Who can give me absolution? Please contact me!


Earth Overshoot Day – my footprint is deep

I wrote this blog, because I was once again shocked. Last Thursday was “Earth Overshoot Day” – the 20th of August 2015. 1993 this embarrassing holiday was on the 21st of October. This is the day when we have mathematically consumed all the resources of the year, we now live on the tick of Mother Earth’s gifts to us.

To quote the linked page: “In less than eight months, humanity has used up nature’s budget for the entire year, with carbon sequestration making up more than half of the demand on nature.”

My example: me

I’d like to present my positive “petty bourgeoisie” in some examples:

  • It seems to me that I own around 50 jute bags, helping me to avoid plastic bags.
  • Before I prepare meat, I ask the butcher about the whole life of the animal, hoping to find out about happy moments in its life
  • Furthermore I don’t own a car and I do 90 % of my shopping by bike

My sessions under the shower are also limited. I have even installed water-saving equipment for the sink, so that more air swirls into the flowing water.

NeverthelessI can only bear the TV news by disapprovingly shaking my head, when I learn about the next dead gorilla, victim of deforestation in the Brazilian rainforest, when I hear that Shell continues drilling in the Arctic or that the Chinese disaster in Tianjin with masses of toxic gases inflicts great damage on humans and the environment.

Once in this kind of depressive mood, I go ahead with this topic. Maybe you have an idea how I could get relief?

My petty bourgeoisie is a tragicomedy

Although I know about the global overexploitation, I regularly regret the setbacks on my moral claims:

  • I use fabric softener, because it simply smells so wonderful.
  • I don’t care much about the fate of the chicken that delivered the egg for my cake I love to eat around the corner.
  • Although I don’t produce any fumes with a car, I have to admit that airplanes are very convenient to reach my travel destinations!

And yes, I truly love my bathtub, especially in the winter. Also without installing water-saving equipment.

Not only my personal, it is also a business dilemma

Well, the angel and the devil sit on my shoulder and smile foolishly. And that is only the private Sonja Specks.

  • At work I print as little as possible.
  • I like to discuss sense and nonsense of sustainability efforts
  • And I like to put painful topics like environmental safety on the agenda.

I am editor and engineer, happy about the ideas and technical wonders our industry is again and again able to create. But although I once eleminated Chrome VI in pretreatments for can ends, I'm still searching for relief. Still the alternative raw materials I used need to be produced and recycled – if that is more of a help for the environment, I really don’t know!

What about you

What about you? How different is the private person with all his luxurious dilemmas from the business person? Do you know how happy the workers on-site are when you ask for raw materials?

What is your dilemma? Maybe your company states environmental safety in its basic pillars of business – but it is you in person who has no time to find out how much the environment suffers when you order raw materials on the other side of the world.

In my opinion it is easier to deal with the environmental thought related to private rather than business issues. First of all, because we might always feel  too small in the big company we work in. Secondly, our thoughts on environmental safety appear even smaller, more anonymous and certainly secondary – it’s hidden behind the business sense.

Shock but no absolution – what can I do?

I am puzzled, I don’t know how to look critically at my behaviour. I act consciously – most of the times. But when I think that a lot of readers here do the same, are we all clueless in front of the computer now?

Meanwhile I can say writing it down is good for my soul. Maybe I can find absolution for my acting, if somebody who deals with soulexculptations reads the lines. (If so: please write me!)

Just because I think that somebody like this is hard to find, I thought it is a good idea to calculate my CO2-footprint on the page of Global Footprint Network. (As they dont't have a German sponsor, I needed to do the calculation with Swiss data) Just because of me we would need 2.6 more earths! (In Luxembourg 3.8 and in Italy 2.5 earths) Cynical congratulations, Sonja!

How many earths does your lifestyle cost? Please let me know, I am really curious!

Ironically, my café offering the great cake is closed, because of summer holidays. At least I don’t need to think about the chicken and the egg – at this moment.

But I cannot find a happy end for this blog. Do you have an idea or a good example how I could feel better?

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