I want to save the planet AND my Christmas traditions
I had just bought eight large silver balls for the new 2.3 metre (7ft for you who haven’t caught onto metric) Christmas tree when I heard Tim Flannery on the radio warning that we were doomed, again.
What struck me about this report, and all the discussion with climate change specialists and professors who teach this stuff, is the continual use of the word “we”.
Me. It’s me. It’s my fault.
When I went into the large retail shop to buy these silver balls, I could see that the fairy lights had been cleaned out at the weekend, and most of the decorations were gone. Either there are people out there who change their Christmas balls every year, or it wasn’t just me who upsized the tree this year.
Yes, shoot me now, I upsized the plastic tree this year. For no other reason than to have a large, attractive tree at Christmas time. I bought new fairylights – battery powered – so I can put the tree wherever I want. And yes, I bought some more decorations, because we only had enough for a 1.25 metre (4ft) tree.
To be fair, not one tree has died for my Christmas. In fact, I’m giving a fig tree to someone (for the sole reason that I can write on the card ‘I give a fig’).
The timing of the release of these findings by Tim Flannery is impeccable. Right about the time when Australians are getting ready to celebrate consumer-ganza, we’re being told ‘we’ have to do something about climate change.
As I threw out the plastic that the eight large silver balls came in, the guilt hit me like the heat wave.
To be fair, I’m doing quite a bit. Almost every bulb in our house is a low voltage bulb, and the halogens we never use. We have ceiling fans and pedestal fans and we only use the aircon to cool the house down so we can go to sleep at night.
We have those things that switch the power off at the wall so our televisions don’t leach power by being on standby. We use green power rather than the cheaper standard power.
I drive a 1.6 litre car, my husband has a diesel ute. I work from home – no commute guilt for me.
Our power tools are rechargeable – including the leaf blower, whipper snipper and the mower.
We recycle everything! The yoghurt containers, the cat food containers, bottles, papers, boxes – including the cardboard around the Cadbury chocolate.
And yet ‘we’ are not doing enough to reduce carbon emissions. I felt sick to my stomach listening to one scientist telling me that the frozen tundra was thawing and in 100 years the world will be unrecognisable, (as opposed to how the world looks today compared with 1912, and not because of the heat, but because of social and political changes).
Despite my guilt, I still cut the wrapping paper a bit longer to get a good fold at the edge of the book. I still put a gift tag on it. I might put a ribbon on it. I don’t know. It depends on how bad these climate change scientists make me feel.
Yes, the recipient should be reading e-books, like I do. But he’s 80. He’s not going to read anything online. Mind you, he’s the type of person who gets a letter in the mail and uses the blank side for his own correspondence. Anyone who works in complaints has probably had a response from my father on the letter they sent him. Over the years, he’s used many envelopes to demonstrate one mathematical principle or another to me.
I’m doing my bit.
But I’d like to enjoy Christmas without being made to feel like a true criminal for using wrapping paper and having a few balls on the Christmas tree.
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