For me, opting for a sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle was a no-brainer. There were no “ifs” or “buts”, no question about convenience and I certainly never thought that my actions were futile. It was black and white; this planet provides for us so we should treat it with respect and gratitude.
In my family it was incredibly normal to reduce, reuse, recycle. Meals were cooked from scratch and none of the byproducts were wasted. Anything edible was eaten and the rest was composted in our rustic, straightforward compost heap at the back of the garden. Cans, plastic bottles and containers were thoroughly cleaned and either repurposed or recycled. We still produced trash that would go to landfills but it was obvious on rubbish collection day that our recycling bin contained more than the good ol’ black rubbish bags that were tossed out on the curb each week. This was the norm for me and my younger, naive self believed that everyone lived this way. Boy was I in for a shock.
My passion for this subject grew the more I noticed just how not normal it was. All of a sudden I was looking through a triangle shaped lens, noticing when someone put something recyclable or compostable in a refuse bin, driving a distance that could have easily been walked or just being generally ignorant towards the carbon footprint they are leaving. Inside my frustration snowballed. Why couldn’t these people see the impact they were having on this planet? How are they not aware of the consequences? Do they not even feel remotely guilty? I couldn’t even comprehend how people could just turn a blind eye, even when the facts were slapping them right in the face. On reflection, I realised that while my interest in this increased because it was something I valued, I only had this understanding because of the example my parents set so it was time I adopted the stance of leading by example; with underlying tones of wanting to scream in peoples faces.
When I went flatting I tried to implement sustainability as much as possible but my flatmates weren’t interested. They still loved the so-called convenience of Gladwrap (seriously, what the hell is convenient about Gladwrap?) and sorting the trash into three separate bins was such an arduous task. Thankfully I was struck by slight insanity and would go out and sort the rubbish accordingly. They still preferred buying prepackaged meals that you simply zap in the microwave over taking 30 minutes to cook it on the stove. I somewhat silently went around trying to pick up after them so my conscience could rest but still they kept rigid in their ways. I was still happy with my efforts in living this lifestyle (okay I don’t want to call it a lifestyle anymore, it should simply just be life) but my vexation towards people who couldn’t see the truth kept on boiling under my skin.
I believe strongly in that we can only control our actions and even if what we stand for is clear as day, there are always going to be people who will not believe and will never change. I also believe strongly in the wisdom of a rattlesnake, I will give you a warning of what will cause me to bite, and if you choose to ignore that warning, then I will bite. This rattlesnake wisdom I think fits perfectly with climate change. Over the decades scientists and “radical” speakers have preached about the impact that our lifestyle is having on the planet and we are running out of time and resources. These weren’t just conspiracies passed on by madmen, they were backed up by hard facts. But still people chose to ignore the warning, they carried on their ways thinking this was all bullshit, or they believed to a certain extent but thought, “I’m only one person, surely the actions of one person can’t contribute to a global catastrophe” turning a blind eye to the fact that there was more than one person sharing these thoughts. And now the rattlesnake has delivered its bite. And it’s fatal.
We are now faced with an epidemic. The IPCC has released a statement saying by 2030 the planet will have reached critical in terms of global warming and will have catastrophic effects on the planet. All of this is covered in the report ‘Global Warming of 1.5º’. Basically, we’ve fucked up and if we don’t change RIGHT NOW, then there is no future. It is time to make a bloody change. Take responsibility for your actions and face the hard truths that we were idiots. Already I’m seeing posts about needing to stop putting the blame on individuals when we are aware of which organisations and industries are the main cause of greenhouse gas emissions but playing the blame game is just as bad as saying climate change doesn’t exist. We ALL have to make changes and our changes will influence the “bad guys” to make changes too. Yes, you are just one person and your contribution to climate change is minute, but there are 7 billion other people all contributing a tiny piece of pie, and let me tell you, 7 billion pieces of pie is one fucking massive pie. So now you are making changes in your own life to make a difference and save this planet, but still the big corporations are pouring billions of tonnes of rubbish and pollution into our planet and atmosphere so how did I change that? You vote. And I don’t mean in the general election for a new politician. You vote with our most powerful resource. You vote with your dollar. These “evil” corporations won’t change their way because what they are doing makes them an astronomical amount of money. But if we stop buying what they are selling, their only worth slowly diminishes until they are forced to either shut down or change their ways. THIS is how we make a change. We grab them by the balls and we don’t let go until we’ve drained them completely (gross mental image I know).
Now since I have dragged on for what seems like an eternity, ironically something we don’t have, I’m going to end this here but I plan on making separate posts on what I’ve talked about in more detail but less angry and hopefully more palatable. I’m going to share my knowledge on this topic and in the simplest way give you ideas on things you can do that will make a change. This planet has given us life, let’s not disrespect that by destroying it and in turn, life will continue. And if that’s not enough for you, then the end of the world can’t come soon enough.