Climate change. Veganism. Plastic-free. Carbon emissions. Zero-waste. Minimalism. Sustainability.
The buzz-words of the moment and for very good reasons.
But you know what? I’m just going to go ahead and say the selfish thing you shouldn’t say – I am exhausted by the sheer responsibility of it all.
I’ve hit eco-overload.
At every turn, in amongst the grind of working full time, making ends meet, and raising two kids, my head is abuzz with a constant stream of eco-guilt.
No, you shouldn’t buy that coffee because you forgot your reusable cup.
No, your kids can’t eat eggs for dinner whether you need to feed them in 20 minutes or not. Think of the chickens for goodness sake.
No, you shouldn’t be driving a dirty Diesel engine despite the fact, this car is all you can afford right now.
Did you really need to buy those raisins wrapped in plastic?
Was that sausage roll absolutely necessary when you’re claiming to be vegan?
Is this cleaning product eco-friendly? Will the toxic chemicals harm your family / the environment? And are the eco-cleaners even ok when they come in plastic bottles?! Perhaps I should find time to make my own?
Oh. My. God.
I cannot take it anymore. FYI this is the literary version of the head imploding emoji.
I promise I am not being flippant here. Genuinely, without exaggeration, the eco-anxiety actually keeps me awake at night.
And yet, due to time, willpower or sheer can’t-be-arsedness, I cannot seem to live according to the values I believe in.
Anyone with a toddler (nevermind a teenager!) will tell you that life revolves around surviving. Naturally, there are wonderful moments whilst raising kids (approximately 8 minutes per hour), but for the most part I find myself running around just making do. And the guilt of eco-overload is not helping when, quite frankly the extra pressure is just making me want to curl up with a sausage roll, a Starbucks coffee and a blanket of denial.
So, what to do?
Presuming that ignoring the issue isn’t an option, I have to surmise that doing something is better than doing nothing. At least I hope so…
I fundamentally believe (and it is backed up by extensive, well-conducted academic research) that eating meat and dairy products is one of the worst things you can do for the environment. However, knowing the facts doesn’t always make it easy to stick to the principles, does it? It’s hard to always stick to a vegan meal plan if you’re disorganised and you have hungry people to feed at the end of 12 hours at work.
So, instead of labelling myself and my lifestyle, can I just declare that I am vegan-ish, meaning that I am going to concentrate on eating less animals and more fruits and vegetables. By removing the label, I already feel less pressure and more positivity. After all, I like eating a plant-based diet and as I am lactose intolerant, removing dairy is never an issue. Will the odd sausage roll change much more than my waistline? Probably not in the scheme of things when I’m 95% plant powered. #sorrypiggies
It’s just about doing your best. Right?!
Nothing. That’s it for now. (Bet you’re glad you stuck this blog post out…)
Aside from my usual recycling, thinking about (and largely ignoring) excessive plastic packaging when buying things and frequenting my local charity shops when we need something “new” I am going to stop there for one whole month. These are habits I am already familiar with day to day so don’t feed into my eco-overload too much.
There we go then. I’ve talked myself round into a semi-solution to the eco-overload; that’s one whole month where I focus in on a plant-based lifestyle and see what difference it makes to my life, to my eco-anxiety and I guess, our health (although don’t judge if chips make it on to the menu regularly).
I don’t feel like I can do anymore at the moment and that’s the truth.
How about you? Have you hit eco-overload or are you smashing your way through life like a green eco-warrior? Tips and priorities in the comments box below purlease.