I’m afraid I’m really failing in this endeavour and this blogpost is merely to keep me honest about that failure. The weekly shop is the seemingly insurmountable enemy. Perishables come in plastic boxes that take up huge volume in the rubbish (Our bin is not separated, hence am concentrating on reduce and re-use.) My hopes of attracting bees to superpollinator plants have fallen foul of the difficulty of cultivating such plants outside right into marine air. I’ve even slipped back with the fizzy drinks, rather than pursuing the option of getting diet coke style flavours for the soda stream, which would bring all the household on board with using it.
We have phased out the plastic milk cartons, which is good (though the cardboard replacements have Tetra Pak) but I really want to see a reduction in the throughput of rubbish, especially when most of it is wildlife-killing plastic.
I have followed the Cork Greens facebook page and I have made improvements in other domestic areas. But it’s really not enough. I need to push through with the philosophy of going to the butcher counter for meat so it’s not wrapped in plastic, getting plants outside, and continuing the conscious decision not to buy plastic bottles when eating out.
It’s easy to despair and reckon my actions will make no difference anyway; pitiable as they are, they’re still not followed by lots of other people and so are useless. Not to mention the behaviour of farmers setting fires and burning wildlife alive, without punishment or penalty. But the feeling of powerlessness at this world of excess isn’t good either. For my own mental health I need to continue to engage, even if it is only to self-chastise at my ongoing failure to help nature at all.
A week ago I wrote a blog post about self care in the event of a depressive spell and now I wish to update it in light of a semantic error I realise might actually be inhibiting for folk with depression. The error in Step 4 was when I recommended getting on the bike. Apart from using patronising wording – “get on your bike” has contemptuous overtones in British slang, though I didn’t intend them – the act of getting on a bicycle is rarely or ever a one step event. First you have to get the bike out of the shed, where it is falling into disrepair behind other bikes, Dad’s garden shears and a lawnmower that’s been out of commission since 1974. Then you may well have to pump up the tyres, especially if you have not used it in a few weeks, which is very likely if you are currently experiencing depression. Then you have to put on proper gear to cycle a bike (particularly if you are a man and want to cycle in any sort of comfort) and you have to remember to bring a bottle of water. And if you’re in any sort of city, particularly Dublin, then you have to deal with pedestrians who hate you and buses who would eat you up and drivers who don’t seem to get the concept of you changing lanes. Honestly it would make you want to curl up in a ball at the thought of it and hide.
My error was to condense the act of “getting on the bike” into one step when in fact it was many steps. The IT head in me spotted this. It’s the same irritating device I find in recipe books where they put, “one onion, finely chopped”. That is not an ingredient. That is part of the method put in the wrong damn place.
My apologies to all depressed folks who for valid reasons have not “got on their bikes” and will not be any time soon.
On the plus side, my reading at Fiction at the Friary went really well – sold my entire box of White Feathers and got lots of encouraging feedback on social media. Once again, I can recommend this event for anyone visiting Cork – Danielle, Madeleine and Friary pub proprietor Mike, as well as Ciaran on sound, are wonderful and welcoming folk.