It seems to me that the best way forward is for everyone, both individuals and organisations, to adopt an eco-friendly approach to what they do. I decided to take a look at what the Pagan Federation does in this area. We have an Environmental Officer, Anne Edward, who very helpfully provided information to answer my question.
The Pagan Federation has a policy to guide what we do, a document all members can refer to for guidance on the expected standard. It states very clearly that good environmental management is an essential part of overall good practice and the backbone of our nature-based beliefs. The Pagan Federation will strive to adopt the highest available environmental standards in all its areas of operation.
There is too much to include here, so I’m picking out some of the highlights. The policy aims to reduce waste in all areas of activity by advising PF officials and volunteers to reduce, reuse and recycle in their PF activities, and to offer recycling facilities at any events that they hold. The use of single use items is discouraged, and where this is unavoidable to try to ensure that any such items are sustainable, recyclable or biodegradable. They have even looked at refreshments for events, encouraging locally sourced goods to support smaller businesses and minimise our transportation carbon footprint.
Virtual meetings are encouraged for internal meetings to reduce transport, and we aim to make all newsletters, information leaflets and magazines available in a digital format.
This policy, including the parts I haven’t mentioned, seems a good start. Anne Edward is the person responsible for this policy which will be reviewed in October this year. She shared some personal thoughts on the Pagan Federation website, which I quote below.
‘I sincerely hope that we all think about our green credentials and we think about our how we can be greener. If we all make just one small change think about how much collectively the difference it will make. Most of us these days live in towns or cities, so living in the country, growing our own food is just a dream. But no matter where we live we can choose to not buy plastic bottles and use water from a tap. Not use the car for short journeys, use public transport when possible. Shop locally and think about where the things you buy were grown or made. Turn the heating down a few degrees and wear a jumper. Mend your stuff that gets broken rather than replacing it. Think about the chemicals in your cleaning products and what you can use as an alternative instead.’
I think these are great suggestions. One which I have started to take notice of myself recently are the distances that some of our eco-friendly products travel to get to us in the UK. The shampoo bar that I use comes from New Zealand. The laundry sheets for the washing-machine are made in China. (I am happy to use these by the way. They work just as well as washing powder but with less packaging and less bulk to transport.) My next resolve for this journey to eco-friendly living is to look for alternative products that originate closer to home.
A reader of one of my blogs gave a warning to beware of ‘greenwashing’. I confess I had to look this up to get a better understanding of it. According to youmatter.world/en, greenwashing is a communication and marketing strategy adopted by some organisations to create an ecologically responsible image for the public, but which fails to tell the whole story. An example of this is the image of the zero emission electric car, which may be accurate for the car itself; yet the electricity that charges the car is often not from ‘green’ sources, and the lithium batteries that power the cars present a problem for recycling.
All this goes to show that making a difference to the future of our planet is a complicated subject. We can all do our bit, which if we all do it will definitely make a difference. Yet we may need to educate ourselves so that our decisions are informed ones.
Once again, thanks for the feedback, and keep it coming.
Written by Portland Jones, Disability Liaison for Pagan Federation Midlands