But at least we tried.
I watched a show in the ABC recently about airlines and globalisation. There was a scene and a story about the largest cargo depot in the world, it was in Hong Kong.
They were moving general freight, horses, perishables like lobster, crabs and snails, exotic fruits from Brazil and even the little titbits we order off eBay. It was madness.
This cargo depot was a wide as it was high with a matrix of ten story high conveyor belts and storage bays – it was the size of Wimbledon stadium they say.
Every piece of freight was wrapped tight in plastic or boxes of polystyrene – millions of them.
It’s been about 5 years since I have been considering packaging before purchasing and in doing so I have changed my diet and tastes to suit. I haven’t eaten kale in about 4 months as my local shop now puts it in plastic first… which I think is pretty silly as it’s one pretty tough old leaf!
The #plasticfreeproduce campaign focuses on large supermarkets – especially Woolworths, where they have adopted an automated process packing loose hardy products in plastic bags to increase their margins. Anita Horan is the campaigner behind reversing these detrimental actions by the big corporations and is doing a great job at the source.
During Plastic Free July I boasted that we only bought and threw away about 50 pieces of plastic for the whole month. But what I realised later, when I scavenged for old boxes to line my van walls for insulation, was that although I didn’t pick up my veggies with plastic, they had arrived to the shop in masses amounts of plastic & polystyrene.
Masses of polystyrene made into tiny boxes for my broccoli, asparagus, beans and corn! Half of those veggies would have been perfectly alright in cardboard boxes I would assume?
I know some fruit and veg are fragile and need good care. I know that the farmers market every Sunday have local produce and I thought that shopping at my local fruit barn, instead of Woolworths, I was purchasing un-wrapped produce 9/10 times, but alas it is not to be.
What if there was a box return or a box cycle. Heavy duty transport boxes that circulate the world or local area moving stuff around safe and sound – that’s one idea anyway…I have more.
Its times like these that I just I want to give up. I said to my partner during the show…
“I think we are fighting a losing battle”
Then I remembered the wise blog post back in August from my entrepreneurial spiritual guide Seth Godin….
“I think we are an outfit headed for extinction”
(So said Hemingway on seeing fake books in his fancy hotel room.)
Of course we are. We always are. We’re always headed down for the count. It’s unsustainable. We corrupt our best stuff, don’t take good enough care of each other, ignore the truth, make short-term decisions and generally screw it up.
But even though we’re headed for extinction, or perhaps precisely because we are, that doesn’t mean we can’t do our best. It doesn’t mean we can’t set an example, raise the bar and try mightily to do the work that we’re capable of.
It might not work. But at least we tried.