I was frantically scouring the shelves at The Crazy Store in Mowana Park when I bumped into my daughter’s P.E. teacher, Midge, looking similarly harassed. She and a friend were looking for creative ways to label bottles of wine for a 50th birthday party. ‘Large lettering,’ I suggested, tapping my reading glasses. They laughed and…
Ready Steady GO ECO!
My daughter got given a paper straw at The Splash Café. ‘Not plastic!’ I said, impressed. The owner (Neli) explained that she ‘hated plastic’ because Durban harbour was full of it, and all the seals had disappeared.
She went on to say that she could not get eco-friendly containers for love nor money.
My friend Mimi uses eco-friendly stuff in her cafes. (Number 1 Detectives Agency/Bean Bag Cafe.) She said she got it couriered in from SA, but suggested a local supplier worth trying.
Sure enough, it was possible to get boxes that could replace the polystyrene ones Neli hated, from a company called MW packaging.
Since asking questions, I was rapidly finding out how much people cared, but sourcing eco-friendly products took time, effort – and was financially prohibitive.
Eyes soon glazed over at the mention of landfill – it was too baffling, and life was too precious for impenetrable bureaucracy.
Which makes me wonder why the f#~* I got myself into this?
So far I had succeeded in ringing the WWF (and other institutions) more times than I cared to remember, lumbering myself with a large phone bill, and the paranoid feeling that WWF might have flagged me up as a ‘weirdo.’
There were ten tubes of Bonnie Bio cling wrap sitting in my kitchen.
A selection of samples from MW packaging, and a honey DNA Kit winging it’s way over from New York.
It was kind of like being on an episode of ‘Ready Steady Cook,’ where you get given random ingredients, and told to make dinner; except I’d accumulated random eco-related products, and an inner voice that was yelling ‘ready – steady – GO ECO!’ (Thankfully with no film crew in attendance.)
What I felt I lacked, was a snap-shot of official channels – so that people like Neli and I could find out how best to question what was being done about Durban Harbour? How to add our support/get support/subsidies/advice on being more eco-friendly?
I was not a crazy person. I could do this. I rang WWF, with a renewed sense of vigour.
They want me to give money. We do. Sign petitions. I do. Adopt an animal. We did. (Cuddly toy, tick.) Leave them something in my will? Hopefully not for a while.
I explain that I want to do more ‘because,’ the ideas I’d like to share, the questions I can’t find answers to. They implore me to email. Result: another generic reply that leaves me none the wiser. Emojis I cannot compete with – and the uncomfortable feeling that I am an outsider.
I was barking up the wrong tree, and I finally accepted it.
All any of us have is our life; our gift; our moment. And if something is making you feel that bad, you should stop doing it. But rather than sinking into apathy, I thought of a quote.
‘Pessimism is what preserves the status quo and optimism is what brings us forward.’ Boyan Slat
I put the cling-film for sale at The Honeycomb Hub, where I get a weekly vegetable box, along with free range eggs – and we started sharing ideas and contacts. It felt amazing.