Doing our bit, is it enough?
It’s been a long time since my last blog! I’ve been managing to post a bit on my facebook page but I have sadly neglected the blog. Anyway, I feel moved to write this week and here’s why.
There have been some truly shocking environmental headlines in recent weeks. The UN IPCC report stating we have 12 years to act to limit the catastrophic effects of climate change brought some difficult truths to many people’s attention. Read more here. This was followed by Riverford’s Guy Singh-Watson raising the argument that focusing on plastic pollution distracts from the most serious environmental issue that we face, that of climate change. Today, news from the WWF, estimating that since 1970 we have lost 60% of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish.
They were difficult articles to read. As a parent, I couldn’t help but calculate that my own children will not even be twenty in 12 years time. And we’re not talking 12 years to save the day, it’s 12 years to make it slightly less bad than it will otherwise be. I’m usually a very positive person. My glass is always half full; but I confess I had a hard week processing my feelings on those headlines. I felt hopeless, helpless, responsible and above all, wracked with guilt at bringing my kids into all this mess.
Making A Stand
This week I have followed with interest the actions of the group Extinction Rebellion. They call for civil disobedience to raise the profile of the issue, claiming that the political system has failed us. Today they held a Declaration Event in Parliament Square ahead of Rebellion Day on November 17th. The campaign is backed and endorsed by a string of high profile names including Rowan Williams, Caroline Lucas, Molly Scott Cato and George Monbiot.
You’re probably thinking “hang on, that’s a bit of a jump from composting and dishcloths,” and I would be the first to agree with you. Activism is not something I have ever dipped my toe into. The members of Extinction Rebellion are prepared to be arrested for their cause. As someone who has never even had a parking ticket, I’ll admit I feel a bit out of my depth. But I’m brought back to the fact that one day I’ll have to explain all this to my kids and I don’t want to have to admit that I didn’t give 100% to make their world a more secure place.
I’m reminded of a TED talk I once watched entitled “How to start a movement.” This talk raises the importance of the first followers. Those who are brave enough to endorse a leader who dares to be different, thus enabling their vision to become accepted more widely. I’ve also been comforted by this article, highlighting the influence of being the change you want to see.
So I’m not yet sure if my journey involves waving a placard. However, I have made some decisions this week in an effort to do more.
I’ve been a bad vegetarian for over 20 years. I still eat seafood and rarely bother to check the contents of foods for elements like gelatine. I’ve decided seafood will no longer be featuring on my shopping list. 46% of the Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of fishing gear. I don’t believe any species are sustainably fished these days. I no longer want that on my conscience.
I’m going to aim to be a greater influence in my place of work. Where there are possibities for more recycling or alternative materials I shall put myself forward to organise and facilitate for others. I believe educating our children about these issues is our biggest responsibility and my line of work obligates me to set an example.
I’m going to investigate how I can be more involved politically. I feel I need to do some research first though and make sure I find a group that really represents my points of view.
Finally, I’m going to review my transport arrangements and see if there’s any room for reduction. Plane travel is not really affordable to us right now so we can easily drop that. However, we are very reliant on our cars. I hope to explore if some of our journeys can be done in other ways, beit lift sharing, bike, or public transport.
Over to You
I hope my blog can also be a source of influence, even if the reach is small. What can you do to reduce your impact?
For further ideas on reducing your carbon footprint: