You might think that changing one person’s habits – and when I say one person I mean you – is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to meeting the great climate change challenge.
The sad thing is that you’d probably be right.
Every little does help though, and I was buoyed this week to see the Anstruther Fish Bar commended for its efforts to reduce single-use plastic and hailed as an environmental champion. All of its packaging and tableware is compostable — a step in the right direction.
I ordered a coffee in Fife House, Fife Council’s headquarters, and was told that I’d have to sit in if I didn’t have a refillable cup. A small inconvenience to me, but I’ll remember next time — another habit-changer.
In fast-food bastion McDonald’s, where speed of production and ease of service is essential, I baulked as I found out plastic straws have been replaced with paper alternatives. I’m not a fan as I reckon it affects taste but even the least eco-minded person could see the benefits.
These small steps alone aren’t going to stem the flow of plastics into the environment but such individual action is worth doing, purely because it’s better than doing nothing.
However, the sheer scale of plastic pollution means something more drastic has to be done at governmental level.
The realisation came to me as I celebrated my daughter’s sixth birthday earlier this month, when the presents were opened and all of a sudden my green, plastic bin was full to the gunnels with a pile of discarded and unnecessary plastic.
The hard truth is that we simply can’t recycle our way out of this mess.
If your kitchen started flooding, you wouldn’t take individual pieces of kitchen towel and start trying to mop it up. You’d have to go straight to the source and cut the water off.
Talk of the ‘climate emergency’ seems to be fashionable at the moment, with the Extinction Rebellion protests in London and the views of Greta Thunberg – the Swedish teenager turned outspoken climate change activist – all over the news.
It can’t be just a fad though. We need a complete culture change to tackle climate change, and it has to start at the very top.