Eco Guilt: Compassion in an age of perfectionism

Let me paint you a picture:
It's a Friday morning and you're on your way to work. You managed to only hit snooze twice which means you're (relatively) on time, but can't really be late. You feel that all too familiar pang: COFFEE your body whispers and closely follows with a whiff of a future headache if left without. Luckily the cutest cafe is just around the corner on the way to your office. You march through the door, up to the counter and gosh darn it: you forgot your keep cup. 'Am I not the eco warrior I thought I was??' you say to yourself. 'You should have been more organised than this!'

my friends, let me introduce you to ECO GUILT.

image: whistle and flute (dog friendly!) 

Coffee is the one daily ritual i can rely on. Through uni I worked as a barista (and still do once a week for my wonderful local cafe The Middle Store) which alongside customer service skills, great friendships and a passion for coffee, also gave me a slight dependency on it. Not in an -if i don’t have one i cant function- way, but more of an -I need this moment focussed on me-.
This is where things get tricky.
I also lead an incredibly busy life.
Which means i occasionally don't have a keep cup.
And don’t have time to sit down.
I argue to myself that I need to be making the time to sit down for just a moment as this would be a step in the right direction for my mental health.
But alas, i’m always running late.

‘I should have sorted that rubbish better'
'I shouldn’t be driving my car so much'
'I should make my own Almond Milk'
'I shouldn't have bought that second hand yet made from polyester dress'
'I should have bought those more expensive Australian grown apples',
'I should have remembered to clean my keep cup and put it in my car'
'I should have I should have I should have’

Pickle in the Middle

image: pickle in the middle

Even people with the best intentions of encouraging others to act in more conscious ways, we can feel so much pressure to be perfectly sustainable. While in an ideal world everyone would be living a zero waste vegan lifestyle perfectly, the pressure of reaching this essentially un-attainable goal encourages people to not even try. Social media doesn't help this cause as we all put our most eco foot forward online to encourage others! The reality is that no-one is perfect, we all have limitations put on us. All consumables have their own ethical and sustainable challenges: lentils might not contribute much co2 into the atmosphere themselves, but the boat that they travelled on to get to us definitely did. Bamboo might grow quickly and use less water, but can be quite expensive. All we can do is our best with the information and knowledge we have at the time that we need to make a decision within our constraints. The bottom line is that sustainability is built on compassion for our world and everyone on it, so does this not include ourselves too? Be kind to you. Sustainable living needs to be inclusive, compassionate and encouraging to truly bring everyone on board and make an impact.

We are only human.
I am only human.
You are only human.
We all do our best.
But we all make mistakes.
You have done so much for our earth, within the limits you have been set.
I am so proud of all we have done.

So here I am with my second best option: a compostable single use coffee cup, ready to fight for the earth.

If you’re in Adelaide and love a good cup of Joe as much as I do, I would highly recommend trying out these places: They also all use compostable or recyclable coffee cups (if you're anything like me and occasionally forget your head when its not screwed on) as well as ethically sourced coffee.
elementary coffee roasters
part time lover
mondays coffee
pickle in the middle
whistle and flute (dog friendly!)

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