To some it might seem a little crazy that I’ve jacked in the permanent job, don’t fly and forego the convenience of the supermarket to buy more local food.  When I tut while someone’s car idles as the driver runs back to their house for their purse, I have to remind myself that I did not always think like this, and it has taken years for my attitudes to change.  Yours may change too, given time.Crazy

Not very many years ago, I wanted to fly around the world and visit every corner.  I flew to the south of Spain for a golfing break, for goodness sake.  I flew to Canada for a snow-boarding holiday.  I flew all over the place.

When I first learned to drive, I used to tear around the lanes of Anglesey as fast as I could.  Seems ridiculous now.  After a few points on my licence for overtaking on chevrons, my attitude changed.  I then made a point of driving at the speed limit.  I’d leave a 30 mile and hour area to de-restricted and would accelerate as fast as I could to get to 60.  I’d make a point of driving at a constant 80 on the motorways (everyone did – they were talking about changing the limit in any case).  Idiot.

I don’t think there was any particular moment when I suddenly became aware of the carbon emissions I was causing.  Over time, I have changed my habits, one by one – it’s kind of crept up on me.  I haven’t flown for years.  I drive at 60-65 max.  I take the slower, direct route rather than nip onto the A41 and zoom down the dual carriageway to get to Hemel Hempstead.

I’m sure my attitudes and habits on other things will change over time as well.  Vegetarianism, here we come.

It has been a slow accumulation of knowledge and understanding that has lead me here, such as reading a lot of New Scientist articles, being part of Eco-teams and finding out lots of useful titbits (such as the 10 second rule for switching off your car engine).

My point is that I should not get angry with others when they do what I used to do – they’ve just not yet been on the journey so they are aware of what they are doing.  And my point to you, the reader, is that you are likely to go on that journey as well.

Talking to a friend Steve about this yesterday, he commented that his habits are slowly changing.  “Baby steps”, he described it as.  He now will choose the UK tomatoes rather than those from Holland, for example.

Some of you will probably be reading what I do now and think I am a bit of a lunatic.  I hope you will remember to look back at this in 10 years and compare with your attitudes at that time.

John Bell,

Ordinary bloke


8 thoughts on “Habits

  1. well written John, enjoyed reading your words… i too was hyper-critical of others over things i’d once done myself (smoking for example!)… then realised that holding a kinder, more open, non-judgemental attitude supports and gives space for change to happen, more than chastising or criticising ever does…More and more are awakening to the path of fair play on this planet in this lifetime…

  2. I used to do that a lot (judging others for doing stuff that I now don’t like, but that I used to do) but then I realized that everyone has their own path in life, and they’ll learn from their own experiences.

    It’s sort of like when your parents would try and teach you lessons through their mistakes, and even though they had your best interest in mind, we just wouldn’t listen.

    Same concept. To each his own right? Great post.

    – Chris

    • I still have trouble listening to my mother’s advice!

      To each his own. That raises the crucial question for me. If each to his own, which seems to me to be the only true way, then how can we survive?

  3. Another good post John.
    I must say I still get annoyed with people who behave with little care for the environment.
    Yes I did fly and speed around in my car but there was little information on climate change 30 years ago when I was behaving badly!
    The news these days is full of warnings on what we are doing to the planet but people turn a blind eye in favour of 5 annual holidays abroad plus a new 4×4 if they can afford it !
    I challenged a friend of mine who leads just this way of life, suggesting that he should consider the future of his two daughters. His reply was “I only get one chance on this earth and I am going to live it to the full and if there is nothing left for them, well they will have to deal with that”
    In 2013 it`s not ignorance that stops people making the change, it`s choice.


    • It would be interesting to see whether your friend’s attitude changes, either due to contemplating what you said to him outside the heat of the moment, or otherwise.

      • Unfortunately there is no chance of that as this conversation took place over 4 years ago and he has not changed at all since then. It would be interesting to see if his daughters have the same attitude towards their future children. And having stayed at their house where computers and lights were left on all night, I think I know the answer to that one.

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