The Santa Effect

January is usually a cold dismal time of the year back in the UK as Christmas and New Year celebrations fade to the back of our memories and a daunting new year drops in from nowhere.

At the beginning of the month, the UK was hit with the heaviest snow storms in thirty years blowing in from the Arctic, whilst Cape Town endured a heat wave where temperatures rose to as high as 40 degrees centigrade. Although there is no evidence to prove this is due to climate change it does make one think that weather patterns are changing to uncomfortable extremes.

Taking cover from the sun I reflected on Christmas as a child and reminisced how magical that time of year used to be. The excitement of waking up on christmas morning and finding a heap of presents stashed under the tree, and Santa’s note with a carrot for Rudolph and a drop of brandy nowhere to be seen.

Being an adult I miss my childish innocence. Now my adult mind continues to wash away any sense of make believe and attempts to question everything. Understanding Climate Change works in a similar way. You go on living your life thinking everything is just fine. You subconsciously use up as much energy as you can, buy as much stuff as you want and dump all your trash to your hearts content without ever thinking, is this ethical? What are the impacts of my actions?

Then bam, like the moment you walked in on your parents putting presents under the tree. Your father sipping from Santa’s brandy glass and your mother signing Santa’s name on the gift tag, Climate Change hits you like a bull on a rampage. Reality has hit and there’s nothing you can do about it. You can choose to deny the fact that Santa really exists or you can continue living unconsciously making up stories to try and prove you are right, however deep down you know the truth yet you don’t want to admit it.

I still find there are days I want to revert back to my old self, to throw the organic waste into the regular bin or take a 20 minute shower. I guess it’s like driving a car. It’s super difficult from the first moment you sit in the driver’s seat, trying to operate three things at once, but after a while it becomes second nature. Since I truly came to understand my impact on the earth at the end of 2008, I’ve been trying to make small changes to my life. Buying less, considering the packaging and where the things I buy were manufactured, using and fixing old things, developing a vegetable garden with my green fingered fiance and making the distinction between do I want or do I really need something. Many people worry that going green means having less. Well yes, in many ways it does mean that, but the quality of less by far out-weighs the quality of having more!

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