One small step for man....
The trend is on to be more environmentally friendly. Vegan, biodegradable, plastic free....they are key words in today's social media society and are slapped on every new product entering the market. It's an exciting time as we start thinking beyond ourselves and become more aware of the impact that we are having on the earth around us. I'm in it whole-heartedly.
Just start with one thing.
My bank balance however, is not.
Standing in the supermarket aisles I could feel myself starting to shut down. Headachy, frustrated, confused, I wanted to get out and I wanted to get out NOW. I knew what to look for but with thousands of options surrounding me I felt paralysed by choice. Where did I even begin? How should I go about converting my entire daily existence to a more ethical one? How did I make sure that every routine had an eco-friendly stamp? When you start to think about all the things you use on a daily basis you suddenly realise just how much there is to change. Nappies, meat, organic produce, toiletries, cleaning products, clothes...it's endless!
I began piling my supermarket trolley with the standard weekly food stuffs. Pre-bagged produce became loose oranges, apples, bananas and potatoes. I added in some vegetarian alternatives and saw my trolley balance go up another 20%. Onto nappies and the eco-friendly, biodegradable versions cost 3 times more than my usual disposable ones. I couldn't even find eco wipes that were a price I was willing to pay (who pays £3 for 56 wipes?!). The break down happened in the drinks aisle as I was trying desperately to find a teabag company that didn't have their cardboard box wrapped in a plastic film.
I walked out of that store mid way through the shopping, having spent twice my usual budget but only having enough food for 4 days. I was emotionally spent and spiralling into guilt. How was I ever going to make sure that my footprint on the world was a healthy one with the limited options and budget that I had? Switching to plastic free, reduced meat and organic becomes so difficult when you realise that our bad habits of not caring about our environment for the sake of ease and budget have become so ingrained in our lives. Plastic wraps everything. Meals are centred around the meat ingredient. Clothes are made by cheap labour and flown in. It's just all too much.
I got home, had a cuppa, and a little cry.
I had high hopes and now I was left with an impending sense of doom, that my goal was never going to be realised and that as a family we'd always be having a negative effect on the world.
And then a thought...
Just start with one thing.
I'd been trying to do it all at once and was getting overwhelmed by the burden of it all, but what marathon runner begins by running a marathon? No, they start small and work their way up. I just needed to do the same. In true millenial fashion I was trying to reach the end goal NOW, but it takes time. The world needs to catch up too. Companies need to start using biodegradable plastic, and wrapping their produce in other materials. There needs to be more recyclable materials on the market and better ways to produce things. But as companies learn how to develop those things, I can be learning how to be better bit by bit. I don't need to do it all, but I need to do SOMETHING.
So I'm feeling better. The pressure is off to do it all in one go, and the excitement is back on to see what little things I can be doing now to improve. One day I might be vegan, organic, plastic-free and biodegradable but, for now, I'm going to work on not buying bottled water and making the change to reuseable nappies. Every small deed is one step of progress to the end goal and I'll get there....eventually.