As it was my daughter who started me looking more at eco-friendly living, I decided to interview her for this blog. Ashley has clearly given this a great deal of thought, in part informed by her degree in social science politics.
Why are you interested in eco-friendly living?
The climate crisis is a social dilemma which requires collective action at all levels in order to avert a future disaster for my children, their children and all future generations. Volatile climates already affect and cost the lives of people across the globe, yet because the UK for the moment is mostly sheltered from this, we behave as if it doesn’t exist. I do not want to contribute to the suffering of others.
What do you think are the barriers stopping people adopting this lifestyle?
Tough question. The reasons are many and complex. At the most basic level are cost, time and quality. These are the three things we need to combat. I am researching budget friendly options for eco-friendly living. This will help remove – for others – the time intensive nature of searching for products and where to get them. I am looking at products that are of comparable quality.
On a much deeper level is the belief that it doesn’t make a difference, and sometimes that overwhelming feeling that you can’t do it alone. What’s the point if you only make one product swap?
Is it worth making small changes?
Absolutely. I used to think that this was bigger than me and that the only resolution was by international governance and businesses making changes.
Ultimately however individual countries won’t walk in and sign international agreements committing billions of pounds without knowing their people support them. Businesses won’t invest billions on innovation without a demand for the product. The small changes we make are two-fold. They give governments and business the push they need. Additionally as more individuals live more eco-friendly lives and encourage others to do so, the more it becomes the norm. We can see this happening already. Take single use plastic as an example – it has almost become a dirty word. The more people demand eco-friendly products, the more businesses will respond as a way of capturing this market – a business decision, not necessarily an ethical one. Yet this is what drives change, giving the consumer what the consumer wants. This is the collective action by the many that will drive a solution to a complex problem.
Thanks Ashley. This gives me even more to think about. The idea of word of mouth spreading ideas is a powerful one. You told me your ideas. I got on board with it, and now I’m telling lots of people.
I will be continuing the theme of eco-friendly living next week. And Sylvia Rose, thanks for the advice on teabags.
Written by Portland Jones, PF Disabilities Liaison for the Midlands