Every few years, a new article comes out about a marketing executive in her 20s from Preston or Newtown who can cram her year’s junk into a mason jar. i wish i was her How carefree she is, how good she looks in her 100 percent cotton denim from a clothes swap program, how pleased she is with herself.
In an ideal world, I would only buy seasonal produce from tanned, smiling farmers who drive their peaches and carrots into town in hybrid vehicles. I whiz around on my bike, the silk dress blowing behind me—something from my capsule wardrobe of 10 pieces, each piece so timeless and well constructed I’ll wear it well into retirement. I would drink vegan organic wine and eat cheese made from cashew nuts. My electric bill would be zero. Zara would collapse without my patronage.
But if you can’t get solar panels for your tiny apartment; when clothes made with Uyghur labor are the only ones you can afford; if you just remember leaving your reusable straw at home after ordering your cold brew; when you just can’t keep up with the truth behind delicately worded greenwashing slogans and commit faux pas after faux pas until you’re certain you’re personally to blame for these skinny polar bears sneaking into residential Canada in search of food , and it’s two in the morning and you’re dumping beeswax parchment paper and chewable toothpaste on AfterPay to ease your crippling eco-guilt — relax and remember it’s pointless.
Two thirds of the CO2 emissions come from 90 companies. Our wallets and intentionally scaffolded inconveniences limit what we can actually do. Years of recycling efforts end up in landfills because RedCycle broke. We can go to marches, play puns, heart-react to anything Greta Thunberg posts, endure almond-milk slats, scour op stores everywhere for workwear, but it doesn’t matter. Unless big corporate CEOs suddenly get a conscience (haha!) without serious government intervention and aggressive environmental reform, my compostable coffee pods and bamboo toothbrushes do little except make me feel a little better.
But when I feel powerless, I remember the eternal wisdom of TikTok therapists and look for things I can control. I scrub the old milk out of my KeepCup, I rinse my yogurt cups before sending them to the recycling center… but you can pick my protein bars out of my cold, dead (probably remarkably well-preserved, thanks to the mummifying effect of my polyester wardrobe) hands. Allow me this one joy.
The Opinion newsletter is a weekly collection of views that challenge, support and inform your own. Login here.
https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/my-keepcup-is-dirty-and-my-dress-cost-27-is-there-any-hope-for-me-20230210-p5cjlx.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_environment What can consumers do in everyday life to create a healthier planet?