Most of us accept that parts of our everyday lives have a negative impact on the world we live in. And yet, despite it having been a topic of conversation for decades, what is a proportionate response? As we picture our little plastic grape carton floating off to join its cousins in the 800,000 tonne Great Pacific Garbage Patch, we have no real faith that the bin we choose to put it in could change that. We know that our diesel car is making the planet hotter and poisoning our children, but we may not be quite able to afford the EV yet.
Basically, we’re conflicted. We all get the problem and can see the consequences. We can scoff at the morons who either deny or wilfully ignore climate science. We love David Attenborough.
So, do we: Get rid of the car? Stop flying? Stop buying plastic? Stop eating meat? Or maybe all of the above? And actually, why is it left to the consumer to take action rather than big business which has merrily pushed these products our way for decades?? On top of that, as with any resolution, there’s the question of actually doing it. Only the most committed of us would be able to go cold turkey on all of that. It’s tough.
Most of us are understandably bewildered. We need a coordinated Government effort that places action over PR and targets. If our recycling bins don’t actually get recycled, tell us what we need to do to make sure they can be. Lids on or off? If diesel cars are terrible for the environment, make it easier and practical for more of us to buy something better.
There are signs of change. Michael Gove’s announcement in December of the Government’s resources and waste strategy shows some promise. Businesses will finally be made to take responsibility for their packaging waste, and recycling should become a lot less complicated as it is standardised across England. (Meanwhile, there’s a useful guide from Which?)
As someone who runs an environmentally-conscious business, I spend virtually my entire professional life thinking about this sort of thing. I believe we all need to take action. By making the little changes we can now, we’re helping.