Camber Sands

URBAN ECO: Going Green Turned out to be Tiny

I love humans. My friends and family are mostly humans, so it’s upsetting to be told that we are destroying the planet.  

We get hoodwinked into buying expensive green alternatives, then told afterwards they are even worse because. Bombarded with alarmist headlines scaring us half to death as we go about our lives – then hit impenetrable bureaucracy when we try to make things better. 

Just see the reply my friend in UK got when she questioned Ryvita about their recent up-take of single use packaging.

Short version – ‘we’ve found a legal loop-hole and you can’t do anything about it.’
Contradiction presents itself everywhere.

My daughter went to school and was taught the importance of recycling, then got given mac n’cheese in a polystyrene container, with a single-use plastic fork. ‘We’ get told that plastics are choking our oceans, then are presented with various plastics every time we walk into any major supermarket, undermining the bigger message.

No wonder there is confusion, regarding the issue of ‘green.’ I’d say that most of us are unable to invent clean fuel for aeroplanes, but we could stick a plate over a bowl instead of using clingfilm ‘IF’ we were invested enough to think it mattered. 

I replied to WWF, who had sent out a survey asking their members for suggestions. Mine was to add a simple page to their site – ideas for ordinary people like me: small things we could easily start changing.

They sent back a link, inviting me to check out their ‘100% environmentally friendly family,’ along with a generic reply, which thanked me for my valued contribution. Me – told.

I pressed delete.

I was not in a position to sell both of our cars, or to stop flying back to see my family in England. I was fu*@d. Trapped in a box of shame (thankfully not covered with cling-film.) 

My friend Claire-Lise suggested I find a ‘going green for dummies,’ and what do you know? There was one.

But it was only available as a physical book, and the postal system here in Botswana is not straight forward, so I had one sent to my sister-in-law in England.

She told me when it arrived, and warned me that it would not easily fit in our suitcase. I thanked her for the heads up, as luggage issues had been the cause of many an argument with my husband.

‘So, where’s the book?’ I whispered furtively, when we arrived for Christmas.

She pointed at the fridge. It was a fridge magnet!

The teeny-tiny book had arrived in single use plastic, produced in china. Rant judgementally? I could. But I won’t, because perhaps this is a major part of our problem.

It is easier to moan than it is to find solutions to the mind-boggling contradictions surrounding us.

Start small I told myself like the fridge magnet.



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