Be the change you want to see

Don't be a dick


Don't be a dick

We know plastic bags are bad for the environment. We've known this for years. Nothing new here.

But... we still use them. We use them quite a lot. We use millions of them. Not every year, but everyday.

We have waited for our governments to do something about plastic bags. Some have added small fees, a few have taken real action and banned them altogether. Some companies have got bored of waiting for their governments and stopped giving them out themselves. But still, a vast number of people still say yes to the question, "Would you like a bag?"

My question is, "Is this acceptable?"

Lets just take a moment to think what the realistic longevity of a plastic bag being used actually is:

  • Fill it with groceries - 1 minute
  • Walk to our car/home - 1-15 minutes
  • Empty the bag once we get home - 1 minute

That's it.

This bag, that has potentially completed it's full carrying career after as little as 3 minutes, will now retire and remain on the planet for between 20-1000 years (no idea why this range is so large!?). While I'm all for working less, this is taking the piss a bit.

Well, maybe it's time to change our stance on baggers and baggees (just made those words up). Sure, we aren't perfect, sometimes you're distracted, the baggers seize the opportunity, put your stuff in the bag before you can refuse. But, these should be one offs. Accidental occurrences that make us feel guilty. When we are paying attention we should be saying "No Thanks". If we can remember our wallets to go to the shop, then, maybe, we can remember a reusable bag. If we forget the bag, then, perhaps, we need to go home and get it, or better yet, suck it up and carry things home. We are quite resourceful. We have pockets, arms, teeth. Shouldn't it be us that suffers due to our mistake not the planet?

And, maybe, we shouldn't be so polite around those that still take and hand out bags.

If you have a friend who repeatedly takes 3, 4, 5 bags at a time, double bagging just to be safe,

If you have a family member who says "It's OK, I'll reuse it" and adds it to their growing collection of used once bags in the cupboard,

If you have a colleague who takes a bag without a second thought, a bag filled with only one item, and then proceeds to carry the bag not by the handles but by holding the item itself, removing any use for the bag at all,

If you shop somewhere that's default is to put items in a bag without asking and doesn't offer any alternative to plastic,

Well, maybe, you need to tell them they're a dick.



The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine


"The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine" 

Like most good quotes you hear them and realise they are so obvious you kick yourself for not thinking of them first. Despite my lifelong fear of the word routine this was no different. Up until hearing this quote I have always thought of routine as a thing people who wore suits to work did and something I would try to avoid in my life at all costs. However when you actually think about it maybe a routine isn't so bad.  Obviously if I have a daily routine whereby I wake up whenever I want, sit on the sofa all day and eat ice cream the future is probably not quite going to pan out how I envisage it. However if my routine was to wake up on my own piece of land, go for a surf with friends, tend to my animals, harvest some fresh fruit and veg before having a nice organic, homegrown brunch with the family I think I would be pretty content. So maybe there's something to this routine business after all.

With that in mind I'm going to start changing my daily routine to see if I can make progress towards being the change I want to see. I'm going to challenge myself to take on a new routine every month that will push me in the right direction. Why a month?  I can't exactly set it at a random number of days! I'm a sucker for a neat bundle of time. So it's either a week, a month or a year.  A week seems a bit too easy and a year seems a bit extreme to get me started. I figure a month will give me enough time to get through the honeymoon faze, into the stage where I wish I hadn't decided to do it and then hopefully at the end will either leave me with a new routine or at the very least with a new lesson learnt.

I was thinking for a while what my first challenge would be, I wanted it to be something that would be a big step towards where I want to go. I have decided to try to watch the sunrise every morning for the month of July.

Watch the sunrise everyday for a month

There were quite a few reasons for choosing this but the main ones are:

  1. Waking and working by the sun is what the majority of the world does. In modern society, especially in cities we have become so used to relying on unnatural light to get by, we go to bed at the same time throughout the year regardless of what the sun is doing. For me this has always seemed strange and is a perfect example of our disconnection from nature. This challenge will be a good reminder and way to spend a little time each day observing mother nature doing her thing. It will hopefully also reduce my electricity usage too as I won't need lights for as many hours during the day.
  2. I have always wanted to get up and do more in the mornings, I'm way more productive in the morning than at the end of the day. I am interested in establishing a morning routine of work, exercise and meditation so this will give me lots more time to do this.
  3. Sunrise is a beautiful time of the day. It seems a shame to miss it for so much of the year.

I'll post a blog at the end of the month to let you know how it goes.