A few days ago, we arrived in our office flooded with party balloons announcing a coming corporate event.
It looked amazing, it was for sure a tedious job to plan, and breating in helium made our coffee break one of the funniest times I had so far. But when I was asked for feedback on the campaign, my wish was that the decision-making had considered an environmental, waste management perspective.
The problem, when you work in the sustainability field or when you try implementing responsible actions on a daily basis at home, is that each action becomes a decision that will hold an environmental impact.
For instance, in a balloon party, apart from the colourful fun that I see, I also think single-use plastic, ephemeral pleasure, and increase in waste management (add up plastic pollution for a release of helium balloons on outdoors celebrations).
I have become over time a Party Pooper.
The one who will spoil fun with environmental concerns.
I do not like goodie bags anymore, especially those full of plastic crap or unhealthy snacks. I am especially very crititical in exhibitions where people run towards the freebies, the 100th USB stick, stress ball or branded pen they can collect for free like a treasure hunt. This was especially painful to witness in Dubai where many would visit our stand asking without guilt what things we could give them as the only thing that mattered to them.
This has become even clearer to me over the last Holidays season: I did not want to buy crappy plastic things for the sake of marketing, for example all these branded advent calendars, knowing that 2/3 of it would go straight into the trash (and the other 1/3 would be forgotten as meaningless toys to be trashed eventually, too). It can surely be heartbreaking for our son who gets his share of peer pressure in school: I do not want to buy poor-quality clothes for him knowing the origins of production, the expected working conditions and the amount of chemicals that have been used to paint the figures of his favourite cartoon characters on it.
(In the meantime, he plays recycling, draws trucks that circulate on non-polluting biogas, and knows how solar panels work - I guess I am not totally wrong, here, either)
The paradox in my situation is however funny:
As an environmentalist, my actions are also looked at with a lot more considerations.
As I am trying to implement the right things, I am also scrutinized and pointed at for things that would be deemed "environmentally-unfriendly". For example, I dared coming once to work with a Starbucks plastic re-usable cup, which was obviously a double blasphemy to many (Starbucks is evil obviously, but to my defend the drink I picked was properly disgusting).
I have never been the one to cast the first stone, mostly because I am quite aware of my own limitations and the room for improvements in my life. And until I become the incarnation of green gods on Earth, I will make mistakes, sometimes even without knowing I made any, sometimes in pure counsciousness.
But working by example for topics such as environment or sustainability is important, so I might have to tighten my principles one step further and embrace my party-pooping skills.
What do you think?
Have you been confronted to this kind of discussions or considerations at home or at work?