Budding environmentalist and army spouse Amanda Mason has earned the nickname ‘Greenpeace’ for her efforts to clean up Kinloss. We caught up with her to find out more about her embrace of Mother Earth…

My husband Ed and I have been lucky – this was my first move into a quarter and we’ve been here for six years, which is almost unheard of,” Amanda told us.

“We’ve seen many good friends come and go as well as many deployments for Ed. “We both love living here and most evenings we head down to the beach with our rescue dog, Bruce (pictured), and it’s through these walks that I started litter picking and where I earned my nickname, Greenpeace Mason amongst work colleagues.”

From small acorns

Amanda has been making minor alterations around her home, garden and general habits on the back of watching documentaries such as the BBC’s Blue Planet. “I believe it’s the small changes that we can all make that will have a big positive impact on the environment,” she says. “I don’t know the statistics but military families make up a reasonable proportion of the population so a combined effort could really make a difference.”

Amanda collects three pieces of plastic every time she walks on the beach. “This could be on any dog walk, not just on the beach,” she advises. “In the summer I am forever picking up bottles and food wrappers from around the estate. I feel we can all do a little bit to help. “We have a lot of open space on our estate and I’ve been pleased to see some trees being planted – we just need some bird boxes to put up on them.”

Amanda believes there’s lots of things we can do to attract wildlife to our gardens, even if we’re only living there for a short time.

“Introducing a bird box, bath and feeders are quick, easy and inexpensive things to do.

“If you build it, they will come,” she adds. “Planting a bee- or insect-friendly plant or making an insect hotel with your little ones all helps.

“Making hedgehog highways, which allow enough space in or under a fence to allow a hedgehog access to your garden for water and food, is also an easy step to take.”

Influencing others

By sharing posts on social media, Amanda hopes to spread the word.

“When I’ve made a plastic-free change, I tell my friends how well it’s gone – or not – in the hope of inspiring others.

“Friends have made positive changes, including my neighbour Donna, who planted a border of wildflowers.

“They were stunning and attracted so many bees and butterflies, so I’m following suit this year.”

Amanda is a contributor to a Yammer group with her work colleagues, which is generating a stream of green ideas.

“We discuss how we can better care for our environment such as reducing energy, rubbish and use of plastic,” she concludes. “We’ve had some great discussions around small changes that will have a big impact.”

If you’re still socially isolating at home as you read this or just inspired to do your bit, here are some of the small changes Amanda recommends, that might be worth trying:

  • Change to SMOL laundry capsules – they are better for the environment, contain no plastic and are cheaper
  • Plant lavender and other flowers to support bees and butterflies. This year I’m planting wildflower seeds too
  • Create a feeding station and water bath for birds
  • Reduce plastic consumption by moving to hair conditioner bars and soap bars
  • Source meat from a local farm shop, as well as eggs and vegetables – their veg is not wrapped in plastic. For some that will be costly, but I do feel making healthy choices can be beneficial, even if it’s just having one meat-free night a week
  • Replace baby wipes and cotton pads for makeup removal with cotton washable face pads
  • Use cloths instead of disposable cleaning wipes
  • Use Ecover washing up liquid, toilet and bathroom cleaner
  • Replace liquid hand soap bottles with soap bars
  • Use a local milkman, who delivers milk in glass bottles and collects to recycle
  • Move to cloth nappies
  • Use a menstrual cup
  • My move to use loose leaf tea was an epic fail – but it’s worth a try!

For more ideas, have a look at:

hydrophil.com – plastic free shop

mcsuk.org – marine conservation

smolproducts.com – eco-friendly laundry capsules

Facebook groups:

Wildlife friendly gardens

Sustainable living

Wildlife gardening forum

Sir David Attenborough

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