The green endpoint: My green diary

05 February 2007 00:00  [Source: ICB]

My green diary by Penny Wilson

Day one

Baaad day today! I live 64 miles from work on a smallholding. I need to move house to improve carbon footprint - or buy two planets. Or get local job and suffer stimulation/income loss. How to house/feed goats, horses, cat, rabbit, chickens, hedgehogs? Impossible. Call friend and beg spare room for a week. Call house-sitter, beg support - order her not to crank up heating. Now late for work, so speed up motorway @ 90mph. Mess up setting on fancy new photocopier/printer/space rocket and fell a forest. Recycle cups, plastic bottles, newspapers and a truckload of email printouts (ok - another slip-up). What to do with this polystyrene thing that housed canteen lunch? Must email operations director. Friend rifles my cosmetics and ditches plastic containers with foil stuff inside. Destined for landfill. Environment editor suggests finding green alternatives, including deodorant. Must ensure I sit next to her all week! MUST try harder tomorrow.

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Day two

Walk to work. Aaaagh! Snow! Cannot help noticing landscape littered with polystyrene chunks/plastic bags. Nasty! Discover colleague is ICIS London's "green guardian" (I didn't know we had one!). She gives me rundown on recycling. But Starbucks' waxed paper cup and plastic lid causes debate, as do plastic knives, forks, foil wrappers, banana skins, ridiculously fancy plastic box carrying Spanish grapes (horrified where greed has led me) MUST call operations director. Desk now resembling landfill site with confusing ungreen STUFF. Shop for dinner - tough finding anything not wreathed in plastic (not many carry recycling sign) or flown in from Timbuktu. Settle for canned soup (ho hum). Use washing-up water to douse indoor plants.

Day three

Oh no! TV on standby mode all night. Slip to work along ungritted pavements. At least snow disguises discarded polystyrene and plastic bags. Why can't we go the way of Ireland, which charges customers €0.15 ($.020) for a plastic bag? The number used there has plummeted by 1bn a year. Swear at arrogant gas-guzzling 4x4s spewing muck. Tax them more! Now! Then grit pavements for smug greenies. Desk increasingly smelly. Really must call operations director. Dinner? Aha! Cheese produced only 100 miles away! Why don't shops re-introduce deposits on plastic and glass bottles and give a refund voucher when the empty is returned - like in Belgium? I remember surviving my student days on refunds!

Day four

Book plane ticket London to San Francisco for Informex. Do I really need to fly? Yes. Need to meet readers. Ditto trips later to Singapore, Taiwan, Shanghai, Houston, New York. Perhaps possible to cut air travel, but it will test relationships. Roll on alternative fuels. Unsure, though, about flying trans-Atlantic fuelled by manure!

Day five

Operations director and green guru deliberate over desk debris and conclude that we don't truly understand what can be recycled where. Contractors haven't complained so far about waste, which raises suspicions. Hello? Where are they taking it? Will follow the trucks in 007-style. Get myself embroiled in green committee, waste compactors, company conference. Drive home. Bliss! Reflect:

I need two hours per day more to be green - walking, investigative shopping, composting, washing/sorting stuff, recycling waste...

  • Going green needs to be made easier/cheaper.
  • Supermarkets must play major part in green fight.
  • We all need clearer education in what to do We're spoilt and geared to rushed life.
  • I need a compost heap. I need to move closer to work. Must have car fuelled with LPG gas.
  • My company/colleagues can practise being more green - daily.
  • Manufacturers/suppliers/chemical industry need to work harder at biodegradable packaging. And stop wrapping everything up. Who needs three Israeli nectarines (in England, in winter) packaged in plastic netting with a waxed label trumpeting healthy eating?
  • The world needs much more "stuff" that composts down fast. And we have to move faster on eliminating chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

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