Man walking out on a planet

A statement on our husbandry of planet earth

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During my early days of living in Brixham my wife, myself, and some good friends all cleaned holiday properties. It was reliable work in a town that depends heavily on its tourism industry and some days it was easy work. Inevitably, other days weren’t so good. Some guests would treat their property with respect, leaving it as clean and tidy as could be expected for us to go in and refresh it for the next family. Others, well, if they kept their own houses in the way they left these properties, then pigs (who are actually extremely clean animals) would have blushed at the state of them. I think part of this is that they, the guests, believe that once they leave for home their responsibility ends, it’s someone else’s job to clean up the mess they made. We would arrive to change the beds, clean, disinfect, scrub, hoover, and generally make good the damage. Then a day or two later, we would return and do it all again.

The difference between the holiday let industry and the planet is marked, however I can’t help but see a similarity in terms of attitude. Once we’ve thrown something away, recycled it or bagged it up and removed it from our house, we abdicate our responsibility for it. We assume that whoever comes next in the chain of events will pick up where we left off, the next person will pick up where left they off and so on until the problem has disappeared entirely. The convenience of modern life has allowed even the best intentioned of us to abdicate our responsibility.

Much like my day job did, this has to change. Why? because none of us can leave the world behind, go back to our home and expect someone else to clean up the mess we’ve made. This is our home, all of ours. We all live on it, and we are all responsible for it. We have to start picking up after ourselves, and make good the damage we’ve been perpetrating, because like many of Brixham’s past guests, we have already long-since lost our deposit.

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