I’ve been having a lot of conversations at work about being green. Mostly with people who slightly mock the concept of being overtly, or overly, environmentally friendly. Mostly with people who think I’m silly for cycling in the rain (but that’s another issue altogether). I feel in a minority there.
But most of the discussions aren’t actually about the concepts of waste, wastefulness, packaging, reuse of materials and consumerism. Most of the discussions are about “Carbon Footprints”, which I don’t really understand myself and which, to me, seem to be just marketing to make us feel good about buying a product or service. But I don’t actually get what it means to put a tonne of carbon dioxide into the air! In contrast, I DO get what it means to put a plastic bag in a landfill. It means that I’ve wasted some oil – a precious natural resource that will, one day pretty soon now, run out – in order to produce something that I’ve then discarded on a big heap and which will sit there being a plastic bag in the way, for a VERY long time.
Well, there aren’t many things that I don’t like about the lovely cottage that we’re staying in, but one thing that bugs me is that we can’t recycle. Everything is thrown in the bin (well, we’re going to take some stuff home with us too). This means that in 5 days we’ve produced about 2 times as much waste as we’d normally produce at home. It’s shocking how, without compost and recycling, it mounts up so quickly.
It’s expensive, and it sounds like hard work and lots of thinking. They declare it to be “a philosophy for life”. It’s a challenge to all of us. It’s a challenge to me! How much do I think about the waste that will be produced by an item that I buy? How often do I get lazy and throw something away because to take it home and recycle it would be too much hard work? Am I willing to pay a bit extra for something that’s locally sourced, recycled, or in “green” packaging?
One other thing that I wondered was, are we doing enough? That is are we DOING enough?
The Eden Project sells lots of books. Mostly books about being green and ethical. It’s good to read (or write!) an article or book about this kind of thing. It’s good to be inspired by the wonders of nature on display at the Eden Project and feel protective of our amazing planet. It’s good to read about how others are adopting this philosophy for life. It’s good to think and ask the questions.
But when we get to the supermarket, or need to travel somewhere nearby, or book a holiday, or are throwing something in the bin…when we have a choice to make a difference…what are we actually going to choose to do?