But it’s so convenient!
And that right there, dear reader is the problem. I’m not going to lie to you, this has been a tricky post to write because it would be very easy to write it in such a way to leave you picturing me walking down the street wearing a ‘The End Is Nigh’ sandwich board, and I really don’t think I would pull that look off.
So, here we go...
There have been many many apocalyptic films, books, tv dramas, computer games, from meteors to apes, even at least one about global warming... it seems us humans like to fantasise about how the world might end, or at least be changed beyond recognition.
But in reality what might be our greatest undoing has crept up on us. And I think it is because we have been on a quest for ever greater convenience in our lives. Ways to speed up and hassle down the day-to-day jobs. We all Love convenience, but is convenience killing us?
The medical profession might be nodding their heads, we are all too sedentary these days, spending too much of our time sitting – at work, in cars, in front of the TV leading to less fitness more illness. But that (although a problem for many societies) is not exactly what I mean.
So what do I mean?
We live life at an increasingly fast pace, there is ever more to cram into a day and we embrace anything that is going to shave time off tasks so that we can cram more and more into our days. More work, more time with kids, more social media time, more holidays, more learning, more DIY, more TV! Whatever, we want more.
But in this quest, have we taken convenience too far, to a point where it is doing more harm than good?
Don’t want to go to the well to fetch water? Let’s pipe it straight into people’s homes! – Pretty convenient, time saving and on the face of it no massive environmental impact. (once all ground works have been done)
Not wanting to use that water that’s conveniently piped into your home, because it’s more convenient to buy it in a plastic bottle? More expensive, more damaging to health and more damaging to the environment. Really, I see no upside. And is it actually more convenient or is it just perceived convenience?
Throwing away worn or damaged clothes Vs Mending...Sure it might save you some time but the environmental impact is massive.
You don’t want to grow your own food? Or you don’t have time to grow your own food? Ok we have farmers to do that, you can buy it from them. – pretty convenient. You don’t want to cook your own food, ok we will make you a ready meal. Result – excess (plastic) packaging, excess salt, millions who don’t know how to cook!
I could go on and on.
It is our need for convenience that has driven our need for plastics, for fossil fuels, for fast fashion. We drive when we could walk, we tumble dry when we could line dry, we hit social media when we could pick up the phone for a chat or write an email...
Our need for convenience influences every part of our lives, but my (probably unpopular) opinion is that we have taken convenience too far and when taken too far it is perhaps no longer a force for good.
Plastic pollution, micro-plastics, global warming, mental health issues, obesity... Change can be very inconvenient, but not getting on top of these issues, not finding ways to stop, reduce or tackle them.... that could end up being the most inconvenient of all.
But why is it good that life is different from the movies? Because in this case, we still have time to make a difference...