I was listening in to a conversation the other day between Meera and Claire. Meera was asking how much Claire spent on buying ‘ecologically sound/sustainable’ food and domestic products. Her point was that she couldn’t afford to buy the ‘good’ products, because of the volume her family would consume during the week. Lots of people would relate to this, especially now that the price of food and other domestic consumables has soared in the last few years. It followed on the back of another conversation about a programme Meera had seen explaining that the nutritional value of the food available in the shops had plummeted over the last thirty years.
This brought up the other side of sustainability – it’s not all about the individual, because the collective actions of many individuals has a cumulative effect. The way food is farmed in the UK, and other parts of the world, is impoverishing the soil, as Claire explained. It is easy to get into a habit of doing something without questioning it. The cheapest option is not necessarily the best value, either in terms of nutrition or the health of the planet. Only when you are aware of facts, can you make an informed choice, which may be a compromise between what you feel is ‘right’, and what you are prepared to pay in terms of money, and/or effort.
Meera must have got carried away, because she suggested we could all look at how we lived and see where we could make adjustments to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Even as the words were coming out of her mouth, she tried to unsay it, realising we would all be held to account, but it was too late. So we will all be looking at our lifestyles over the next couple of months, focusing on Diet, Exercise, Clothes, Energy/Water/Waste usage (domestic and workplace), Entertainment and Relationships in turn. The idea being that we each make changes to move us towards living more sustainably.