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The UK's primary care sustainability network

What I save in carbon dioxide I might make up for in methane

6th September 2020

Dr Honey Smith

My bicycle journey to work has been massively enhanced by the discovery of Sustrans route 627 which takes me from Sheffield City Centre to a road very close to my practice. The path is much less steep and is lined with bushes laden with blackberries, which over the last few weeks have sustained me on my journey home. And I’ve got my eye on the sloe bushes, although I will need to be a little more patient to consume the rich sloe gin they will produce. On the days when I can’t cycle for some practical reason, our electric vehicle whispers its way to my workplace, but I am hoping that with the arrival of my Swytch conversion kit (which converts my non-powered bike to an e-bike for the times when I am under time pressure) even using the EV will be largely a thing of the past.

Between cycling and using the EV, I calculate that I am saving approximately 31.5kg of carbon dioxide a week from entering the atmosphere. That’s 1,450 kg over the 46 weeks of the year that I work. If I can move to using the bicycle (either e-bike or self-powered) completely, I will also avoid the particulate matter generated by the EV. Remote working for my teaching has also saved me a whole lot of sweating and time (although I was looking forward to trying Sustrans route 6 for my sessions in Rotherham).

Of course my family, with its pulse and vegetable- heavy diet might be making up in methane what we saved in carbon dioxide, but at least the calories haven’t passed through a cow first. And in case you are thinking that I am some kind of saint, I assure you that if chocolate could be grown in my garden I would probably have dedicated the whole area to it.