Sustainability is defined as ‘…avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance’.
Never have I felt the weight of this issue as keenly than since I became a parent. The truth is, it should not have taken that to make me realise the significance of my carbon footprint.
But I refuse to place myself in a glass house or promote myself as a paragon of virtue on environmental issues. I am still learning.
However, along with many, I have a growing consciousness to combat my errors as I am very aware of the now borrowed time we are living on. We cannot continue to take from the same well any longer. Because we have drained it.
The modern phenomenon of being ‘busy’ has not been the greatest advocate to the cause. We have convinced ourselves that we do not have time to make significant changes.
I too was guilty of this and it has been my greatest habit to change. What we consume, how we consume and when we consume it had been packaged and geared towards the time-poor. Convenience was the hottest commodity and we its greatest consumer.
Much as I felt that I would struggle to make adequate changes, I was surprised too how quickly my children became involved and made our efforts easier. This was aided in no small part by the support and discussions in their school. If they were not being educated on the effects of climate change then they were growing their own pots of herbs and flowers. They did not see any changes as an inconvenience, they saw it as an opportunity.
I have witnessed first hand the power social platforms can harness for change. Yet there is still a hesitancy amongst many in discussing the issue. Be it that they fear loss of engagement/followers etc or for others, they may feel that their small changes render their seat at the table null and void. I applaud those who have made strides to change. As for the contingent who are afraid to speak as a result of losing some traction on their Instagram? It is time to wise up.
One of the first changes we made was in relation to our recycling and our food waste output.
I relied heavily on online shopping with two young kids and not a week would pass without boxes being piled ready to be compacted. I also became increasingly uneasy with the amount of air miles my purchases would rack up which far surpassed the price-point of the garment itself.
Whereas once, there might be two to three deliveries to our door weekly, now there might be a similar amount within a two-month span. I also began to purchase from Irish based and owned companies; if I could shop locally and independently for our food, I wanted to attempt the same with other purchases.
As a family, we committed to learning about what we could and could not recycle. This is one of the easiest and satisfying changes to make. Because not only did it make an impact within our home; it also caused us to look at our potential purchases in shops through new eyes. Our food waste has been reduced to such a level that we do not even avail of the refuse collection option for same. I believe this has been as much down to awareness of the impact of food waste as it has been in providing our children with the tools to make simple meals themselves. We have swapped out plastic toothbrushes, switched to bars of soap, take shorter showers, changed to energy efficient light bulbs, turned down the thermostat, no longer use a tumble dryer and so on. These are all small changes, many are doing so much more, but they are conscious changes on our behalf.
Years prior, I would not have concerned myself with the use of bottled water, we have not entertained same since our children were born. On return from a long day at work, several appliances may have been on overdrive, with heating on at full whack.
I cannot undo the errors I made but I can continue to make changes. I have spoken before on the effects of climate change, I have stated and referenced the facts and figures surrounding same. You know of those same statistics as well as I. But the time is nigh for us to continue debating the effects of our own doing or commit to salvaging the place we call home. It is time to be accountable for our errors. It is time to diversify. It is time.