We’d always thought we were doing our bit for the environment. We were brought up in a household where it was considered normal to grow your own veg, compost stuff, take empty bottles to the bottle bank, buy second hand things, put on a jumper if we were cold and generally “make do and mend”. Back in the 1980s Caroline even did her first bit of activism by writing to Margaret Thatcher about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the hole in the ozone layer!
Fast-forward to 2017 and we were happily sorting our recycling, attempting to grow a few vegetables in the garden, and thinking everything was generally fine and that’s all we needed to do to be eco-friendly. We were vaguely aware of “global warming”, but seeing as people had been talking about the “greenhouse effect” since we were in school back in the 1990s, it wasn’t something we gave much thought to, naively presuming “they (the government) have known about the problem for decades – they must be doing something about it, so we don’t need to worry”.
Then in January 2018 everyone started talking about Blue Planet 2 and plastic waste became a huge issue. This coincided with Caroline receiving a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust newsletter that mentioned Waste Free February. Both of us signed up and aimed to minimise our waste for the whole of February. I think this was the main catalyst for us. During that month we learned so much about waste and recycling. We put into practice everything we learned and carried on our “waste free journey” so that soon it became a habit and striving to reduce our waste became a big part of our lives.
One of the things we quickly realised is that everything is connected. It’s not just about stopping plastic bottles ending up in the sea, it’s being mindful of the impact of our actions on nature and the climate crisis. In October 2018 we were shocked by the headline “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN”, which was the result of the IPPC report. We were amazed this appeared to only be headline news in the mainstream media for a day, then there was hardly any mention of it, which added to our concern.
Around this time, we started paying more attention to the news and every week there seemed to be another depressing story about the depletion of nature and the effects of the climate crisis, but this wasn’t matched by political action.
We carried on doing as much as we could to lessen our footprint, by doing things like shopping in zero waste shops, trying to avoid buying new stuff, eating more organic and local food and driving less, all the time worrying that we weren’t really making much difference to such a global emergency. Then in May 2019 Jane saw a post about a local Extinction Rebellion protest march in Marlborough. We’d been impressed by the huge protest in London and saw this as an opportunity to get involved and take meaningful action in our local area.
Joining the march in Marlborough was a good remedy for our growing eco-anxiety. It was encouraging to see so many likeminded people there who cared enough to take to the streets in desperation to demand our government takes urgent action on the climate and ecological crises.
Since then we have been motivated to get involved with other local groups trying to do something positive in the face of the climate and ecological crisis, such as planting hedges and lobbying our council. We have also begun writing regularly to our MP. As being “eco-worriers” has become part of our lives, we’ve realised we live in a bit of a bubble and the majority of people simply don’t realise (or want to accept) how bad the climate and biodiversity crises are, or they think it’s too big an issue for them to make any difference.
We hope that if enough people realise how serious the situation is, and how much worse it is likely to get if we as individuals and our global leaders do not change our behaviour, it is not too late to make a difference – if we act now!
We understand most of you reading this lead busy lives and have enough to worry about without having to think about saving the planet, but we believe that doing nothing is not an option. For too long a lot of us have presumed someone else will fix climate change, or thought there’s no point even trying when huge countries like China and the US don’t seem to be doing much, but the reality is we all have a part to play in shaping the future of our planet.
Our aim with EcoBabble is to make it easier for you to become more eco-friendly in your daily life. We’ve done the hard work and tried and tested different methods, so you don’t have to spend time researching every single topic. We will try to simplify things and share easy to implement tips with you, so that without too much effort you can live more sustainably and help make the world a better place for future generations.