Tag Archives: Environment

Ethics

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about ethics. There are numerous ethical lent ‘fasts’, like the Methodist’s Buy Less Live More campaign and the Carbon Fast. I’m currently reading A Life Stripped Bare: My Life Trying to Live Ethically, which a friend lent me, and it is very good. Its about a normal man, who (with a deal with The Guardian) had ‘ethical auditors’ into his home who broke down his lifestyle and described how it was damaging the environment and other people around the world. Him and his wife then take on the challenging task of making their lifestyle ethical. And he wrote about it on the Guardian website before publishing this book.

The auditors really scrutinised everything. Going through his house with a fine tooth comb, criticising practically everything. And most of the time it wasn’t as simple as ‘you need to turn A into B’. The three auditors would have contrasting opinions about different standards of organics, fairtrade products which have air miles, and vegetarianism. Its complicated, and often controversial. There is one chapter in the book which discusses the ethics of having children. There were a number of public letters featured which states how unethical it is to have children. Putting an extra mouth to feed in this world. Putting an extra stress on the already-delicate eco-systems in this world. They stated it was much more ethical to adopt or foster. So far, that is the only section I’ve really had a strong disagreement with. Recycling , buying organic, locally produced food, composting waste, using washable nappies and cutting down on supermarket shops, I can perfectly agree with and accept. Not having children, simply because you don’t want to stretch the world’s resources any further, is a tad extreme. Maybe its just because I work with children, I see how precious their lives are, and outside of work, I get utter joy from spending time with them. It just seems completely obscure to even suggest their should be some sort of licencing system to have children, as the book mentioned. Surely we should make laws to encourage people to cut down on their waste and to minimise the amount of natural resources the average person uses, before we start doing as China has done, and restrict the number of children!

Another subject that this book has made me think about more, is waste disposal. The writer asks his local authority, if he can accompany his rubbish to his final resting place. He is utterly horrified at his experience, and after reading about it, I think it is a trip that most people should take. It makes you consciously think about what you’re throwing out and how it is contributing to the massive landfill sites. In particular, it made me think about the amount of waste I create in work. In my working area there are two bins, one of domestic waste and one for clinical waste. They both get emptied twice during every shift. And most of the time, especially the clinical one, they’re fairly full. That is four bags per shift, per patient. The clinical ones get burnt, and I’m not sure how that compares ethics wise to dumping the domestic waste in the landfill sites. But still, its a heck of a lot of waste. A lot of plastic. But due to infection control and patient safety, I can’t see any easy solution. I have to wear gloves and an apron most of the time when dealing with patients. And I do try to recycle the aprons – if I’ve not used it for much and then I need to walk away from the area (and you can’t walk around with your apron on), then I take it off and save it for when I come back, instead of throwing it away. But if you’ve been changing a babies nappy (or worse), then you really *can’t* use the same apron to do IVs. Its just one of the many examples where in terms of the environment, I seem to be acting unjustly, but I know I must do the best for my patient.

Anyway, for lent this year I’ve signed up for the daily Buy Less Live More emails. And I’m also generally trying to make a conscious effort to cut back on my supermarket spenditure and plastic bag culmination. I’ve found a local fruit and veg shop which is closer to and better than, my local supermarket. And today I got v.excited when I found an organic market in town, and was able to sample and buy local cheese, apples and cider. 🙂

Green Points

Yesterday I went to Tescos to stock up on food, and as usual, when I came to the till, I opened my rucksack to pack the food into it. The cashier then asked if I had a clubcard, and I said ‘yes, why? do you need it now?’. She assured me she didn’t need it now, she was just wondering. So, I continued to pack up my shopping. And once I’d packed and paid for everything, I examined my receipt, only to realise that she’d given me ‘2 green points’. I was really chuffed – I got green points!!!! But then I thought for a moment and realised that if I can get green points for doing it that time, I should have got green points all the other times I’ve done it!

Dave pointed out the annoyance of their green points a few weeks ago, because he too never received green points for not using a plastic bag. On their publicity, it said that you had to re-use an old plastic bag, which was fine, but what about it you don’t use any plastic bags?! If you only use rucksacks and/or bags for life (which get re-used)?! I took the opportunity over on Daves blog to rant about this apparent ridiculousness. I was hoping to find the time to contact Tescos, to say ‘well done for being ecofriendly, but why can’t I get green points when I don’t use any plastic bags?!?!’ But now, it appears that I can actually get clubcard points for not using a single plastic bag. And it is annoying that I haven’t been given them before.

I am perfectly aware that Tescos, and other big multinational companies use such schemes as clubcard points to control their customers and encourage them to spend even more money in their stores. But I do have to give them some credit on the green points scheme – at least they are making *some* effort to be ecofriendly. Or at least, they would be if their cashiers knew enough about it, and actually gave you the points!

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. I am still alive. Just a bit busy.

Environmentally Friendly Day

I did something today that I’ve been meaning to do for several months. I went to the market and bought my fruit, veg and cheese there. My Dad thinks Swansea Market is fabulous and is always telling me I should use it more. I know it is environmentally better – the food is probably locally grown, so it supports local farmers and there are less air miles on the food. And it means that i’m not supporting big, supermarkets as much (I still had to go to the supermarket to get the rest of my food, but I didn’t spend as much). The cheese I bought is a mature cheddar called ‘Snowdon’ and looks quite exciting. The only problem with the market is I always get lost when I’m in it. I lose my bearings and always come out in a completely different place to where I think i will do. But, I suppose the more I use it, the better I’ll get.

What was equally exciting as the market shopping trip, was the cycle ride there. I haven’t riden my bike properly since i fell over coming down Pen y fan and strained a ligament in my knee. It was too painful to ride on it, and I think numerous friends would have shouted at me lots if i tried to! But, it hasn’t hurt for the past couple of weeks, so I decided to brave it on my bike. I removed the rain cover, dug my helmet out, and set off. I was doing absolutely fine, until I got to Ryddings Park Road, when I discovered that my back brake wasn’t working properly. Most Swansea readers will know that this isn’t particularly the best road to discover this on – its rather steep! I was there, zooming down this hill, trying to slow myself down with my front brake, but not wanting to do so too forcefully, for fear of flying over the handle bars!!! Oh bugger.

It was ok. I made it to the bottom in one piece. And I mentioned it to a housemate when I got home who worked out what the problem was and figured that a piece of duck tape would solve it. Fingers crossed!

This evening I’ve been to a People and Planet meeting, so over all i feel it has been quite an evironmentally friendly day. 🙂