It’s not easy being green


One of the easy to spot indicators that you are becoming middle-aged, that you are getting older and grumpier, is that little things really start to bug you. Not the big, earth-shaking issues, just little things really wind you up. This week the thing that has been really getting up my nose is the inane messages that a lot of people seem to have at the bottom of their email, saying something along the lines of: “Please protect our environment – think before you print.”

It’s illogical I know, I’m not even sure why it annoys me, but it does. What could be the issue is that I don’t know anyone who actually prints their emails. It’s a classic case of preaching to the choir. In today’s paperless world, we’re all trying to streamline our lives, travel with hand-luggage only, store everything on the iCloud or Google drive, and minimise our lives to being able to work from a cafe somewhere tropical, armed only with a laptop. Who wants to try and fit a Fuji Xerox MFP in their lives? Not me. I have no intentions of printing any of your emails. But I do want to try and do my bit for the environment. In this article we share with you a few hints and tips on how you can minimise your environmental impact in today’s modern world.

Corporate Social Responsibility

I’m really suspicious of organisations who make a big deal about their extensive Corporate Social Responsibility programs. They employ teams of people who have a lot of meetings and write a lot of reports about how effective their carbon offsetting initiatives are. I was staying at a resort recently near Port Douglas in North Eastern Australia and the owners were telling me that some of their biggest customers are big companies who come there for team-building – because it is an eco-resort it counts towards their Corporate Social Responsibility program. When you are a small business you can actually do things that have an impact. Think about your local community – can you volunteer with a local school to encourage their recycling programs? Can you advocate for improved cycling lanes to encourage people to cycle to work? Can you encourage the local council to convert high-maintenance flower beds into fields of natural grasses?

Global Warming

I recently watched the movie Noah – where Russell Crowe builds and ark and saves the animals of the world. It was a frightening prospect – a world populated by Russell Crowe is far from appealing. However it has renewed my interest in tackling global warming. Unfortunately it is hard to see whether individual actions can have any material impact on a global trend that appears to be driven by our continuing drive to industrialisation. I’m focusing my energy on encouraging governments around the world to take specific action to reduce carbon emissions. There always seem to be other priorities however so we may have to have a Plan B in our back pocket just in case. Someone, somewhere is going to start offering classes on how to build an ark.

Perhaps it’s time to stop being a grumpy old man, stop being annoyed at little things that are beyond my control, and turn this frustration into some positive action that might in some small way help to sustain our environment for future generations.

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