Recently I went to a friend’s house and was introduced to someone as an “eco warrior”. And, I have to say, I was a bit taken aback by the label. Although, I’m obviously passionate about environmental issues, to be honest, I was actually a little troubled by this title.
Firstly, referring to me as an “eco warrior” paints me as some kind of hero.
I’m not a hero. I’m a normal, bog-standard, everyday person. With flaws – oh so many flaws. Yes, I try my best to not bring trash into my house. But, my green credentials are far from exemplary. I use a computer more than is necessary (facebook!!) and, even though I strive to be zero waste…I drive a car, I take long showers – actually, I waste too much water in general, my vege garden is a nightmare – well, I’m not even sure I can technically call it a vege garden anymore (do weeds and a giant ageing rosemary bush count?). And, despite being appalled by dairy industry practices and the impact they have on our environment, I’m still buying butter and cheese.
So, no, I’m not a hero. And I think that calling me that doesn’t help our planet one iota. Putting someone up on a pedestal makes that person seem extraordinary and that what they are doing is unattainable to mere mortals. But, the stuff that I’m doing? Buying food at the bulk store, getting things secondhand, choosing glass, metal and wood over plastic, bringing my own bags and containers, cutting down on purchases in general? It doesn’t require superhuman strength and it’s something that everyone can do (okay, if you live out in the middle of nowhere, the bulk store might be tricky – but the rest of it? – totally doable).
So, if you haven’t made a start with zero waste, it’s not too late. If you want to think of folks who are already on their way with this lifestyle as heroes, go right ahead…but you’d best have a phone box in the vicinity for a quick change.
Because if I’m a hero, you are too…you just have to put your cape on.