I was going to use an image of plastic waste at the top of this blog post but I know how important it is to look at and be around nature so here are some trees (courtesy of a walk into town last week when it was still ? sunny) to calm and sooth your nerves before the plastic images to follow!
So much in the news about plastics at the moment, huh? And so we all diligently stop using plastics straws, and tut under our breath at cafes and bars that still use them (we’re using up our stocks is the usual response, which I’m sure is true).
And the reusable coffee cup movement is really taking off – although it seems coffee everywhere has become more expensive so that they can afford to discount if you bring your own cup. Or am I just a cynic?
Yet I look around my house and the supermarket and the street gutters and I see plastic EVERYWHERE! How can cutting down my plastic straw habit change the world? It comes down to being and feeling personally responsible – that goes for my body’s health (and is one big reason I practice yoga) and the state of the planet. And whilst I can’t change lots of things, there are plenty I can.
It is depressing. But being depressed about it gets us nowhere. Linking to climate change, which is not an unrelated issue, recently the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued a report recommending that we need to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
And they are clear that although governments and big business need to play a huge role, it’s also (partly) down to the individual:
I think I need to be part of the solution. I need to accelerate my actions. Little ones and big ones. And as it says above, it could even be good for me. Win win.
On visiting the beach we take bags with to collect rubbish. The last time I did this we found little rubbish. Was almost disappointed!
But then I’m reminded that every little bit of plastic breaks down into even tinier bits of plastic in the sea, compromising the health of all sorts of tiny water loving mini beasts, and big ones too. And I’m pleased with my haul.
I also pick up rubbish when I’m out walking or running.
My middle daughter and I recently made our own beeswax food wrap – the blog Moral Fibres, one of my favourite blogs, has good instructions.
And finally I wanted to shout out to all those people out there who are not doing what everyone else is doing and are not having a house extension even though they sort of could and sort of think they should, or feel they ought to. It seems the thing to do.
Reasons: House is ‘too small’ with a growing family, extending would add value to the house, it makes financial sense, it will be an amazing ‘living space’ etc etc. And to be honest, all good reasons really.
But you can look at it a different way. We have decided, in our three bedroom modest terraced house, in which lives three children (one of whom is now considerably taller than me), my husband (who is considerably taller than all of us) and two cats, NOT to build an extension.
And we are being led by our strong values of enjoying what we have, being grateful for the bounty we already have, and minimising our impact on the environment. We live in a pretty large house bearing in mind some families have to share one room for living, sleeping, cooking. We don’t need more to be happy. In fact, arguably, we need less.
We also don’t want the financial burden of what will inevitably happen which is that we will overspend, putting more pressure on us to work harder and earn more just when we would rather be spending more time with our family and friends.
So we intend to try to tread lightly as we improve our house, not building a huge extension, but instead upgrading what we have, using local tradespeople to help us and as many pre-loved and ethically sourced items as possible.
There is also the not insignificant detail that we don’t have the appetite for the stress involved in a big extension. And I think that’s a fair factor to consider. A neighbour pointed out that friends of her divorced over their house improvements. Very sad. Each moment and minute and day of our life counts. And I love that we live in a society where we get to choose how we spend it.
If there was a moral to this blog, it would be this: What are your values? What things, actions, feelings and people are most important to you and are you ensuring that you are living your life every day in a way which supports and upholds those values?
Let’s always have fun on our travels through life but this doesn’t preclude taking responsibility for as many of our individual actions as possible.