So I’ll start with the disclaimer. This month, I’m planning to write about the environment. I am not a scientist. I am not an expert. So I am not making pronouncements with authority (although I might reference some links to back up what I say).
But I am finding that I want to do something more about the environment. The new year came round, and the cleaning fever seized me (well, for a day or two anyway). I started clearing a few things – but then I started thinking about where I was at, and where I wanted to go.
You know the phrase ‘Employ a teenager while they still know everything?’ That was me on the environment – still without being a scientist, I might add. But I had been to Germany, several times over, and realised that the UK was miles behind on day to day habits that were more environmentally friendly – and that we could learn a thing or two.
I kept on with the learning German, and the visiting Germany, and the learning new things. And in the meantime, people started talking more about the environment in the media. Holes in the ozone layer – and CFCs in hairspray. Overfishing, and what was happening to fish stocks.
By A Level time, with exams looming, it was time to choose a topic for my speaking exam. And guess what? It was the environment. My zeal kept me talking – even when the phone rang in the office we were using, and we had to pick up again. (Not recommended for nerves.)
And then…end of school. Adult life begins. New places to live. An opportunity to decide what to do for yourself – and how to live. But that doesn’t always mean we get it right.
Life has a habit of getting busier, whether it’s full time work, raising a family, or combinations around that. Busy life…easier to forget? Yes. Easier to make excuses? Maybe. Especially if those around you don’t see it the same way.
Back to the start of this year: I knew that I wanted to make some changes. And this time, I had been getting some new sources of information through the web, through blogs and online magazines and so on.
I hadn’t set out to read about the environment – but it kept coming up in what I was reading – and in the choices people were making.
So here’s the environmental audit. It’s for me – and my teenage self, who might be surprised at how much has changed for the better. As well as how much has worsened in the world.
It is hard to know how to respond when we learn that large sections of ice sheet have broken off in the Arctic. When there are more and more ‘freak weather’ scenarios each year, around the world and at home too. When corn crops and potato crops have suffered as a result of that weather, and food prices go up.
It is easier to look away. One response. Mine, sometimes, when I am overwhelmed by those news stories. But I am wanting to go back to looking at what I am doing – what I can do differently. Maybe learning from others who are already doing things differently.
So come along for the ride. (You may need to bring your own bike – but there’ll be plenty of space to park it.) I’m not here to harangue anyone – except maybe myself. And being really honest with ourselves is where change can really begin.