As with all environmentalists, I often find myself having moments of crisis. Those moments when you’re confronted with the state of things can can’t help but think, ‘How can we possibly make a difference?’ During my first week working for Action 21 I have had my fair share of those moments, but I’ve also been able to feel pretty inspired.
Action 21 run two second hand shops in Leamington Spa, the Recycle Warehouse and the Re-Useful Centre, in order to divert good from landfill. The Recycle Warehouse is based on the tip site, so is able to intercept goods that people bring to be dumped. They do a fantastic job, September 2010 saw them divert over 2o tonnes of furniture, books, electrical items etc (basically anything that you can think might be thrown away) from landfill. But as I was being shown round the shops, that voice of doom started to set in. So basically, it said, the amount of stuff that you see here (and there is a lot of stuff) is the kind of thing that gets needlessly thrown away and end up in landfill in every other town in Britain. I started to panic, how can we possibly make a difference??
But we all need to start somewhere. The practical projects that Action 21 runs and promotes do make a difference, albeit a small one. Being part of these projects does make me feel like I am doing something towards a larger goal. We are starting to see lot’s of communities starting their own practical projects, often as part of Transition initiatives, and it’s these grassroots projects that will add up to contribute to the bigger picture. There is no magic instant solution to climate change, to excess waste, to pollution… instead we have to celebrate the communities around the globe that a coming up with their own solutions. We can only work as hard as we each can and hope that together we will make a difference.