Convenience is Killing Our Environment

Remember when the internet and emails were introduced and we were all under the impression that life would be so much easier? (Everyone reading this is old enough to remember that, right?! I’m not that old that I am already banging on about shit that happened so long ago, that nobody in this day and age cares about, am I?!) We no longer had to wait a few days for mail to reach us, or to only be able to do our banking during the (incredibly short) bank opening hours. Life was going to be a piece of cake!

Except, it wasn’t.

Everything just sped up. Deadlines were bought forward. Stress levels went through the roof. Everyone expected everything thing almost instantly. Patience became a thing of the past, along with face to face business and social interactions.

With the availability of everything at our fingertips, we all became so incredibly busy. So busy that we needed more convenience to get through our hectic lives. Groceries being delivered to our doors, self-service checkouts, on-the-go just about anything, single use containers, cutlery, plates and bowls.

Because everything was becoming so available, there was also a lot of competition for goods and services providers which meant things became cheaper. Whoever could provide the quickest, cheapest products usually took control of the market.  What these companies did to be able to provide those items so quickly and easily is often overlooked.

Unfortunately, quick and easy usually means nasty on the environment - plastics, harsh chemicals, non-biodegradable, poor quality, short functional life, destined for landfill, causing pollution. Often these products are made in places where there are minimal to no environmental standards. That also means it takes a lot of packaging, transport and energy to get it to your door.

We can’t just blame the corporations for wrecking the environment either. They are simply supplying what there is already demand for from the general population. Everyone wants quick and cheap, so that’s what they deliver.

Around the home, most people choose convenience over the environment on a daily basis. How often do you use your dryer rather than your clothes line to dry your clothes? How much of the rubbish you send to landfill consists of food or garden waste which could otherwise be used on the garden? (It is estimated 50% of landfill waste is food and green waste in Brisbane.) How often do you select environmentally friendly cleaning products in the supermarket, which are usually slightly more expensive, over standard products?

The point is, it is understandable how we have gotten to this point of choosing convenience over the environment, but we can’t go on turning a blind eye to the harm we are causing. We are making the environment very unwell. As a species, we depend on it being healthy to survive.

So what can we each do to turn things around? We can buy products which are ethically sourced and are kinder to the environment. We can refuse single use items by either taking our own reusable ones or by eating in at places, rather than taking away. We can be okay with spending a little more if it means that we are looking after nature.

Take five more minutes out of your day to pull out weeds, rather than spraying them with chemicals. Cook a healthy meal rather than having a microwave dinner. Recycle and upcycle items that would otherwise go to landfill.

Being kind to the environment is not always convenient, but it is worthwhile. Necessary, in fact. Plus, it’s very fulfilling!

Are you choosing the environment over convenience? How?