The Journey.

The other day I was watching a film, I can’t even remember its title, and it suggested that a vegetable based diet is the way forward, both for our own health and for the health of the planet. Whilst I agree that eating more veggies would definitely be good for me, some part of me was oddly offended when I saw a snippet in that film where protesters were holding up a sign saying “You can’t be an environmentalist and still eat meat”. It was my meat eating side that was getting defensive.

I’m not going to go down into the intricate discussions about vegetarianism, veganism, omnivores, flexitarians (check ’em out actually, I like that concept. Here is an article explaining Flexitarianism where you eat meat only occasionally.) – but my carnivore’s defensive reaction got me thinking…

I consider myself a ‘greenie’, an ‘environmentalist’, someone who wants to leave the planet better than I found it and help and inspire other people to do the same, since one little human can’t make much of a difference but our power is in numbers.

I also know that I am far far far from perfect and that I have a considerable footprint on this planet and knowingly or unknowingly contribute to some of the shit that goes down. I buy products that were probably manufactured with unfair labour conditions or non-renewable materials. I have eaten from plastic plates and sometimes use cling wrap, contributing to a one-way street of disposable plastics, wasting our resources and building a mountain of non- or slowly degradable material that in the meantime pollutes its way up the food chain. I use petrol powered machines to move my body and stuff from A to B. Right now I’m typing away at a laptop that’s being powered by electricity made by diesel generators three kilometres away. I buy food that has come from thousands of kilometres away and I condone and even enjoy the water guzzling lawn in our backyard. Oh my God, I am evil!

No, I am not evil. None of us are evil.

We are all products of our environment and upbringing and we live as well as we can with the resources and knowledge available to us. Habits and ways of living are instilled in us by the culture around us, by our family and by media and economy. We use what’s there and make do with what we got. I believe that all of us are doing the best we can. Yes there are some lazy ones out there that seem to not care and not do their best, but even seemingly lazy people do ‘their’ best, even if it’s comparatively little to others.

Is there anybody who is 100% sustainable? Anyone who truly has a positive footprint, i.e. someone who gives more than they take? Someone who replaces everything they use and adds more? I hope there is and I would love to learn from them. But can anyone be ‘perfect’? What is it to be ‘perfectly sustainable’? Is that even a thing?

I am not sure if anyone can be perfectly sustainable. And if so, I’m not sure that every single person on this planet could be 100% sustainable. It does not seem realistic. Maybe this is about the journey to environmental sustainability, about developing and adjusting. Things change. They always do. In this decade and century the most sustainable thing to do might be to reduce carbon emissions and fix as much carbon as possible out of the atmosphere into soil and trees to slow down, stop and hopefully reverse the global warming that we kick started by using all that carbon from the earth, but back in the ice age people probably would have given a lot for some fossil fuel guzzling machines that could warm up their planet a bit to make it more hospitable. Right now we’re focusing on recycling plastics and we’re coming up with many innovative ways to reuse plastics so they don’t end up in landfill or in the oceans, but fast forward 2000 years we (hopefully) won’t create that many plastic items any longer and the business of recycling plastics will not be that important anymore. Right now eating less meat seems the sensible thing to do but maybe in half a million years we will be so overrun by crickets or wild chickens that every human should eat more of them. Who knows. What we perceive as totally sustainable in 2017 will probably be different by 2050.

Everything constantly and continuously changes. All we can do now is to try the best we can, to live as sustainable as possible (whatever that means in this current time) with the resources and information and knowledge available to us. It’s a journey and we got to adapt along the way.



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