The revolution will not be convenient

I was browsing apps the other week, trying to find something to make sustainability-type decision making easier.

When I go shopping now, there’s a stream of questions and options I try to balance, on the spot, with limited expertise on which would be the ‘better’ choice. Things like:

I’m really thirsty and don’t have any water with me – is it better to buy a glass bottle or a plastic one? Glass is better as it could be re-used, and recycled more easily, but it’s heavier, which leads to higher transport emissions, and really it would be best to stop somewhere and have a drink in a mug or a cup that can be washed and won’t be thrown away….

Is it better to buy the apples, grown in England, than the berries? Even if the apples are wrapped in plastic and a foam container? Even if it’s a pack of six and I’ll only eat four this week so will have to throw two away?

My purse is starting to break and I *need* a new one. Which materials should I look for that will last the longest, so I reduce overall consumption? Does it matter what I do with the old one? What are the shops I’m looking at like in terms of ethical responsibility? How do they treat their staff?

And on and on.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to outsource those questions? To push a button and get the answer and follow the right course of action, all without having to think too hard about it.

It would be exceptionally nice. It would be easy.

But I’ve been thinking and thinking about the title of this post and it occurred to me that perhaps this is simply more complicated than that. It requires active participation. If I want to make choices that are better for the planet, I have to do the research, and shop around, and go through the laborious emissions equation when I buy food.

If I really want to live like that, then maybe I should be thinking hard about it. Maybe it’s worth the extra effort.