Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Greener Henley: Kris Samyui-Adams

Greener Henley: Kris Samyui-Adams

Kris Samyui-Adams, 43, is a creative director who lives in Henley with his wife Julia and daughter Olivia

AS someone who has loved owning and driving some of the cars from the last few decades for their quirkiness, performance and engineering, the initial thought of moving to a “boring” electric one has been quite a bitter pill for me to swallow.

There does, however, seem to be a trend for people to convert classic cars to electric, which sounds interesting, and the more I read, the more I’m warming to electric power. You often hear how people find the experience of cutting their carbon footprint addictive — I think I may have found my addiction.

The price of an electric car that meets all our family needs simply makes one unaffordable to us, so my current strategy is simply to use our current cars as little as possible and make sure I’m not idling at lights or in traffic.

Working in London means I take the train, using my fold-up bike for the bit either end of the rail

If I need to pop into Henley town I go on a bike or walk, both of which are usually faster than taking the car anyway, given the traffic.

I’m now using the car no more than once or twice a week.

My dad, an electronics engineer, often used to buy things that needed fixing rather than buying new, so I grew up with this mentality.

On my seventh birthday I was given a second hand bike and a set of tools and my dad and I fixed up the bike, which became one of my most treasured possessions.

I’m more than comfortable with reuse and repair; what is a little more challenging for me is refusing things in the first place.

One thing I’ve never done until recently, however, is buy second hand clothes. I’ve always followed fashion, badly admittedly.

It has been interesting recently to see how the market is changing to keep pace with the challenges of climate change. Seeing a premium jeans brand offering free repairs and opening up a second hand store
reselling traded-in pairs of jeans created a big mindshift in me and since then the majority of my clothes have been bought second hand or repaired.

Clothes swaps are beginning to catch on now so I’ve started holding back some of my better items to swap rather than sell on eBay. The fashion industry as a whole is one of the greatest offenders when it comes to carbon emissions — more so than aviation by a huge margin — so doing more in this area for me seems like a worthy challenge to take on.

The next thing on my radar to change is cutting down on plastics used in sports, both clothing and equipment.

The only way I foresee this can be achieved at the moment is to approach sports bodies and businesses to tackle the issue at the core.

Brands within more environmentally aware sports like surfing have started looking at biodegradable materials for wetsuits and the like, but there is a long way to go. Just like the rest of us, businesses are still learning but we need to let them know change is needed more quickly.

I had a conversation about a Daimler app — drivers log into trucks with it and it knows when it can cut the engines off going uphill without losing too much speed and still get to the top.

This led me to thinking that whenever I see red lights ahead I cut the engine and coast up in neutral. Also, when you cut your engine you hear others do it too — it’s infectious.

I’ve always liked the idea of payment in kind, exchanging skills rather than money for doing things, so being able to translate that behaviour into something that helps cut my carbon footprint has come as a pleasant challenge.

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