Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Our Story

There was a time in the not too distant past where we were different. When I say we, I mean we at Blue Temple. A time where we didn’t think twice about our food consumption, or our waste creation, and yes, that was a time of relative simplicity and free of difficult choices, temptations and general feelings of upset.

Now, our lives require a lot more effort, result in a lot of self-questioning and pressure to behave in accordance with a set of personal rules, or norms. How we got here is not an exciting story, nor is it overly exceptional or complicated, if it was, that’d make an excellent blog, but it’d also eliminate the point of it. I want people to know how easy, with a little effort, it is to make small life changes that can change the world.

I went into my education at the age of 14, knowing that Geography, and then Environmental Science were my topics of choice, where my enjoyment led and heartfelt desire to work lay. So it begs the question, why did it take me another 15 years after my initial exploration of the wonders our planet offers to come to the now very obvious conclusions we see in Blue Temple? The answer, realisation that what I do CAN make a difference, to me, to my loved ones and to my environment.

Sabina is a very different story, she was raised in an environment where little care or attention was (or still is) paid to nature or conservation. She completed school studying computers, before relocating to the UK to learn English and eventually end up as a scuba diver with a BA degree. However, throughout it all, there was no focus on the environment, no teaching or education focused towards it. Sabina came to her conclusions through a growing love and care for everything around her. It was at this point, that she started (and continues) to learn about the risks and threats.

Two very different paths, one through education, the other through love and care, the same outcome. Working to protect our planet from ourselves. We are by no means perfect, far from it, but we try, we put in the effort to reduce our waste and our impacts. “One person doesn’t make a difference” I can you hear you all thinking, and maybe, you are right. But why should that stop you?

If you, like me, had the education to understand the damage we are doing to the planet. As individuals it is our duty to change the way we approach every day. With knowledge comes a responsibility. If, like Sabina, you love something, surely you should do everything in your power to try and protect it? Whether it is the trees in your back garden, or the beach you go for evening strolls. Litter, pollution and human action threatens everything.

You might still be wondering what we do that makes a difference, and you might say what we do is pointless, too much effort or even not enough, but we each do what we can and what we hope will result in change.

  • Meat Free Mondays and Fridays

We have spoken about it before, but the production of meat puts our planet under huge pressure. Land can be used more efficiently, water more effective and waste more suitably. Reducing meat consumption helps to reduce our impact as individuals and as a nation on our agricultural land

  • No Seafood

This one arose for multiple reasons. The first, as avid scuba divers, it seemed a bit irrational and backwards to contribute to the overfishing and destruction of the environment from which we get so much enjoyment. Second, we watched the 2009 documentary ‘End of the Line’, a short film about unsustainable fishing and the impacts it is having on our oceans, as well as emphasising the methods behinds the capture of such a massive magnitude of fish globally. Finally, we are what we eat. Fish eat plastic and mercury. We want to protect ourselves from that. (Recently, fresh water fish caught in the Thames were found to have plastic in them. Is no one safe?)

  • No Use for One Use

Plastic is well known to be a problem, if you don’t know, I’d be interested to know under which rock you are currently living. Plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it slowly (I mean, real slow) breaks up into tiny little pieces and ends up in the bellies of fish, mammals and animals worldwide. www.midwayfilm.com is an excellent short of an island 2,000 miles from human settlement that has been affected by our plastic waste. We have banned ourselves from using one use plastic, that includes plastic bottles, plastic cups, polystyrene and plastic bags.

These three, amongst others, including composting, not buying unnecessarily and reducing energy use have totally shaped our lives over the last year. With thanks to Dave for pushing us through. Our routine have slowly changed and refusing plastic bags, straws and cups has become habit. We have slowly, and with much difficulty, altered our personal norms so that we work our hardest to avoid these things. Obviously, when you are handed something in a plastic bag, and it is offensive to say no, then we take it, with the sole intention of reusing and ensuring it is properly disposed of.

It has been a difficult transition, and has resulted in long walks through the village to get our bags after arriving at the shop having forgotten them, that, or carefully balancing and cramming everything bought into one bag and waddling back to the house attempting to avoid dropping things. Not to mention forgetting what day it is and hastily avoiding meat dishes!

We could have just carried on, forgot our bag? Never mind, we will just get one this time. But then any impact our efforts have on local perspective would be damaged. To the locals, a plastic bag is the norm, we are the odd ones. But they accept it and now don’t offer us plastic bags, straws or other such stuff to us. If we were to continue with bad habits, what hope could we ever have to make a difference to them? We have to be role models to those who don’t understand, and leaders to those who need it.

We tell you all this not because we want praise, we want people to know that even the smallest effort can result in a huge change. Whether you reduce your car use or meat consumption, or start buying fresh, unpackaged produce, or stop one use plastic, we can all make a difference.

The joy you feel when you look at the sky on a sunny day, or when you feel the grass beneath your bare feet in summer or the smells the ocean brings. These are what make a life worth living, and your planet worth protecting.

This is your planet. Help us protect it.