It is that time of year for remembering those who gave their lives so that this country could be free. And indeed remembering those affected by all conflicts.
The number of people still living and remembering the world wars is dwindling and with them dies an attitude that we could do with practising today.
I remember sayings like ‘waste not, want not’ and ‘make do and mend’ being bandied about by older relatives when I was tiny. They were just sayings the ‘oldies’ came out with like ‘little children should be seen and not heard’ which I think we disregarded!
But as much as that latter saying does need disregarding, the others are worth remembrance. Not necessarily to remind us of war, but to remind us of another kind of destruction we are engaged in now; that of the planet. Mostly through our waste and greed.
The respect these people had for their resources during the wars, although born out of the necessity of the times, is something we could definitely do with practising, before there’s no time left to do anything about it.
To older generations who lived with so little, as food, petrol, various provisions and resources were rationed, the thought of wasting food or throwing away something that could be mended, was abhorrent. They became the founders of real recycling!
And we could certainly learn something from their thrifty attitude. Not only because we’re all so penny-squeezed, struggling to afford heating, some even using food banks, but for the wider reason beyond the personal.
For the reason that we soon won’t have any resources left to heat our homes whether we can afford it or not. We will have a desolated planet, no food will grow if we don’t stop polluting the air and the earth. There’ll be no resources left.
The daft thing is we can all make such a big impact on slowing this rate of destruction down, just by the smallest of adjustments in our everyday consumption and attitude.
– Next time you buy something unnecessary (paper towels are an example) just remember that every time you buy something you destroy something!
– Remember to switch stuff off. And what about limiting yourself to just one set of xmas lights rather than smothering your home in them with vulgar irresponsibility. Natural decorations are just as beautiful.
– Remember jumpers? Put one on (Charity shop for it) and turn the heating down, or off in rooms you don’t use.
– Suggest your workplace does the same. I cannot believe how stiflingly hot shops, offices, libraries, schools are. It’s criminal and sets an irresponsible example.
– Be mindful of every gadget you use – it is costing the earth! Change your mindset on needing that latest technology.
– Get creative, make instead of buy. Make from scratch or with whatever is to hand rather than buying wasteful kits covered in packaging. There are many thrift and making sites for ideas.
– Be conscious of packaging; change your shopping habits to avoid it. Remember those during the war never used it!
The action you take to preserve the planet, or trash the planet, will be the action your children take. And eventually it will be their planet. Consider this: how do you want to leave it for them and their children? What do you want to teach them about preserving resources?
And if you really want to investigate how much you can do without read Mark Boyle who lives without money as a way of demonstrating how we can live in less pollutive ways.
And this weekend it’s worth remembering not only what people went through during the wars, but also their attitude to respecting resources. Perhaps we could make their attitude our own and show our children how to do the same.