Sustainability, being green, global warming and recycling…these are all everyday words for our generation. You constantly hear of people worrying about the future of our planet, urging you to recycle, use public transport, shower rather than bathe! Work have even introduced a ‘meat free Monday’ in order to reduce the schools carbon footprint. Honestly though, when Katy set this blog I had NO idea what I was going to talk about. I recycle, car share (more for the money aspect though I must admit) and since Wales have started charging for carrier bags I’m getting very good at remembering my ‘Bag For Life’! Other than that it’s not really something I think about, what difference can little old me do anyway? I do what I can but I don’t sit and worry about it.
So I decided to do a little research. I asked 5 guys and 5 girls from my friendship circle to summarise their thoughts on sustainability, how it affects them and what actions they take on the subject?
I have to say, statistically speaking there seems to be a lot of people out there (10/10) who echo my thoughts.
The general consensus appears to be that sustainability is important, we need to do more to promote sustainable fuels and energy resources before it’s too late.
“Sustainability is something that everyone should look into. With population on the increase and the amount of raw products on the face of the planet staying the same, we need to change the way we live before we run out of the things we want…and more importantly need.” Iain Murphy, Bristol
Liz also pointed out that our current fuels are depleting rapidly. “We” all know what “we” should do don’t “we”? Use less; recycle more, in a nutshell. But once we are all doing that then what? One interesting argument made was this:
Green issues and sustainability are great in theory but in practical terms is it worth it?? I recycle what I can but am sceptical about what is really reused and at what cost financially and in terms of saving our planet. The west is making an effort but the Indian sub-continent and China, amongst the biggest polluters, are miles behind and do they care?” Sue Phillips, Carmarthen
It’s not the first time I have heard that argument, ‘what’s the point’ in recycling? How can putting everything into one bag make that much more difference then it going into a different bag? And even if me doing this does make a tiny difference it’s not going to change the world is it?! “They” need to do it too! Ah that famous “they”, responsible for so much! But then “we” consider ourselves more educated, so in that case should “we” not know better?
Everyone does seem to be in agreement though that no one person can change the way we live.
I think if everyone participates in keeping the world green it could have an effect, but to me that’s more of a theory because I don’t know how it’s possible to make everyone one think the same way. Josie Crowley-Roath Besiris, London
It takes the work of everyone, governments, businesses, educators and employers to encourage good behaviour. Every country in the world needs to get on board, to agree the rules which will make sustainability work and make sure they are enforced. Speaking to Will I learned that being encouraged to think sustainably at work and uni (one and the same place) has changed the way he lives at home. Dom and Beth also said that ‘going green’ is not something they think about, it’s second nature, habit, normal!
In a time of economic crises recycling is not on everyone’s agenda, but someone likened this to realising your house was on fire and worrying that you may not have enough money to pay the phone bill! Then again if recycling was financially attractive it’s almost certain more of us would make the effort. Right?
“Whilst I do attempt to make green choices when I can, ultimately my wallet wins out most times. I feel until the green industry can match on price, it will always be a secondary choice” Rob May, Reading
I think that’s probably the argument most of the ‘big polluters’ make too. Disposing of waste correctly costs money, dumping it in a local river is not only free, it’s also far easier! In fact more than one person I spoke to mentioned the convenience of living sustainably; we’re more likely to do it if it’s easy, be that a car share website (woo UWE!), recycling boxes from the council or having access to a recycling centre close by (not a 45 minute round trip away anyway like poor Alex!) or even your country making you think about using carrier bags by stopping them being free. Personally I’d say lots of councils are making it easier for people, so that’s one positive change in the last decade.
It may take some time to change the way the whole world thinks, to get us singing off the same hymn sheet but we have to try. Like Tash said, ‘we could all do more’; perhaps the next step is encouraging others to do their bit too? Who knows!
In Biology once we learned about eutrophication (kind of ties in with the companies dumping waste in the water thing from earlier), which (very simplified explanation) is when the balance of nutrients in water shifts, causing a swell in plant life and the species which live on plants, and the species which live on those etc etc. Eventually the water cannot systain the organisms living and decomposing within it, the level of oxygen available depletes and everything dies. These areas are then known as dead zones. I don’t quite know why I thought of this, but it seems to me it’s kind of similar to the situation the earth is in. We’re becoming eutrophic, too full. The only trouble is once our “oxygen” (natural resouces) stores are depleted, once our earth is a dead zone, there’s nowhere else to go.
Thanks to Iain, Beth, Rob, Josie, Dom, Lizzy, Alex, Tash, Will and Sue for sharing their thoughts on sustainability today and helping me write this blog 🙂 Would love to hear more thoughts on the topic so feel free to comment below!
This post is part of the Twitter Blogathon.