The Environment

14 woes of an Eco-Warrior

It's not easy trying to save the world from itself - sometimes eco-warriors struggle too.

The fact that we need to change our way of living in order to stop climate change in its tracks is old news. All of us are beginning to do the best we can: using metal water-bottles and coffee-cups, and watching copious amounts of David Attenborough to understand the impact humanity is having on the world.

But it’s not always easy trying to save the world, especially when the rest of the world does not seem to have caught up with the urgency. How can we be environmentally-aware and truly sustainable when the rest of the world is essentially telling us not to bother?!

This is indeed the struggle. We Eco-Warriors are still in the minority and live in a world that is fundamentally unsustainable. Here are 14 things that we poor souls trying to stop the world from eventual doom and destruction can relate to:

1. Where did it come from?

Macklemore enjoying a fur coat
[Image Description: Macklemore enjoying a fur coat]
No longer being able to indulge in the simple joy of shopping or talking about ‘things’ with your friends without questioning where everything came from and how it is going to be disposed of…

2. Do they pay their staff enough?

John Oliver screams 'It's Not Fair'
Image description: John Oliver screams ‘It’s Not Fair’

Aggressively Googling if that new brand you spotted on Instagram has an ethical production and fair wage policy.

3. I can no longer fly to Mexico for the weekend?!

Harry Potter flies on a Griffin
[Image Description: Harry Potter flies on a Griffin]
The everlasting issue of wanting to explore the world and, and simultaneously worrying endlessly of the carbon impact of one plane journey. 

4. Trains are just as cool, right?

A man sits on the wheel of a train as it turns
[Image Description: A man sits on the wheel of a train as it turns]
We’re not quite buying the argument about rail travel being just as convenient and fun for a vacation.

5. Am I even an adult if I don’t drive?

Phil from Modern Family teaches Haley, his daughter, how to drive
[Image Description: Phil from Modern Family teaches Haley, his daughter, how to drive]
Refusing to learn how to drive because buying a car would inherently mean becoming reliant on it and the petrol required to fuel it, yet feeling like a child because of that very refusal.

6. Yum, berries! But we don’t grow those here… 

A woman observes and eats a strawberry
[Image Description: A woman observes and eats a strawberry]
Really wanting some of that exotic summer fruit that is mysteriously available in your local supermarket in the dead of winter but knowing full well what has happened to get it there.

7. Okay but organic does not mean sustainable…

A man rolls his eyes
[Image Description: A man rolls his eyes]
Incessantly questioning all the ‘ethical trade’ / ‘organic’ labels on food packaging after all you know about the sociopolitics of the global food trade.

8. No more Netflix marathons

Sergeant Terry Jeffords from Brooklyn Nine-Nine throws a laptop across a room
[Image Description: Sergeant Terry Jeffords from Brooklyn Nine-Nine throws a laptop across a room]
Discovering how much carbon dioxide is emitted by devices such as laptops and phones and wondering how you’re meant to spend your spare time now.

9. That’s HOW much?!

A person counts dollar bills
[Image Description: A person counts dollar bills]
Accepting the mark-up – or rather the correct, ethical price – that comes with buying responsibly.

10. It seems that plastics are going…

An ocean with plastic waste in it
[Image Description: An ocean with plastic waste in it]
Knowing that it is brilliant that we are finally getting rid of single-use plastics, but also worrying about the multiple-use plastics that are still going to be knocking about and are even harder to break down.

11. … But actually they’re here to stay.

A woman tells us that under 10% of plastics actually gets recycled
[Image Description: A woman tells us that under 10% of plastics actually gets recycled]
By extension, wanting to scream when plastics are labelled as recyclable, as if that invalidates their long-lasting global impact.

12. I’m too busy for this!

Neil Patrick Harris puts his iPad down, then answers his phone, and then appears to answer a can of soda
[Image Description: Neil Patrick Harris puts his iPad down, then answers his phone, and then appears to answer a can of soda]
Realising that ‘busy culture’ contributes a huge amount to wastage and disposability and wanting to slow down as a consequence – and, of course, not knowing where to start.

13. Single-wear outfits = single-use plastics

Two girls are talking and one says 'What a waste. I only got to look cool for two seconds'
[Image Description: Two girls are talking and one says ‘What a waste. I only got to look cool for two seconds’]
No longer being able to appreciate a wedding dress, a red carpet outfit or an influencer’s post on Instagram because you know that outfit is only going to be worn once.

14. Am I doing enough? Am I even doing it right?

A man sweats in a hot desert
[Image Description: A man sweats in a hot desert]
Constantly worrying that you’re practicing what you’re preaching.

Eco-Warriors are a particular breed. We will not stop trying to save the world from itself, despite the world itself telling us to do the exact opposite and take a hike. Eventually, we are certain, everybody will see that true sustainability is going to be much harder to achieve than simply refusing single-use plastics.