I want to talk about wastefulness. About how strange it is that a ‘replace’ rather than ‘re-use’ culture has grown in the past few decades. About how things are made to break, rather than made to last.
I’ve spoken before about how I work part time in a charity warehouse. This has given me a slap to the face in terms of seeing, in very real terms, what people classify as waste. Every day, we throw away food, we throw away clothing, we throw away household items that we’re just a little fed up of, or that have a tear or a rip or a hole.
It’s easier, and usually cheaper, to just buy a new one, than for us to invest the time and money and effort in learning how to mend or re-purpose. It’s the same in many countries around the world. I have to stop and ask why? It makes no sense. On a planet with finite resources, we find ourselves doing the one thing that goes against every amount of common sense we purport to have.
What’s created this culture? It scares me to think and it baffles me as to the reasons why. Humans, faced with a choice to use an energy source that’s renewable, to develop efficient ways to gather energy and power from renewable sources, instead choose first to deplete the finite resources we have before necessity forces us to adapt. Shouldn’t we instead be utilising free abundant energy sources, without worry that they’ll one day fail to deliver? What are we doing? Why?
The world as a whole may be full of unexplainable actions and decisions. Decisions that aren’t our own and that still impact us. I’m still learning and adjusting, and I’m the first to admit I could readily find alternative ways to live my own life to create less of an impact on the world.
So that’s what I’ll do, continuing to learn and grow and change my own little corner of the earth, educating myself and trying to lead by example.
Little things we can do? Change our energy to 100% renewable. Walk and cycle more. Fix things. Shop in charity stores. Utilise freeconomy. Get involved in causes that are personal to you. Grow more vegetables. Buy local. Start a cooperative. Talk to your neighbours. Talk to your plants.
Channel any frustration at the world into action. In the UK, every day the current culture of fear and segregation is being fuelled, by papers, politics, rumour and non-facts. Tune it out and create your own sunshine. Respect people, respect every single living thing. Respect inanimate objects and learn to look after them. Extend their shelf life. Don’t buy tech with a built-in finite lifespan. Learn to fix it.
Lead by example. One day, thousands of quiet voices, small actions, will grow and become the change we want to see. The change the world needs.