Reading the newspaper the other day I did a double take at a black and white photo of a young woman. She looked familiar but it took me a few minutes to recall the name – Greta Thunberg. How was that possible? Only a few months ago – albeit, very long months – Geta Thunberg featured on the front of Time magazine and was a regular in every other media outlet, paper or on-line. And yet, she, like the climate crisis she was the forerunner for, seems to have slipped out of our consciousness – or at least, it has mine. In these terrible times of loss and anxiety, as we begin to tentatively emerge from lockdown, I decided to do an inventory as to where I was now with my commitment to climate change.
Travel: Last autumn I signed a pledge not to fly for a year. In January, when the travel brochures started arriving, I must say, I wasn’t sure how strong my resolve was going to be. The glossy, Trailfinders magazine, with exotic itineraries, tested my nerve. Now, of course, with the current Covid-19 pandemic, air travel is something that most of us are foregoing this year, and I suspect for a wee while after that. So far so good. However, I honestly don’t know how I feel about using public transport again – with or without a face mask. I had just weaned myself off using the car so much, now, I don’t know when my confidence will return to board any form of public transport. Judging by the empty car park at Leuchars station, lots of folk are avoiding train travel, too.
Shopping: At the beginning of the lockdown I did one horribly stressful shop at a big supermarket chain and vowed, never again. I have only since chosen to visit our local farm shops and found the experience really positive. The focus on good quality, fresh, seasonal produce, in my opinion, is better than having a massive range of food to chose from. In our own garden, we have given over all our 3 raised beds to veg when usually I would have insisted on one for cut flowers. As a volunteer at the community garden, I can reassure everyone there will be lots of great fruit and veg over the coming months. I, like so many other folk, have been very grateful to have a garden to potter in and enjoy, during this difficult time.
Stuff: So, here’s the thing, I haven’t bought any new clothes, cosmetics, ‘stuff’ since the beginning of the lockdown. I haven’t needed anything and I am not an on-line shopper, so all good? Well, let’s hope so. I confess to a tingle of excitement when I read that there will be huge sales, with up to 50% off clothing in the coming months. Old habits die hard…will I be able to resist? When a pair of trainers fell apart last week my first thought was, I must get a new pair, and then I realised I already had two other perfectly good pairs for walking. One, I was keeping ‘for best’ – really??
So, there it is. The balance sheet is not great and nothing about the urgency of the climate debate has gone away. My plan is to get more involved with local groups of like-minded people and hopefully, that will get me back on the straight and narrow, and I can confidently renew my commitment to a lower carbon life style. I’ve started by watching the 2040 film this week and taking part in the on-line discussion being held by PLANT in Tayport.