07-07-07: what has happened since 7th July 2007 – che è successo dal 7 Luglio 2007   Leave a comment

One key question around most proposed conservation actions – biofuel from corn rather than sugarcane being a paramount example – is how really helpful a given behaviour is when one takes into account its multiple implications. Further instances are biodegradable plastics, throwaway versus washable, reusable towels and many others.
Since 7th July 2007 I have personally adopted two very simple behaviours that appear to have a clearly positive, if absolutely minimal, net contribution on resource conservation.
First of all, I drink water. Tap water as a first option, bottled water in the largest-size bottles available as a second option when tap water is difficult to get or at odds with party behaviours, other drinks only in special occasions where a social value is attached. Beyond the economical and health value, this has implied carrying a canteen around most of the time. This in itself, including the thought of when to fill up, when to drink up and refill or carry along what I have got, has raised my attention to the basic issue of provisioning of water even where it is both plentiful and cheap. A completely new line of thought to consider in my life, making ordinary work days more similar to hiking than I realized before.
Second, when washing hands I wipe them with my own handkerchief I carry along rather than with disposable towels or air dryers. Another reminder of the logistics of carrying things around and the benefits of a little planning when moving around.
The lesson so far is twofold: first, whatever little it does, it helps you pay attention to important things all the time – such as raw materials. Second, a different behaviour from the general habit can be made much, little or no apparent at all and drive different discussions depending on how apparent it is. Any such discussion is useful in getting friends and colleagues to think, as long as zeal is limited.
One of the most interesting learnings from such discussions was that a 12-years old today can come up with the old objection adults used to make to youngsters’ conservation ideas when resource limits were a new notion – the days of the Club of Rome in the mid Sixties last century: "what difference does a single person make anyway?"

Posted January 3, 2008 by Gianluca Marcellino in Notizie e politica

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