We're drowning in eco-wash. I'd be pleased about this state of affairs, except that regularly -- neigh, daily -- I observe moments of earnest environmental engagement that get it so selfishly, blindingly, egoically wrong.
Indeed the only thing worse than ignorance is righteous hypocrisy. The latter being a far more stubborn force.
Really, this post is just a rant of things that tick me off. I've encountered all recently, or regularly.
1. Organic food... wrapped in plastic
At supermarkets, standard, non-organic vegetables are sold loose. Insanely, it's the organics that come wrapped in plastic. Kills me.
Organics. Wrapped in plastic.
At one local produce chain I frequent, customers must put the "ugly" veggies and fruit in green plastic bags to distinguish them from the standard produce. I don't use plastic at all and have to argue regularly with the check-out staff to let me distinguish verbally.
2. Health-food cafes... that don't use crockery
Honestly, most of them don't. They display pious eco-messages around the joint, but serve coffee in takeaway cups and their food in disposable boxes and plates with disposable cutlery. And water in plastic cups. Sure, they're that pious recycled brown colour and the napkins display green recycle motifs on them. But there's no getting around the fact that takeaway cups are not in fact recyclable and that enormous resources go into recycling paper.
And, please, could one of these joints maybe take a stand and ban takeaway cups? Or refuse to sell bottled water?
3. Smokers... drinking bottled water
This happened to me once: someone introduced me to a friend of theirs who was drinking bottled water in that moment. They joked to said friend that they should be prepared for a rant from me. I don't like to force-feed my principles but, forced into a corner, I politely asked the friend of my friend why they drank water from a plastic bottle that was sourced from the same outlet as our tap water.
They inhaled their fag and said: "Tap water contains too many chemicals." True story.
I politely pointed out that, in fact, the very brand of water they were drinking had been shown to contain more chemicals than their local tap water which is filtered very well. Plus, plastic bottles leach chemicals. I left the small matter of the formaldehyde, ammonia, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, nicotine and 4000 other chemicals they were currently ingesting alone.
4. Prius drivers... who drive everywhere
It's a fact. The amount of emissions saved from owning a Prius (or comparable hybrid) can be recouped by doing one less trip to the local shops a week in your standard car... and walking or riding instead. That's all. There is more to share on the earnest eco-car situation. I shall share soon. I investigated it thoroughly.
5. Eco-aware folk... drinking coffee from a takeaway cup... in the cafe
I have friends who do this. They'll vote Green and detox their makeup bags, but specifically ask for their coffee in a takeaway cup, even if they are not taking it away but choose to sit in the cafe. I've asked for the logic behind such a decision. They prefer the "vibe" of the takeaway cup. But what about the BPA in the lids? What about the waste? What about the fact that they're not actually recyclable?
6. Vegans... who get abusive
Just. Not. Cool. There are many plots to the food politics story. And they need to be told with care and consideration. Abuse of fellow humans' choices is the ultimate hypocrisy (if care and mindful consumption is the key here).
I respect individual choices. I share a lot of vegan thinking and believe veganism has put many important nutrition and food politics issues on the table for us all. I also respect relevant science...like the fact 20 times more animals are killed in the production of a vegan diet versus a meat-inclusive one.
Kindness and understanding will get us out of the clusterf**ky environmental pickle we're in. So too will being truly honest with our choices.
This post first appeared on August 25, 2016.