Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Its tough sometimes being a person with a sustainable environmental business because a lot of those who love to use the words and phrases environment, conservation, sustainable, green, save the world, get in touch with the earth, make a difference, transition to a new future etc find the word 'business' sits very uneasily with them.....now before you all bash me I know what the problem is or seems to be....businesses are seen as efficient, occasionally dishonest, pushy, low levels of morality, brash and just a bit to normal....
Maybe I have got it wrong? But its very interesting as I have come to these conclusions reluctantly through reactions to what I do by the folks who need to be the most supportive!
Lots of people want to 'come and pick my brains' about what I do, they come and visit the unit, often because they would like to be involved in a similar project....great! I don't mind chatting and telling it as it is!
Others have wanted to work with me, and a couple have for a bit but have found out that running an environmental business is not 'fluffy' .....that its hard work!
I often muse on why businesses that are very successful with terrifically high morals and ethics like Riverford and Cafe Direct are often criticized to death by the 'environmental types' and to be honest I just cannot understand it........they are very successful businesses.....is that the root of the problem? Do we all like an under dog, someone who tries but fails, a reason not to be successful, a reason to moan?........... I just don't know!
But its got me thinking a lot! .........and I think somehow its a British thing! We are not radical in an ordinary way......we like to look the part for the lifestyle we choose so an environmentalist is often seen as a person with hippy clothes and hair, several piercings, maybe a tattoo of something celtic..........but never as a bloke in a smart suit with a crisp shirt!!!
At home here we are possibly at our most sustainable but we look very ordinary.....too ordinary at times! I wear very boring normal clothes...most second hand. We shop very ordinarily in supermarkets and local shops but make a point of demanding local produce and buying nothing that is out of season or from the other side of the world. We drive.....and yes we have 3 cars....horror of horrors.....but we use them responsibly and for the purpose intended eg we do not use the 4x4 except for towing logs or livestock or wool!
We do not fly.....at all, and never will.....! We have a tv, the kids have an X box and a DS (those who are in the know will know what they are!) and we have computers.
We grow wood, veg, meat and reuse every last thing we can eg the cereal box insides are used to wrap the packed lunches.
I am not claiming sainthood but just pointing out we do not live in a yurt, a green wood building, nor an eco home, just a house.....we don't wear the 'right' clothes, we don't cycle everywhere because we cannot...BUT we want sustainable and ethical to be normal!
And when it comes to my business we want people to get involved.....come along and help for a day!