I mentioned the other day about my mother. It’s funny, because I often think that my mum’s generation will turn out to be the most “have it all” generation in human history. There’s a balance between the advances of civilisation, and trying not to screw the environment. My mum enjoyed much of the former, but probably worried very little about the latter.
To a cerain extent, I could probably count my own generation as right up there. One could argue that I’m in that category too, but I’m not sure my daughter’s generation will be exempt. I’m certainly aware of my footprint, but a lot of other people don’t share my concerns.
We went to Starbucks today, that emblem of the throwaway society, and you can see that they’re using plastic like it’s going out of fashion. Well, it is, I suppose. If I go there, I’ll only ever have a hot coffee, no matter what the weather, to drink in. The reasons? Because takeaway drinks are served in single-use paper/plastic cups, and all of their iceddrinks seem to come in plastic cups (despite photos above the counter showing the contrary). At least with mine, they wash it (let’s not mention for today how detergents also pollute) and somebody else uses that same cup. Even when people big-up recycling, to recycle something is only ever second-best, because re-use is what we really want.
Even my attempts to be frugal came short, though. For one thing, I had a bap – which came with a plastic knife that I didn’t ask for or use, and which probably got chucked out, still unused, after I left. Not even single-use plastic, but zero-use plastic! And, even my wife commented on how chilly the place was. It was quite humid today but not overly oppressive, although obviously Starbucks’ aircon was in overdrive.
I find it all very depressing. I consciously don’t eat much meat – very little these days – just on the grounds that it takes so many resources to grow a cow. I consciously don’t fly, because it’s unnecessary. I poo-poo my wife’s plans to go away somewhere warm in the middle of winter, for that reason. I’m aware that I could go even further, but we all have our limits. But at the same time as I’m trying to do my bit, other people don’t give a shit.
I must admit that I have become an awful lot grumpier as I’ve gotten older. The more I see of the world, the more it disappoints me. I see politicians lie about important things – to me that’s enough to kick them out there and then but other people vote them back in. I saw the NHS for myself and it was pretty shit. yet people wave flags to indicate how good they think it is. I see how few people get involved in charity work to help others, and how nobody would even dream of giving up their seat on the bus for me, despite my disabilities. And I generally see other people trying to undo all the effort I’m trying to put in. It’s depressing because the older I get, the more things I see that we really could do with changing. And one kind-of concludes that this must be true for anybody who thinks about the big picture, anyone who has a view on how the world should be. Whatever their politics. Dissatisfaction. And just as I am depressed that I live in a world where nobody gives a shit, so somebody like Margaret Thatcher would have been disappointed at not being able to turn society more into her vision. Finally worked out something we have in common! But anyone who cares, we’re all doomed to depression in our old age.