I know that this exercise should have been an eye-opening after watching carefully what I’m doing/consuming for a week, but under my circumstances I cannot complete the task like this as my reality is different week to week. Hopefully you will take my insights and reflections over my life in general.
My Excess…Despite all my travelling and being “homeless” for so long, I know I posses a lot of stuff. When I was packing and clearing my flat in London 10 months ago I did get rid off a lot of stuff.
Clothes: For few years now I’m trading clothes with my friends. Living in expensive city like London I never had money to buy new clothes. So I exchange with my friends! I gave away a lot and took some. Those clothes that nobody wanted (some jeans, t-shirts, belts, skirts) I brought to charity shop. Since then I hardly bought any clothes but I have another bag ready for charity shop or friends!
Paper: When I was at university I accumulated lots of paper! Hundreds of copied pages of books, study packs, notes…I always thought it’s too much of a waste (money) and pity to just through it away after graduation. So I sold the study packs for little money (rather symbolic, like £5 or £10 as oppose to new ones for £30). Such business worked well for both sides. All the copied study materials (box of good 50kg!) I donated to my friend who’s teaching Politics and Development studies at Czech university, where the course is still developing so they have lack of resources.
Bike: With a broken heart I gave away my bike which was the best transport ever in London. Not only it’s cheapest and most sustainable option, due to London traffic it’s also the quickest most of the times. I had my bike for over 3 years and so when I lost my flat I had nowhere to store it. I left it outside the charity shop. It only took 10 minutes for two boys to spot it and take it home (funny enough, they lived in the same house as I used to, so my bike didn’t have to move far :))
The rest of the stuff I kept. Many of the practical things (like kitchen utensils, bed sheets etc.) I kept because eventually I have to find a new home and then I don’t want to buy everything again. I really use everything till the end. London life taught me many lessons, one of them being NOT WASTING! So I use the toothpaste till the last bit, shampoo till the last drop, coffee till the last grain…
I know I also kept lots of junk, but it has somehow sentimental value to me. Whether it was a present or a little note left on the mirror…these little things have no value to anybody but me, so forgive me that I keep it…:)
My Consumption…Last week – definitely excessive! And very out of ordinary. I admit that I gave in to luxury of ALL INCLUSIVE 5* hotel in Rhodes Island, Greece, where I participated in Rhodes Youth Forum and Dialogue of Civilizations Forum. I certainly don’t approve wasting so much money in conferences but once it was already paid for I might have just tried to enjoy it. I’ve never been to 5* hotel before and certainly never had ALL INCLUSIVE access so it was all very new and at first very exciting. But soon all this glamour and superficial stuff was just boring. I did love the food but I’m glad I’m out of there cause I would soon explode, had I have so much nice food all the time. Once I discovered the magic of Greek yoghurt with honey and fruits, my everyday breakfast was set. Fish, potatoes, veg, salads, water melon and some crazy colourful desserts were always on the table. And though I ate a lot last week, I never went for second plate (and trust me, this was very tempting!) The amount of wasted food in the hotel was just tragic though. My heart was crying everytime I walked in any of the 7 restaurants available for the guests. I wish Rhodes had lots of people that could benefit from the everyday leftovers. But it’s all glamour and wealth so I can imagine it all went to waste 😦
So now I left the posh life and I am back to reality. Well, food-wise only as I’m still in Greece (in Athens), where I’ve never been before. Being here on my own expenses means I’m on my usual low-budget scheme. It’s fine, I’m used to it. So my diet now consists of coffee (something I will never be able to give up), biscuits and crackers. Oh, and strawberry juice (another of my addictions, but they don’t have it everywhere, so when I see it I buy it). (Un)Luckily, you can’t find strawberry juice in London!
drinking coffee, drafting this post in a notepad and reading book...(great way of spending morning!)
Anyway, cutting down on my consumption from last week will be super easy. Cutting down on my normal consumption will be rather difficult. Since my life is “on a road” (or constantly moving), my diet, my electricity and water consumption as well as recycling is not entirely in my hands. I’m very much dependent on my hosts.
Recycling…is not so much of an issue as most of my friends, as well as family and co-workers, recycle. Some more than others, but ultimately the facilities are there so I go along.
Water & Electricity…As a guest I’m always very conscious about that fact that my friends are kind enough and very hospitable to let me stay so the least I can do is not to waste their money and resources. Everywhere I go (and this has been true for past few years) I’m very conscious about switching off lights and turning off leaking water. I know however, that this doesn’t necessarily apply for other appliances (TV, stereo, computer) so I’m pledging right here and now to work on it and stop irresponsibly waste energy by keeping things on or stand by.
Food…Again, not having own fridge or kitchen rather complicates keeping a healthy and balanced diet. So my diet is often shaped by where I am and who I am with. In general, I know I have to eat more fruits (which is quite expensive sometimes) and cut down the junk (crackers and biscuits). I tend to eat lots of those as it is the easiest thing to buy on a go. So once back in London, I commit to eat more healthy and go back to gym regularly.
My Trash…Staying in a hotel now makes it a bit difficult for me to recycle properly. But I wanted to make the effort somehow to show you that I not only care, but that I am up for the challenge this task presents. Although I had to adjust the rules a little bit to my circumstances. I also wanted to show that recycling is possible anywhere in the world and can easily be done anywhere! Little I knew that this may not necessarily be true…
All I wanted is to recycle my trash from the hotel in Athens. The hotel facilities didn’t offer different bins for separated waste so I decided to be on a mission to find a containers on the street. You would not believe how difficult that turned out to be. Some parts of Athens are very dirty with rubbish everywhere and to my surprise it took me a while to find recycling containers. My hotel was fairly central, but walking around the area it took me good 25 minutes to find them. And they were not close at all!
And even then I was neither impressed nor convinced about the efficiency of the system as everything recyclable goes into the same container. I can only hope that there is a system in place that separates plastic from glass, paper, metal…later on.
I tried…And though I am not 100% happy about the discovery of local recycling system I did my best to contribute my little bit…and every little matters…I hope.