By Susan Bannatyne
I’ve always been a fan of a David Attenborough programme. I can remember watching them on the telly with my Dad when I was little, and each new series still feels like something to mark in my diary. I would have said I had been fairly environmentally conscious for a while, but the Attenborough series Blue Planet 2 really got to me. The images of rafts of plastic floating on the ocean and whales and turtles maimed or killed by plastic made me do some serious re-evaluation.
In this day and age, it has become so easy to go with convenient options and to be able to fulfil our every whim quickly and easily. Especially in the West, we are so privileged and blessed in so many ways, it is easy to forget the impact our actions have and to take things for granted.
For me, Attenborough gave me a nudge to start thinking about the things I bought and the products I used and to think about changes I could try to make (and better still, to start making them). “Attenborough made me do it” became a standard refrain if people spotted I was doing something differently.
This may appear to be quite a niche motivation (though who doesn’t love Attenborough?!), but the message and the need to change need not be. Motivation is a personal thing: for some, the need to caretake the planet, looking after the resources we have thoughtfully and not squandering them is the key. For others, this shifts slightly to think about the well-known quote “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” and therefore that we should leave future generations somewhere decent in which to exist. Others may be motivated by a desire to change the fact that as a top predator we have stopped being respectful of the other species we co-exist with, despite the fact that in the long run, this will harm us. Others still may be motivated by a desire to live a simpler life. Whatever your motivation, a little bit of reflection and starting to make some changes can rarely be a bad thing.
The feelings arising from making a change may be equally varied: you may feel proud, happy or relieved to have made a change, and these are a pleasant reward for doing a good thing. But beware: these feeling come with positive endorphins attached and they can be addictive. I found that over the course of that year (and beyond) I said “Attenborough made me do it” in relation to a whole host of things.
Whatever it is, find your motivation and start the reflection process. I think both you and the planet will be grateful.
Please share your motivation with us! xx
(* for legal reasons, David Attenborough did not ‘make’ me do anything ☺)