If I take the tram and the bus, it will take forever. I'll need to wear a mask, and I ought to test myself first. That creates a lot of single use plastic. Two tests a week per adult in the UK creates 50,000 cubic metres of plastic waste. 50 average houses full. 50,000 tonnes. 1,500 twenty-foot containers. If I drive I'll be using energy that pollutes and it may be difficult to park. I opt for public transport. Another test soon, then?
"It's good to talk face to face," they say. "It's nice to meet you in person at last. But your hair's different from your photo."
"I grew it in lockdown." But I have been to the hairdresser since and I cringe as I think how they've replaced their cotton gowns with plastic.
The energy is different, indeed. It is good to see people in the flesh. Zoom was okay, though.
They provide us with sandwiches in plastic wrappers. There are paper cups and serviettes. But which is worse, detergent in the water system or plastic waste in landfill?
We can take off our masks to eat. We shiver because of the open windows.
My husband cooks our evening meal. He uses fresh ingredients. Why would anyone not? It's easy. We do eat meat. Organic meat. Just twice a week. But it still farts and warms the air. And what of those that have to rely on processed food? With its hyperbolic packaging?
I work in my book-lined study. I am surrounded by dead trees. Alive ones dance outside my window. Are they sweetening the air?
I try to be paperless. I rely on my screens and keyboards. It seems sensible. But. Their light distorts my body clock. And what of all that whirring and huffing from the servers? That compromises the air, doesn't it? And how often is the energy created through fossil fuels? Still?
Can we be gentler with the earth? Must we always be a doing? I resolve to take more time just to sit and stare. Just to be.
About the author
Gill James is published by The Red Telephone, Butterfly and Chapeltown. She edits CafeLit.
She writes for the online community news magazine: Talking About My Generation