Luxury vs. Living

Being environmentally friendly is cool. Well, it is a little cool. A lot cooler than not being environmentally friendly I suppose. However, this wasn’t always the case. It used to be us tree hugging hippy students who were the only ones attending protests against uranium mining and climate change– now you see your mom and her bridge club joining in on the fight. Also, you may even see a few of those corporate executives joining in with the fight. Yes, you know being environmentally friendly is the next big thing when corporations try to impress you with how “green” they are and executives and their other halves start sporting their “carbon neutral” stickers on the back of their Volvos and Ferraris. But let’s get real here – are they actually environmentally friendly? If you want to lie to yourself, then say “why of course, by growing some trees this make everything happy again”. However if you want to be honest, then you must say no. While it may be fun to laugh at these executives and the horribly polluting companies some of them work for, a question I must ask is why do we allow for this? Why do we allow people to be hypocrites and not question their hypocrisy? Being a “Green” company does not give you permission to mine and destroy environmentally sensitive bushland such as Karara Mining Limited (owned by Gindalbie Metals Ltd). Karara Mining Limited describes on their website that it “prides itself on recognising the values and qualities of the environment where it conducts its activities. It has thoroughly studied and documented the biodiversity, ecological significance and heritage values of the Mid West region”, but then applies to mine iron ore from the Terapod area from the Blue Hills Ranges. The Blue Hills Ranges have high conservation and environmental values, including highly restricted and endemic Declared Rare Flora species found nowhere else. Being “Carbon Neutral” does not automatically allow you to drive a Hummer around the streets of Subiaco. I don’t think people want to harm the environment – on the contrary, I think people actually do care about the environment, the potential effects of climate change and greenhouse gases. However people don’t want to give up the things they love. We should at least be able to raise these questions in a civil way. And we should realise our own hypocrisies – I am doing my Honours in Environmental Science but I love having air conditioning on in the summer and love being able to drive home from Murdoch without having to take horrible public transport. I also eat copious amounts of meat, use the dryer during the day and own a cat. Cats are native wildlife killing machines. Just because you named your cat something cute, this does not make it any less of a killing machine. My cat in Grade four was called Cuddles – he cuddled the life out of many native birds to put it lightly. In the end, it is important to realise our flaws so that we can become more environmentally aware citizens and improve our environmental performance, which means comparing our luxuries to the importance of sustaining the environment.

Words – Celia Lim (Murdoch University, Environmental Science Honour student)

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