It’s no secret that I absolutely adore animals.
Ever since I was a kid, I always took such an interest in them. I had encyclopaedias lining my bookshelves full of interesting facts on all the different varieties from around the world, and I always pestered my parents for puppies, kittens, hamsters, guinea pigs or budgies. I didn’t win the case for an aviary in the front room, unfortunately.
I also love anything that’s narrated by David Attenborough (who doesn’t though, let’s be honest), I want to get married in our local conservation trust (one day it’ll happen, I swear), and when I was younger, I donated my pocket money to animal welfare charities (shout out to the pandas I used to adopt yearly, hope you’re all doing well).
So, in line with all that, it only makes sense that recently I’ve become more and more aware of our planet and the damage that’s currently being caused to our amazing and incredible home.
I’m starting to do some research and some reading into climate change. I’m watching more documentaries about the consequences of plastic in our seas. I even tried my hand at being vegetarian, which, quite honestly, was the hardest 6 months of my life (but that’s for another time).
I also watched the documentary ‘Chasing Coral’ on Netflix a few months ago, and if you haven’t done so yet, please stop reading and go and take some time out to watch it. It is beyond incredible, and I cried throughout the whole thing.
I don’t know whether I was shedding tears of guilt, knowing full well that I am useless when it comes to remembering a re-usable bag when I’m doing the food shop or using numerous disposable plastic straws in my gin and lemonade on a night out, or whether it was because I no longer had my rose tinted glasses on and my eyes were being opened up to exactly just what is going on in the world.
Having also watched Blue Planet II on Sunday and, like others, having my heart broken over the mamma whale carrying around her dead baby, I just can’t help but feel devastated that we are doing this and we are allowing this to happen all around us.
These glorious animals have been here longer than we have, yet we’ll probably outlive them because of the damage that we as a society are doing to their environment.
If I’m being frank – I’m finding it all completely overwhelming.
I feel completely and utterly helpless. Is there a pause button for all of this? Can we just stop everything for a while, let it get back to normal and carry on again like none of this shit stuff ever happened?
Take, for example, when I read the news that Donald Trump had employed someone who describes climate change as ‘junk science’ to the top scientific post of the Agriculture Department. Or when I read that he had pulled the USA out of the Paris climate change agreement – which is now the only country out of the entire world to not be part of it. My heart broke on both occasions.
How do we change this? How can I, personally, help prevent this from happening when there are behemoths like the tangerine man outwardly refusing to believe what is going on to our beautiful oceans and forests? Are my attempts futile? Will I actually be able to make a difference? Will my children or my children’s children be able to enjoy the sea like I do now? Or will documentaries like Blue Planet II become something that people watch in wonder in 100 years time, as we would do now on anything to do with the dodo?
I know I’m part of the problem. I know I am. And I want to try living consciously, I really, really do. I try and make small changes like buying loose produce and using re-usable water bottles, but I still don’t recycle any of my household waste (mainly through sheer ignorance) and I know that I’m sometimes on the bad end of the scale in terms of my food waste. I’ve got plastic carrier bags shoved into other plastic carrier bags in the cupboard under my sink, and I am fully aware that I’ve used products in the past that contain microbeads.
However, saying all this, the other side of me is telling me that to not put so much pressure on myself and it’s all justifiable because I want to help – I might be uneducated, but surely there’s something in the fact that I’m willing to learn, right? I’m not just burying my head in the sand like Trumpelstiltskin is.
I’ve recently joined the Living Consciously group on Facebook which is run by my absolute girl crush Zanna Van Dijk, and I have to admit that it’s already teaching me a massive amount on what I could be doing, in a safe and non-judgemental space where people can hold their hands up and say ‘look, I don’t know what I’m doing but I want to know and please can you teach me without telling me off for buying two sweet potatoes wrapped in non-recyclable plastic packaging’.
Everyone on there is so passionate about trying to make a small change – Zanna herself being the main advocator for doing so without being preachy – that it makes you realise that it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t make an impactful dent into the colossal beast that is climate change over your lifetime, but at least you can live day to day knowing that you’ve done your little bit to help save your little part of the world.
I’ve made a little pledge to myself to make a conscious effort to not be so wasteful; so whether that’s just down to food waste (don’t buy a punnet of blueberries for those healthy breakfasts that you just know you’re not going to get up in time for, for example), to having a set of proper cutlery in my desk that can be used for any takeaway lunches I might have instead of the plastic stuff that comes with it and only snaps after stabbing two bits of penne pasta anyway.
So – to conclude – I’m not too sure where I’m headed with this blog post. I guess I just needed to let go of some of the pressure I’ve built up on this topic, but I also wondered if anybody else feels the same.
Do you feel the guilt too? Where did you start if you’re now on your way to becoming a fully fledged eco warrior? Are there any recommendations for podcasts / books / films etc? I’d love to know what’s out there! Let me know your thoughts.
Until next time,