A blog I like to read, 365 Days of Trash, recently pointed me towards this amusing article by the Onion, How Bad for the Environment can Throwing Away One Plastic Bottle Be?
I find this farcical approach to be incredibly revealing, not just about everyone else out there in the big wide western world, but also about myself.
"It's not like I don't care, because I do, and most of the time I don't even buy bottled water," thought Missouri school teacher Heather Delamere, the 450,000th caring and progressive individual to have done so that morning, and the 850,000th to have purchased the environmentally damaging vessel due to being thirsty, in a huge rush, and away from home. "It's really not worth beating myself up over."
How many times have I thought these exact same thoughts? Far too many times is the simple answer. Especially lately. It’s that, “Well I’m normally so good and I’ve had a really hard week and I haven’t had anything like this for ages so I really deserve it,” feeling. The real concern for me is the frequency that this has been popping into my mind of late. That plastic treat in my weekly shopping has become two treats, three, four; it’s almost as if I’m trying to buy plastic, not trying NOT to buy it. Oops.
There are two ways to look at it.
1. Everyone else out there is buying plastic and throwing it away, so what difference is it really going to make if I stop doing it? It’s like taking out one very small piece of straw from the middle of a haystack that’s the size of my house. So, why should I bother?
2. But if everyone, or even half of everyone, stopped buying plastic and throwing it away again, then that would make a very real difference. And someone has to start the ball rolling somewhere: there’s no reason why I can’t be that someone. Besides, I already know I’m not the only someone. Eventually – I hope – the snowball will take hold.