WHEN it is your profession to tell others how to live a greener lifestyle you can run the risk of having your own choices scrutinised.
For example, people question why Green Party runner up Pippa Bartolotti drives a jag or how Zac Goldsmith justified his non-dom status.
However, despite some thorough questioning from energy efficiency specialists The Eco Experts, Steve Malkin, CEO of Planet Positive, puts forward a good example of a man who practises what he preaches after he swapped the city for a self-sufficient smallholding in East Sussex with his wife, sons, and a wide variety of livestock.
The 46-year-old said: “My wife, Ros and I lived in London for a while but decided to move out to the countryside so we could raise our family and try and live as carbon neutral a life as possible. Now we have a smallholding with about five acres of land. We have Manx Loghton sheep, pigs, chickens and we grow our own veg which we swap with our neighbours until we get what we want.”
However, there is more to his farm than simply re-enacting the Good Life, Steve is serious about reducing his carbon footprint and has put in place as many energy saving methods as possible.
He said: “A lot of the materials like the wood we use is all reclaimed, I also had a condensing boiler installed. We did look at solar panels, but decided the feed-in-tariff wasn’t appealing enough for us.
“Of course there are a lot of hard decisions to make, should I make my son cycle down a narrow country lane or drive him to school? Or how can we bring up a baby in an environmentally friendly was as possible? Luckily the whole family have taken it on board and the boys all help out with bits they can.”
For Steve, there is one necessity he cannot give up, his commute. He travels 90 minutes to Blackfriars in London every day to ensure the smooth running of Planet Positive, a green consultancy he set up in 2005.
The business assesses how other companies run, and helps them make changes to cut their energy bills and environmental footprints. If they can show notable improvement they are awarded with Sustainable Business Certification.
Steve added: “The nicest thing about coming back home from work is knowing I will be eating food I have grown or played a part in growing. The farming community has been absolutely amazing we didn’t know what we were doing when we first started and we certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it without them.”
Guest post by Lima Curtis.