People on holiday are much less likely to behave in eco-friendly ways. Even if you normally would do basic stuff such as recycling or trying to save energy, when you’re on holiday the “I’m doing this just to enjoy myself”-way of thinking kicks in. This is something we discussed in one of my modules at UCL called environment and society, and it really made me reflect on my own behaviour.
As you all probably have noticed, I have not written anything for this blog in a long time. I have had exams here in London at UCL but besides that I have been in a bit of a holiday-mode. Now enjoying my last weeks in London before going back to Finland in June!
My everyday routines are fairly eco-friendly: I recycle, I bicycle, I try to save electricity eg. by not using a dryer for neither clothes or my hair, I buy locally produced food and I shop very little. But when I’m in my holiday-mode I might use a plane to get somewhere, which basically is the largest single ‘contribution’ an individual can make to CO2 emissions. I am much more sloppy with recycling, I focus way more on relaxing and just get rid of waste in the easiest possible way. I even go shopping a bit! And I also don’t update this blog as much. Holidays actually have a significant impact on our environment, not just on the climate but there are many places where tourists litter and destroy nature. This is reason enough to try to change the general “I’m on holiday the environment doesn’t matter”-attitude.
Eco-friendly behaviour is interesting because it can be so very inconsistent. I still think changing individual behaviour is a very important aspect of sustainable development, which is basically the reason I have kept this blog. The problem is that values and actions don’t always go hand in hand: take the typical example of smoking, everyone knows it is bad but so many still do it! Thinking that this eco-behaviour always will be initiated by the individual is naive. Fines for littering, practical recycling facilities where it’s made super-easy to recycle and more expensive flight tickets would certainly change our behaviour to be more consistent. These fines are still obviously easier to implement if the general attitude towards sustainability is positive, so keep on with the small eco-friendly everyday deeds!
I have soon written about many of the everyday practices I consider sustainable which also gives me a reason to take a break from writing this blog. In short I have told everyone to always prefer second-hand to new, cut down on eating meat, dairy products and rice, buy locally produced food and avoid frozen products, consider your electricity use and cut down on unnecessary things, buy from companies with a transparent ethical supply chain, bicycle, travel by train and not plane and remember to enjoy nature because it’s fantastic!!
I hope that all my dear readers will continue thinking about their everyday practices and try to see the connection between individual actions and larger environmental problems. After all, if you or I do not anything about environmental problems we don’t like, what gives us the mandate to ask others to fix something we’re all collectively responsible for? No one, or very few, feels responsible for climate change and environmental degradation which is a major reason to why the problems exist. However, I know many problems are partly my fault. When I complain about the air quality in London, I am partly blaming myself for it because I used Ubers that made the air worse. Dear future generations, and dear future myself who will have to live in the world that I accidentally pollute a bit too much; I am really sorry! I will try my best to fix it. I’ll cycle instead of Uber next time. I hope you do too!