We kicked off by sharing our food plans. Lots of useful ideas here: avoiding aluminium cans; getting a single, reusable water bottle rather than buying new bottles all the time (much more economical as well as better for the environment); cutting down on cheese, milk and other dairy (whose carbon footprint can be enormous).
Then the heart of the evening’s conversation was about consumption: what we buy and why. We shared thoughts on things that meant a lot to us: sentimental, emotional and practical value seemed to come up again and again. We competed to see who had the most out-of-date phone. We also reflected on the connections between wealth and attitudes towards materialism (some people felt that somehow, perversely, it’s easier to be frugal when you’re better off). We also had a fascinating discussion over how far we see the money we earn as ‘ours’ – is it ours to do whatever we want with? Or should we see ourselves as ‘stewards’ of money, with a social responsibility to spend it wisely and in socially constructive ways?
Finally we touched upon the difficulties of communicating climate change to other people. We felt schools ought to offer much more coverage in their curriculum. But that’s just a starting point. This issue will be discussed more in session six….