impact climate change
Fires are raging in Australia. Wildlife is being wiped out by the millions and whole communities are losing their homes. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock over the Christmas period, chances are you’ve been following events down under with feelings of absolute sadness and helplessness.
We’ve been watching too. It’s got us thinking yet again, if we want to slow down the impact of climate change on the world around us, it has to start at home. Or more specifically, as we’re all horsey people here, on the yard.
If you’ve felt powerless, if you want to donate (we’ve listed some below and urge you donate directly to the cause if you want to give money), if you’ve decided that 2020 will be the year you make changes to reduce your carbon footprint, then we’re making it our mission to help.
We got the power.
Yep, as intelligent (mostly ;-) human beings, we do have the power to make changes in our lives that can help ensure fires on this scale become less likely in the future. And here’s the thing, you don’t have to make huge changes to make a difference.
We’ve been chatting to our sponsored riders and brand ambassadors to find out about the small changes they have made to reduce their carbon emissions and thought we'd gather them together and share the 8 things you can do on your yard from today too...
1. Save water
So easy to waste on the yard isn’t it, especially when it feels like we have water in abundance in this country! However water is one of our most precious resources and every drop we use has to be treated and pumped to reach our taps which uses up energy and contributes to our carbon emissions.
Both Steph Taylor (@stephtaylordressage) and Jasmine Harding-Heitzman (@jhhdressage) opt to use automatic water drinkers on their yards as “you’re not emptying buckets of water then refilling. You’re only using what they drink!”
If this isn’t an option for you, take a leaf out of Sophie’s (@riding_remington) book: “Currently I empty out, clean and refill the water buckets every day, even if there is still some water left. Instead of throwing away perfect drinking water I shall be topping up the water buckets with fresh water.”
2. Eat less meat.
This is something that all of the riders we asked to contribute were planning to do in 2020. Jasmine says “I have recently become vegetarian and am trying out a plant based diet. My reasons for this were not only to improve my own health but also to try and cut down the amount of animal deaths due to meat consumption.”
Becoming a vegetarian or vegan isn’t for everyone, but by picking just one or two days a week to go meat-free (check out Meat-free Monday’s for delicious recipe ideas!) will reduce your carbon impact. Steph says “I want to do AT LEAST one meat free meal a week. This is hard for me because I’m a massive meat fan but I know to make a difference I need to cut back my consumption!”
3. Do your research.
We’re all guilty of having those 3 or 4 bottles of horse shampoo or show shine shoved to the back of the cupboard, having decided it’s not the right one for our horse. Next time you need something, read the reviews, find out if it really does what it claims to! When you’ve bought it, use every single last drop! Don’t waste a thing. And if you can find a product that comes in recyclable, reusable or refillable packaging then even better!
4. Use your poop
It really gets in the way doesn’t it!? Over at Lizzie’s (@ponies_and_prosecco) yard her father in law takes old feed sacks of horse poo for his vegetable patch. “So it might be worth having a sign advertising free muck outside your yard.”
Steph reuses all of the manure generated on her yard by spreading it back onto the fields as a natural fertilizer in the spring.
5. Recycle at the yard
Yea we know, it’s an obvious one, but do you recycle at the yard as well as at home? Sophie says “I’m pretty good when it comes to sorting through the rubbish and deciding what can be recycled when I’m at home but very rarely does this get done at the stables. I’m going to make a conscious effort to have a look and see what can be recycled instead of just throwing everything into the bin.”
Make a more conscious decision when you buy things for your horse. Jasmine says “I am trying wherever possible to refrain from using non-recyclable plastic”. Olivia Oakeley (@oliviaoakeley) is taking action too: "I'm going to make sure that I'm buying products that can be refilled and from retailers who are aware of the environmental issues and are taking action to help (i.e. with the packaging)".
We’d recommend checking out our horsecare shop if you want to stick to recyclables this year ;-)
6. Find a new home for your supplement tubs
Have you ever added up the number you use and throw away in a year? Scary isn’t it, as the vast majority are sadly made from non-recyclable plastic. Take a leaf out of Lizzie’s book and find another use for them! “We reuse ours as tack cleaning containers, or storage tubs for the tack room and lorry”
If you’ve already exhausted that option, consider researching supplement companies that are using recyclable containers. We love The Little Feed Company and Feedmark’s Bespoke All-in-one which comes in refillable tubs.
7. Work together!
You’re not in this alone. If you’re trying to make positive changes, chances are your fellow horse-owners are too!
We all know about sorting out our recycling, but did you know there are companies that can recycle items that are probably not accepted by your local council rubbish collection? At Steph’s yard, her liveries all bring those ‘difficult to recycle’ items like coffee pods and crisp packets to the yard and these are then collected en masse by Terracycle. It might not be feasible individually, but as a group they’re saving hundreds of plastics from ending up in the general waste.
At Lizzies yard, she is “sharing schooling sessions whilst it’s dark to reduce the amount of time floodlights are used for. Plus it’s more fun and motivating riding with someone else too!
Lizzie recommends swapping matchy sets with friends once you’ve had enough of them, rather than letting them gather dust at the back of the tack room! Lizzie has also resolved to declutter and take her unwanted riding clothes to a charity shop…”Wherever possible I’m buying only sustainably sourced clothing this year”.
What do you think, will you be making any of these changes this year?
If you want to help with the relief efforts in Australia, we recommend donating direct to the charities that can provide help on the frontline, rather than via a third party. That way, the charity will receive every penny!
Charities we’d recommend: