Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Bloggers' Green Conundrum

There is a conundrum, isn't there, for bloggers of green ideas. I am sitting in the Melbourne airport on my way back to Adelaide for a week of visiting friends and family. I am writing this on my battery-powered laptop and next to me is my digital camera and mobile phone. But, in my hand luggage is an Australian Organic Gardener magazine and a book about herbs. In my head is my vegetable and fruit and nut garden, the lovely walk from my house almost everywhere I need to go, my wood-warmed winter days and my porridge cooked on the firebox while I am out giving the chooks their hot, morning feed....

..... In the shiny, polished synthetic corridor beside me here, there is a crazy plastic plane buzzing around above a stand of souvenirs, which also includes a long, furry snake and boxes of billy tea. There are hundreds of lights and big plastic or illuminated signs. A huge TV blares out and people like me congregate as far away from it as we can get. There are lots of people bustling by, pulling bags on wheels and looking very important.

I could have reduced my anxiety about travelling by carbon-spewing aircraft and paid more money to buy something else which claims to make my trip carbon neutral. I did not.

So, how can we reconcile modern life with the sustainable life we try to live? If we could answer this, we would well on the way to convincing others to do the same. Should I stay put in Cygnet and never go past the shores of the island of Tasmania again? Should I discourage all visitors as well? Should I give away my laptop, my online life, my email addresses and my camera?

Such are the questions facing us, the green bloggers of 2010.

7 comments:

Belinda said...

Yes, they are. I suspect we all sit here at times and just shake our heads while trying to process the latest bout of cognitive dissidence caused by modern life clashing with our eco values and for one reason or another we have chosen for modern life to win.

I hope your visit to family and friends is full of joy.

Kind Regards
Belinda

Gavin said...

Hi Kate,

Great post, love your thinking, however carbon-spewing aircraft are not the only way to travel in this day and age. There are still ships (spirit of Tassie), which I would guess would use a lot less carbon emissions than aircraft. Hey, I would even jump on a sailing ship to come and visit if it made you feel better. After all, that is how the convicts got there!

I also don't believe that we need to give up our modern devices, we just need to stop buying new stuff before the old ones wear out, and begin to design stuff to last again!

Keep blogging mate, just switch to GreenPower if you haven't already to clear your conscience.

Gav x

chaiselongue said...

Enjoy your visit to friends and family! Difficult questions, though... I'm so lucky, living in Europe I can visit my family by train, so I never fly and haven't for forty years. I couldn't give up the internet, though.

Kate said...

Gavin, I could catch the ferry and drive for at least one day either side but I am not sure that is the answer either.

Did you see the thing on TV about the man's mini hydro power in Tasmania? That is definitely the way for Tasmania.... there is a lot of flowing water here. The environment stays in tact and just s bit of river runs through his system then back to the river .... a perfect scheme.

AlexF said...

Just focus on the things that really matter. Sure your camera uses battery power, but its total carbon footprint is tiny -- and it does _not_ add up: even if you took a million pictures every day it still wouldn't add up to more than about two minutes of driving a car once per year. Flying, now that's a big one, but you don't fly much anyway, and it would surely be just as bad to drive all the way to adelaide via the ferry right?

Patrick said...

Should you buy anything to make your trip 'carbon neutral'? No.

Should you never travel again? No.

Should you think before you travel and do it as little as possible? Yes.

Should you discourage others from travelling? No, but you should respect those who choose not to.

Should you give away your electronics? No, but you should make them last as long as possible, before buying replacements. When you buy replacements, you should buy as simple ones as possible, and choose for lower energy consumption and fewer toxic materials.

As a rule, the less money you spend and the fewer things you buy, the greener you are.

Kate said...

Thank you, Patrick. These are my thoughts exactly. Nice to hear from you again.