This is a question that my green conscience devil has been asking from my left shoulder whilst my green conscience angel is sitting on my right shoulder urges me towards more environmentally friendly ways and puts causes such as the World Land Trust and the plight of bumble bees in front of me. After all, I don’t have any children to leave the planet to, no one is likely to remember me when I am gone, and that is just fine.
He (I am assuming the devil is male) asked that question again this morning whilst I was listening to Farming Today. There was an interview with a dairy farmer who was thinking of leaving the business after the price they were being paid for their milk was reduced by 3 1/2p per litre. Over the last twelve months I have become increasingly concerned about the amount of food imported and the loss to the rural communities with the reduction in UK agriculture. I therefore studiously gaze at labels in Waitrose before making a purchase, buy British whenever possible (bananas are not an option in the UK so I buy Fairtrade) and don’t buy imported produce just because it is out of season here. Imagine my face when the lady in question admitted that when she bought cheese from the supermarket she didn’t look to see the country of origin! For goodness sake, if I can spend time looking at labels when there is no direct effect on my livelihood I expect that those in the industry would do their bit to support themselves and their colleagues. Hence my question, why should I care?
I had a discussion along similar lines with a work colleague today about air travel – I won’t see the worst of the effects of global warming, and I have no children, why am I trying to make a difference for his future generations. I don’t know the answer, I just know that if there is a choice I need to do the right thing, whether that is buying local food, supporting good causes or not flying around the world. I need to do the right thing whatever sphere it is in, because I have a choice whereas others around the world don’t.
I apologise if I am preaching, but if people directly affected don’t take the time to think about their actions, how are we going to persuade those who are not directly affected to change their actions, or at least think about them more?