June 5th was World Environment Day. It’s UN day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our planet. The day probably passed you by. That’s the trouble with a lot of awareness days – they all too quickly get lost in the mix, swamped by the bigger news agenda. It didn’t stand a chance in this country really given it fell over the Jubilee weekend. But without efforts like this to draw our attention to things that matter – how else will we effect change?
Many of you choose to holiday at Swallowtail Hill because you know that we’re a sustainable business and that our values are all about protecting the planet – so you know that you’ve made an ethical choice of holiday and that matters to you (thankyou!). Plenty more of you book simply because we look like a nice place to stay – and we are – and we welcome you too! But once you get here it’s pretty obvious that we do things a little differently – that we’ve designed our business to be true to our values, and so by the time you leave we hope that you might have seen or heard something that makes you think a little differently too. You might change a consumer habit or a tweak a lifestyle choice, and those changes however small, make a difference.
Plenty of people still subscribe to the idea that all change needs to come from Government and the corporate world in order to make a difference in the fight against climate change. And while it’s true that big changes from on high need to happen, it’s not true to say that we, as individuals have no influence. In fact it’s our greatest power as consumers – where and how we choose to spend our money. Choosing to shun single use plastics, taking your recycling seriously, choosing not to waste food, choosing to buy less and reuse more, choosing brands with sincere ethics and robust sustainability policies, choosing to plant trees or grow some of your own vegetables. All of these things matter and make a difference.
World Environment Day has a website where you can register the choices and behaviours that you’re committed to in order to do your bit. In return you get an ‘earth action number’ which is a numeric goal linked to the actions you pledge to do. It’s a good gimmick to try and engage more interest – it’s for businesses, and organisations and individuals alike. But as an individual you don’t need to have a fancy number to prove you’re doing your bit (unless you want one of course!). You don’t need to grandstand about it either. Just make the choices you know are right in order to help safeguard the planet for your kids and grandkids. We can no longer turn away and hope someone else’s commitment to recycling is good enough to counteract our own lack of effort. It might be a hackneyed phrase – but it’s true: be the change you want to see, the next generation is depending on it.
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