Going Green – Of Failed New Year Resolutions

piles of garbage by the shore

“Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse.

Desmond Tutu, Former Archbishop of Cape Town

One of my new year resolutions was to go green. I remember my partner responding to this declaration with an emphatic eyeroll but I disregarded him because how hard could be? I would soon find out that it was practically impossible to go green in the third world and that the eyeroll was warranted.

air air pollution chimney clouds
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Listen, I know its the big corporations that are ruining the environment and eco-systems. But why am I the one that feels soooo guilty about it? is it because I am not cashing in on the destruction of our beloved planet?

Nevertheless, I decided that come January 1st I would go green. I was so excited to get with the standard list of requirements as below:

photo of pen beside ink
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  • Switch all of the light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs).
  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or in between rinsing dishes.
  • Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot, and line dry clothes.
  • Collect rainwater to use for watering plants.
  • Set up a recycling area with separate bins for paper, plastic, metal, and food items to use as compost in your garden.
  • Pay bills online to eliminate so much paper waste.
  • Use cloth rags for cleaning instead of paper towels.
  • Limit showers to 5 minutes.
  • Donate and recycle unused items.
  • Buy recycled and used items.

And on January 5th it was time for me to buy my monthly groceries and that’s when the impracticality of my resolution dawned on me. Everything I needed came in plastic. The cooking oil, Orange Squash, dish washing liquid, bread, snacks. Literally everything.

photo of plastic bottles
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I felt sick. The main reason I wanted to go green was to reduce my use of plastic. Ever since I learnt that most plastics are not bio degradable and they are going to be on this planet FOREVER, I have come to despise them.

For my resolution to work, there is a need for shops to replenish groceries in jars or the same plastic, for instance – instead of buying a new bottle of cooking oil, you would just get it refilled etc. They have shops that do this in the first world by the way.

Secondly, someone would have to lobby for manufacturers to use recycled plastics -That someone is not me, I am busy and tired- this should reduce the production of plastics significantly and make me and the environment happier. I would actually do it, but I don’t know where to start and it seems like a daunting task.

So it is with a heavy heart that I have thrown in the towel on this resolution. I will just have to live with my guilt somehow for now.

Let me know if you have tried to go green and how that went for you.

lots of love,

Xa

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