Julia Hailes MBE

Sustainability Pioneer


I would have abandoned the idea of school if I hadn’t run out of oil. I’ve been lasting a year on one tank – and I lasted a bit too long. Of course it ran out over the weekend before the snow hit.

Actually the house wasn’t that much colder than normal. During the day I only have the heating on in my office anyway. But I really missed not having a hot bath (I generally share the bath water with the children!).

We took nearly half an hour clearing the drive. It was incredibly icy – but very beautiful. The lane wasn’t any better. My neighbouring farmer very kindly rescued us. Headed down hill thinking it was the better route.

One of my sons then declared that the drama was over but it wasn’t. We were in first or second gear going very slowly when I lost control of the car. It just slipped and started gathering speed. So I steered into the hedge. The car teetered on the brink of turning over but settled. We were shaken and stirred but not hurt.

Luckily there was a car behind. We were rescued for the second time that day. The chap inside was another neighbour and he had some friends with a tractor nearby. They pulled us both out of trouble – and we finally got to school.

Ironically the other highlight of my week has been the launch of a campaign called Chilling Facts, which I’ve been involved in.  The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) launched their survey ranking UK supermarkets on the global warming impacts of their refrigeration systems. The issue was covered by Radio 4’s Costing the Earth, amongst others, and we’ve already seen some response from the supermarkets. If you haven’t already sent a letter encouraging them to do more.

But I wondered if the chilling message about global warming might be getting lost amongst all the news about local cooling.

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