My Green Story: Rosi Jordon from Rickmansworth

21st April 2022


Across Three Rivers there are people making changes to their own lives in order to make a difference and help the fight against climate change. In a continuing series of interviews we meet Rosi Jordon from Rickmansworth, who has made a variety of changes to live a more sustainable life. She answers our questions and considers some of the easy and some of the not-so-easy changes she has made and the effect they have had on her family.

Why do you think you are passionate about living more sustainably?

I feel ashamed and guilty about the world we are passing on to our children and grandchildren and want to do everything I can to ensure that they are not faced with total devastation. This is really what drives me and keeps me motivated. My grandchildren are 4, 2 and 1 and I find it deeply upsetting to know that their lives will be very challenging in the future. My life has been very easy so far in comparison with what they will face.

What changes have you made to your daily life to live more sustainably?

We gave up eating meat about 18 months ago and only eat fish if it has been pole or line caught. This makes it much more expensive, so we don’t eat as much fish as we used to. We aren’t vegan, but we drink oat milk and mainly vegan spreads rather than butter. We do still eat cheese, but less often and as more of a treat. Vegan cheese is still fairly disgusting, in my opinion!

I’m now leasing an electric car and am really pleased with it. My fuel costs have gone down from about £60 a month to about £15, plus I don’t pay any road tax or congestion charge. The leasing company also fitted a charger for me free and gave me a year’s worth of free car insurance. We have kept my partner’s petrol car for long journeys as the infrastructure for charging points isn’t yet as good as we’d hoped, but I think that will improve quickly.

I walk a great deal more than I used to and also cycle, though not on busy roads. I would cycle more often if the cycle lanes were more readily available. I find cycling on busy roads quite frightening.

We applied for the Green Homes grant in 2020 and managed to get a third of our bill paid to add to the insulation in our loft. We are considering both solar panels and a heat pump in the future. We are definitely more careful about energy usage than we used to be and turn off lights and appliances much more often. We now tend to draw the curtains to keep the heat in which we never used to do.

We are careful with our use of water. I have a very shallow bath now instead of a much deeper one and my partner Andy times his shower to no more than four minutes.  We now have 5 water butts and use this water for all our garden needs. I’ve started trying to grow some of our own food and had success with onions, garlic, shallots and tomatoes in particular. I’m hoping to grow some fruit as well this year. We try to buy organic vegetables and fruit, plus try to avoid plastic packaging and choose loose products instead. However, sometimes we buy wonky vegetables and fruit in plastic because they are much better value. We eat mainly plant-based food and try to make the most of it ourselves, though not always. We compost all our fruit and veg peelings, adding cardboard etc. We also make use of our grey food caddy for occasional food that is no longer edible. We ignore best before dates completely!

How did you decide what you could do?

This just gradually evolved, as we learnt more about sustainability. I spoke to several friends to find out what they did. I also subscribe to Ethical Consumer which gives lots of very helpful info.

Is it difficult to make meaningful changes?

Yes, it can be. I want to move away from our high street bank to a more ethical alternative, but there’s a little part of me that is finding that hard to do. Not sure why. I know I will do this, but I’d like to hear about more people who have made the switch from a high street bank to other alternatives and find out their experiences. I need to find out how ethical the teachers’ pension is as I now receive a sum each month but I haven’t done this yet, again because it might take a lot of time. I would like to cycle more but the roads aren’t safe enough for me at present.

 What is the easiest thing anyone reading could do right now to make their life more sustainable / environmentally friendly?

It is easy to cut back on meat and maybe only have it twice a week rather than every day. Having oat milk rather than dairy milk delivered by the milkman is easy. So is making your own compost from veg, and fruit peelings etc. Only buying the food you need, having planned meals in advance, is easy and so is putting any food waste in the grey caddy.

 What has been the biggest challenge for you?

The biggest challenge is not coming across as judgemental when I’m talking to people who seem cynical about the benefits of sustainability and don’t even think there’s any point in doing anything at all. I try hard to respect other points of view, but this can be hard.

Do you think changes we make in our daily lives make a difference to the world?

Yes I do. I believe that we have to try and model best practice, rather than feel there’s no point. I really believe in the ripple effect. I think that as more and more people start living in a more sustainable way, this influences others to do their bit for the planet too. I believe this is called normative messaging and it makes sense to me. People like to feel that they’re behaving in a socially normal way, so nudging them in the right direction is a good thing to do.

Would you like to be doing more?

I’d like to be doing more cycling on safe roads, I’d like to be using buses more frequently now I have a free bus pass! I’d like to make some more adventurous veg or vegan meals

What are your future plans to make your life even more environmentally friendly?

More journeys in Europe or UK by train and car. I also want to re-wild some of my garden by turning some of the lawn into a wildflower area.

 Please give five top tips for living a greener life.

Make sure your expectations aren’t too high and be kind to yourself if you slip up occasionally. Talk to other people in your area and share ideas with them by joining organisations such as Sustainable Three Rivers.