Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hypocritical Environmental Footprints

Hypocritical values, beliefs and environmental practices

[Note: This post is a bit of a soul searching type of post. I'm not criticising anyone or anybody or any corporations - it is merely a reflection post regarding hypocritical behaviour and my thoughts exploring the topic.]

Have you ever thought about your values and beliefs and compared them against the way you actually live your life? None of us are infallible and we are all flawed to some extent. After all, if you believe in the bible then Adam and Eve were perfect until Adam gave Eve a forbidden apple to eat. This led to their fall from grace into a world of sin and punishment. And here we are, in the modern world of sin and punishment according to the bible.

Some priests are a bunch of hypocrites. I won't elaborate much, only to say that priest molesters have been able to get away with their crimes for several centuries and have only recently been acknowledged by the church as being uncondoned behaviour.

My own hypocritical behaviour

Before I start commenting on hypocritical behaviour around me, I 'll be the first to confess that I'm also a hypocrite. In the past few years I've donated to many charities but predominantly animal welfare charities such as RSPCA, WSPA and Doggie Rescue. However I still eat animal products and I still eat meat. To combat the hypocritical feelings that I get, I try to minimise my meat intake and increase the amount of vegetables and fruit that I eat instead. Does it make sense to try and save a bear from bear baiting and homeless dogs only to eat plenty of pork or beef that are being slaughtered potentially inhumanely? Eating red meat leads to heart problems right? Health issues aside, I've been feeling sorry for the cows, sheeps, pigs and chicken that are being slaughtered for our consumption.

I profess to love nature and the environment however I still fly for holiday destinations, I still drive and I still buy useless, pretty junk to fill up the house every now and then. One day-all those objects will be in landfill and yet I still occasionally engage in consumeristic behaviour.

To counteract that, I try to use public transport where possible, I try to compost my food scraps, I try to buy locally grown produce to reduce the food footprint of my meals and support local businesses. I try to grow a lot of plants on the balcony and indoors, I try to pick up rubbish that are polluting the ground and waterways even though  it's not directly polluting my own living space, I try to use glass storage containers and metal cutlery to reduce my plastic containers and plastic wrap usage. I try to buy in bulk and avoid food packaged into smaller servings using more plastic packaging. I recycle all that I can. When I'm running the shower or kitchen sink for hot water, I save the cold water from the taps which I use to water my plants.

When I buy a house, I'm going to install a rain water tank so that the water isn't wasted into storm water drains which eventually pollutes our ocean.

1kg of beef and the journey to get there

Sure there are millions of publications linking red meat to cancer and cardio problems but why are we still eating so much meat? Did you know that to slaughter 1kg of beef it has the following environmental footprint:

1kg beef = 100kg hay + 4kg grain = 100,000 litres of water

Environmental hypocrites

A few corporations have been very hypocritical. One firm that I know, prints out hundreds of photocopied environmental propaganda to pimp out the image that they're environmentally friendly by participating in Earth Hour. So by having the lights turned off for 1 hour out of 8760 hours in a year which is 0.0001% of the year, they're evironmentally friendly?

Contrast that against the policy of providing no recycling bins, no greywater/rainwater collection, no composting, no solar panels and for the sake of 1 Earth Hour, hundreds of photocopied brochures are handed out to create landfill rubbish. That's just one example. How many more are out there?

Reducing our hypocritical evironmental footprints

If you have ever tried to reduce your carbon footprint on the environment, here are a few ideas to contemplate:

* Not eating 1kg of beef means you help save 100,000 litres of water. That is, a piece of steak on your place is around 25,000 litres of water. Imagine how many vegetarian meals 25,000 litres of water can grow
* Eat smaller fish because larger fish are predators that feed on smaller fish. Eating larger fishes have a wider environmental footprint
* Using public transport where possible
* Eat less meat
* Grow plants =)
* Avoid food with excessive packaging
* Decline the plastic bag
* Bring a portable environmental shopping bag with you
* Reuse all your bags for as long as possible
* Compost
* Buy glass containers (not only are they BPA free but your plastic usage will diminish)
* Use silicone baking mats instead of baking paper
* Recycle as much as you can, reuse other people's dumped furniture and bits and pieces

Anyway, they're just some ideas. If some corporations tried a bit harder to be authentically environmentally friendly rather than just media friendly, then we might actually see a remarkable reduction in their carbon footprint and greenhouse gases.

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