Our lust for convenience is fuelling the climate crisis

Sometimes I get really busy at doing nothing.

Convenience allows me to do this. Its presence -and my willingness to accept it- creates an abundance of free time that I habitually choose to waste on screens.

In measured doses convenience has a place in our lives. Only problem is, we have become so addicted to chasing convenience, that it’s killing us and our planet.

Now, you must be living in a jar in your grandmother’s pantry if you don’t know what’s happening around the world. And this isn’t the blog to spell out what we’ve gone and created if you have. But being a father, quasi-environmentalist, and concerned citizen for the future has led to plenty of mealtime discussions about issues such as plastic consumption, water contamination and carbon emissions, with the latter of these becoming a family challenge over the past several months.

Disclaimer: we own and use a car and currently have no plans to change this. But in March this year, we mooted the idea of a car-free day each week. Out of all of us, I was the most reluctant to take up the idea’s viability, given we were about to launch into a South Island winter. “What if it rains?” I protested. ..”or, we’re in a rush somewhere… needing supplies…”

But the more we talked, the more resolve my wife and our two boys applied to dedicating one day per week towards non-fossil fuelled transport. On this day, we decided, cycling would be our main form of travel.

For the first few weeks we stuck to it, and unsurprisingly, there were times when we were late to appointments which was generally down to a lack of organisation on my part…

At this stage, the easy option would have been to resort back to the convenient way. After all, we live privileged lives and climate change (re-branded recently as climate crisis) doesn’t really affect us. So why change? why make the effort, yet?

Our answer: because it feels like the right thing to do. And, our current collective efforts should not be driven merely by central government regulation but from a deep internal desire and willingness to change a broken system -even if we don’t fully know what a new system looks like. Besides, isn’t it better to make many small refinements now than to suffer a systematic shock in the future, whenever that may (or may not) be.

Six months on and our one in seven fossil-free transport days has increased five-fold.

Nowadays we commute between 120 – 200 kilometres each week, which includes journeys to shops, work, holidays and play. In the short term this saves us in the pocket with the incidental fitness saving us in the middle! And, if we’re running late we even get a solid cardio workout. More importantly, we’re making changes that will save on something far more important that money and fitness.

Our recent endeavours have made us question our attachment to convenience. The awareness of this resulting in something we’re determined to carry on discussing with our children. Otherwise, what are we really teaching them; that the status quo is acceptable?

Whatever the topic, be sure to talk; the future is about challenging ourselves, each other and (among other things) questioning the pernicious effects of convenience…

Let’s do it like our world depends on it.