I was lucky enough to receive a wonderful Christmas present last year. I got a pair of silky/cashmere long-sleeved gloves. Fabulous fashion attire. Such finery is most certainly not for everyday wear, but if looked after, it can last a lifetime. And plus, being so extraordinary, my beautiful present wasn’t ‘in fashion’ therefore it could never ‘go out’ of fashion. While I try to live as light as I can, I do occasionally make room for something exquisite. I could more than accommodate these silky wonders, and though mere fripperies they may be, they were treasures to me.
I am inclined to an individualistic-style of dress. And the wonder-gloves, being versatile fashion accessories, proved themselves to be very handy.
I wore them a lot. The thing is, I was never quite relaxed while wearing them. Somewhat compulsively, whenever I’d taken them off, I felt compelled to check my pockets or bag for them, just to make sure they were still there.
And sometimes I wouldn’t wear them, just in case I lost them.
But that’s no way to live: what’s the point in having something one never uses? So the gloves crept out more and more, as I got myself out and about more.
Really it was just a matter of time before my wonder-gloves dispensed themselves of my possession and found a new owner, as any person who’s ever had an umbrella can attest, it’s inevitable.
…But this time it wasn’t mere carelessness or absentmindedness, for which I’d be less self-critical. I lost them because I got pissed.
Joddle wakes up and ponders what to do with her day. The sales are on; she could go out and get some bargains. But she takes a deep breath and stops herself, reminding herself she doesn’t need anything. ‘The more I buy the less I am satisfied’, she sighs. I am the same self. Be myself.
Eating is a dialemma for Joddle. There are too many plastic things in the world and it takes time, effort, and energy to avoid them. Evidence of excess is all around. What difference does one person make?
And all the while, the number of things and people in the world multiplies, and desire is fed.
A couple of years ago I really wanted to work in charity. Post graduation, I began to pursue this ambition wildly. However, my dream of a do-gooding job was never meant to be. Naturally, unpaid work offers abounded, but not a single charity would pay me a salary. There was always someone who was *more experienced *a better fit *more passionate (delete as appropriate) about communities/educational disadvantage/insert worthy cause here.
This was initially hard to take. Perhaps naively, I had thought that if I were to hang around long enough, getting more and more ‘experience’ under my belt, it would only be a matter of time before I managed to ‘break into’ the sector. My decision to give up looking for a charity job, I think, was the right one. It meant I could focus on more positive areas in my life, instead of rejection after rejection and failed job interviews.
However, the legacy of the experience is an extremely cynical view of the whole charity thing. I know first-hand that many London-based charities exploit young people, and put them into roles that were once occupied by paid members of staff. While I think volunteering is a worthy thing that is of benefit to the charity and also the volunteer, too often the volunteer-charity relationship is soiled by charities milking young people for their skills for months of end, dangling the juicy job-carrot and stick before them, interminably.
When only the young people in an office are without a salary or contract, I think that’s exploitation. When legitimate work experience turns into a proper job without pay, I also think that’s wrong. It is not volunteering anymore. And the young person is only allowing themselves to be exploited in this way because they can’t get a paid job ANYWHERE.
I now get a surprising amount of emails from charities doing various awareness-raising campaigns for green issues. Most frequently they want me to write about their campaign, spread the word for them, so to speak.
Maybe it’s just sour grapes on my part, but I actually get annoyed when I receive these emails. I do not see myself as an awareness-raiser for other people’s campaigns. Especially not for charities, the rejectors (ok, definitely a case of sour grapes!).
Another thing is that I have an informed audience here that I would never talk down to. My readers not need to be told that X is bad for the environment. My readers care about waste and consumerism and do what they can to live better and waste less. There’s no need to preach to the converted.
And further, my personal outlook on the whole thing as I encounter the abominable scale of waste all around me, the sheer absurdity of the messages to buy all around us, is that I can’t change the attitude of Joe Public. There is a disconnect there. A blank screen which just doesn’t get it.
Which leads me to the following supposition: most waste-based awareness raising campaigns are futile, and have no measurable outcome, environmentally speaking.