Aug 07 2006

Reduce, reuse, recycle – yes, it’s hip to be green

Published by at 11:17 am under Comms

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Whilst Tommy Sheridan has, no doubt, spent this past weekend celebrating, I spent much of my two days traversing my immediate neighbourhood in the interests of Freecycle.

Freecycle, if you’ve not heard of it, is one of those no-brainer community initiatives that really should have started among the hills and ‘Painted Ladies’ of San Francisco rather than its actual inception in the dusty grids of Tucson. Having moved house a fortnight ago, I’ve been Freecycling like mad to try to get rid of all the stuff we’ve realised we no longer need and don’t have the room for.

So far over the past few days I’ve Freecycled a tumble drier, a filing cabinet, three rolls of bubble-wrap, a never-used electric carving knife, some childrens’ chairs and miscellaneous dishes, pots and pans. Not a bad reduction in my own personal landfill quotient, and the new owners are delighted.

Of course my weekend’s antics are unlikely, in and of themselves, to reverse the effects of climate change. But we’ve got to start somewhere. My eight-year-old underlined that to me a couple of weeks ago, when I suggested we take the car on a one-mile errand because it was raining. The reply?

“Can’t we just walk and take an umbrella, Dad? We really should be reducing our carbon footprint, after all.”

The IPPR suggested last week that we’ve become over-exposed to ‘climate porn’ – that we’re unable to see the forest for the trees, if you’ll pardon the choice of metaphor. I think this is very astute; too often we see climate change as a political football, rather than a compelling issue in and of itself. Look at the gathering storm surrounding Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and the suspect origins of last months’s YouTube spoof.

Back to the point, though. Individual actions might not, in isolation, save the world. But they don’t cost anything either. As a parent, it surely has to be my duty to teach my kids to reduce, reuse, recycle until it becomes second nature. And, as anyone who’s listened to Jack Johnson’s The Three R’s recently will know, it makes you feel pretty good too. So go on, get Freecycling.

A footnote: It’s WWDC-day today. Anyone else hanging out for this afternoon’s Stevenote? Any bets as to today’s One More Thing? Here’s hoping for something exciting.

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