More than ever Lockdown and the emergence of COVID has made us appreciate each other and our immediate environments. All over the world, people are re-thinking how we can better love ourselves, our animals and our planet.
I was surprised to learn that as recently as the 1970’s – the lake in Zurich was so polluted it was a fire hazard – yet now it is clean enough to drink, and that’s an impressive example of how effectively humans can help nature can recover.
Family Gems asked me to share my story, taken from a blog I wrote, and I hope if you worry about the environment, as I used to do, it will inspire.
I’m just a normal person – who had an un-settling experience involving cling film – and I started swapping eco-related products and ideas with others because of it.
Rewind: The memory is hazy, but Donald Trump had just come into power and I was busy thinking how terrible that was for climate change (which he didn’t believe in) when a thought sprung to mind, beautifully captured by Tolstoy:
‘Everyone wants to change the world, but nobody wants to change themselves.’Leo Tolstoy
This soon led to another thought – I was judging Donald Trump’s behaviour, but if the secret to changing the world was changing myself – shouldn’t I be more aware of my own?
Well right now (or back then, if that’s not too confusing) I was covering a bowl with cling-film. The box said recyclable so I didn’t have to worry about it, right? I took a closer look. ONLY the box was recyclable, NOT the cling-film.
It would never biodegrade. It would stay like that forever. I had wrongly assumed that the world as a whole was more eco-wise than that.
I started to see plastic everywhere – yogurt cartons, milk containers, fabric softener bottles, you name it. Articles seemed to jump out at me too – ‘micro-plastics are getting into the air we breathe.’
Things are meant to return to the earth – Poelo-Lefatshe (in Setswana) so how had we got to this?
I’d go so far as to say that the fearful messages triggered a ‘dark night of the soul’ for me and when I finally popped back into the light, I had changed.
I accepted myself. I accepted that I drove a car and got planes back to England, and did all sorts of other things that I’m told aren’t good for the planet, but that made me no less motivated to enjoy life, or to change the things I could.
‘When you change yourself, the world changes too.’Anon.
All the bad news seemed to completely drain me of energy. It stopped me from doing anything at all, so I focused instead on all that was good.
Even plastic is good in many cases (although we are learning the hard way that we need to use it more wisely.) Think about the pipes that bring safe water into our homes every day? Such an upgrade from lead, which poisoned so many, back in the history of England.
Yes, I was convinced. I was more useful to myself and others when applying optimism, rather than pessimism.
Armed with this new revelation, I dropped the shame at how little I knew and became brave enough to start asking questions. I picked up an awful lot of inspiring ideas, tips and contacts that way. Some things worked, some things didn’t, but over-all I made progress. So much so, that I have been able to enjoy life more, and to write more confidently. You can visit my site and leave comments, which I love to read or see the Facebook page Rata Botswana.
- 6 Eco-Tips for Gaborone - 08/06/2020
- Lifestyle Swap: From Using Plastic To An Eco-Friendly Life - 05/06/2020