Striking Out

I usually blog about books and TV shows, films and climate change. Today, however, I wanted to write about something a little bit more personal. My wish to take Strike Action tomorrow.

I cannot remember the last time we were driven to consider striking but this year many unions have decided to take this action due to lots of factors, including workload and pay conditions.

Why Am I Striking?

I know that in education we have seen our workload triple over the past decade. We drown in lots of unnecessary paperwork and admin. We all know that red tape has grown and bogged us down. Our work day is roughly 8:00 till 17:00 but when we come home we switch on our laptops and do another 2-3 hours of admin work every evening.

I hear people saying that teachers are lazy and have lots of holidays but the daily stress and responsibility is enormous. Many people go home from work and forget about it pretty much but we have so many things to plan, coordinate, remember and generally stress about each night and throughout the weekend.

So Why Strike?

Yes it is disruptive and no I would not normally get involved but there is plenty of evidence to show that salaries have plummeted as inflation has risen. We are literally struggling to pay our bills. I now believe strike action is required.

Source: ONS and the Times via @danielkebedeneu

We Need To Stick Together!

I was recently convinced to join the NEU strike because my own bills are increasing rapidly. Yet our pay has not risen in line with this. To add to this, we were made to work in 41 degree temperatures last summer. This was incredibly stifling without air conditioning. A difficult teaching environment.

These two facts led to me signing YES on the NEU ballot.

I feel that our profession is not respected like it used to be and our work is piling up. Teachers are leaving in droves and we are forever having to plan and cover for others as long term sickness and vacancies make us unbearably short staffed.

In A Nutshell

To me it feels like schools are driving talented people away. Other European countries pay more competitive wages and have better work-life balances. Sorry for the political rant but I just wanted to say why it is so important to me. I feel we need to take strike action to provoke change.

For a previous article about climate change, have a read of this. Please also consider following my blog for lifestyle content and book/ TV/ film reviews.

6 Quick Eco Fixes

I chose a picture of Scotland as this is where COP26 took place; where urban areas and mountains are next to each other.

Now that the COP26 climate summit is over, I felt that the momentum has slowed down regarding climate change in the media. Therefore this post is a quick reminder of the simple changes you can make to help us become more sustainable and stave off global warming.

1) Make an effort to walk or cycle more. Even if it is just swapping one journey a week, it will make a difference. Can you manage getting up ten minutes earlier and walking to work or school instead of getting the car out? Walking not only is good for reducing pollution, it also wakes your body up properly ready to focus on work.

2) Have a meat-free day every week. It is easy and fun to come up with or follow vegetable-centred recipes. I have recently started to have more vegetables in my main meals, choosing vegetable lasagnes and pasta dishes over my traditional chicken or bacon meals.

3) Make time for educating yourself about climate change. Check out one of the many documentaries which are informative and thought-provoking. Greta Thunberg has a few programmes on the BBC iPlayer and Netflix has ‘Our Planet’ or ‘Cowspiracy.’

4) Clean and recycle waste products. Just because your yoghurt pot is dirty, don’t pop it into your normal household waste. Rinse it and recycle it. Recycling centres often reject unclean items so a quick rinse makes a difference.

5) Plan a holiday involving rail or sea. Try and swap your next jet-set trip for one using the rail, or even using a ferry or ship. Planes are the ultimate polluters and taking time to find alternative ways to travel is really important. For me, Eurostar is the key for trips to Europe.

6) When keeping fit, avoid cars. So many people drive somewhere to go for a walk or cycle. Rather than driving to the gym or taking your pet in your car to a park, find a closer alternative. Try home workouts or walking to the gym. Go for a run around your block. It sounds silly but so many car miles are taken up getting to a leisure venue in preparation for fitness activities.

Sorry if I am sounding as though I am saying obvious things but we have to do as much as we can to make changes. Let’s face it, our governments are nodding their heads but facilitating very little actual change. If you want more thoughts about climate change, check out this blog post.

8 Ecofriendly Things You Can Do Now

We need to discuss climate change and work together to solve it.

As we reach the middle of Blogtober there is no better time to draw attention to climate change. The Climate Summit is about to begin in Glasgow and I want to see lots of blogs encourage readers to think long and hard about this important matter.

I wanted to suggest some simple changes that you can make to your everyday life. Increasingly I try hard to make changes myself. Some are small and others big. It takes effort and we all have so much to do if we really stand any chance of undoing the climate damage already done.

8 Changes You Can Make Right Now

I wonder how many of these changes you might be willing to make.

1) Have a shorter shower. Instead of spending fifteen minutes in the shower, try to do it in five. Saving water and using it appropriately is one small way to show an ecofriendly attitude to your life.

2) Walk to your local shops twice a week instead of driving to out of town retail centres. By buying local you are supporting small businesses as well as reducing your vehicle usage. You are also getting some exercise and fresh air.

3) Encourage your children to walk or cycle to school instead of driving them there. Having studied this particular aspect of transport I could write a whole article just about this.

More people walking to school and work would make the streets feel safer and reduce the pollution and road traffic accidents which relate to local vehicle use at peak time.

4) Add more plants to your garden. We are losing our wildlife rapidly, as highlighted on today’s national news. By planting a small tree, some shrubs and a few extra plants, you can help to green up your locality. Even better, perhaps have a go at creating a vegetable patch.

5) Change your holiday plans. Swap one of your aeroplane getaways for one that you get to by rail or sea. I started doing this in 2014 and haven’t looked back. Also take the opportunity to explore your own wonderful country. I still have so many places I want to visit in Scotland and Wales.

6) Ignore fast fashion trends. Consider wearing clothes until they are worn out or repairing them as they fray. The fashion industry uses a lot of energy and creates a lot of waste.

The industry works on seasons and introduces new selections regularly. We need to resist buying clothes just for the sake of it or for the sake of being ‘on trend’. Being sensible and repairing clothes should be the new ‘trendy’.

7) Get your home insulated and turn down your heating by 2 degrees. Make sure you are wrapped up instead. A sweater on and plenty of throws around the house should enable you to lower your heating output. This is especially relevant during our current energy shortage in the UK.

8) Find out more about climate change because knowledge is power. Discuss the issues with your families and make it an ongoing conversation. The more we talk about global warming, the more likely it is that we will find ways to solve it.

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