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Releasing the Spider!

Everyone you ask has a different view of sustainability, what it is and what is important.

For some it’s “global warming”, or “plastic pollution” or “deforestation and eating meat” and for others its “human rights”, “equal pay” or “big business not paying their taxes”.

It’s true the topic is vast covering not only our impact on the planet, but our impact on people and the economy too.

I’ve worked in this area directly and indirectly for more than 15 years now, I’ve dealt with topics stretching from – health and nutrition – to – child labour – to – bio-diversity – to – carbon footprinting – and to – plastic reduction.

Some of these projects kept me up at night. Even as someone working to make environmental and social change I still, often, felt the impact I could make was insignificant.  Then a woman I worked with described her approach to life in general but sustainability in particular; “I look after my little bit” she said simply. I grappled with this, but that’s not enough, I thought.

That comment has followed me around for 10 years and I often reflect back on it.

Each and every day we all make hundreds of choices, what to watch on YouTube, whether to take a walk, whether to rinse the tomato sauce bottle before we bin it, which bin to put it in and whether to check local recycling or not. This is what my friend meant, she focussed on those things she had direct control over. Often, she got it right and her habits changed, but, sometimes, she admitted, she got it wrong and occasionally the tomato sauce bottle made its way to the recycle bin without being rinsed and sometimes she took the car when she knew walking was better for her and the planet.

But she tried. She controlled as much as she could. And slowly but surely, I began to realise the power in this. The power each individual has in each decision we make.

When the nation’s hero, David Attenborough was asked in an interview by what 10 ways an individual could make a difference, much to my surprise, no.1 was “Release the spider”, an appeal and a thank you to those of us who catch, and release spiders found in our homes. Reminding me again that these simple everyday decisions made by each and every one of us make a difference.

For me “Release the spider” has become a metaphor for the decisions I make, and I ask myself often if my choice has released the spider or flushed it down the loo!

David Attenborough’s 10 ways to make a difference | MiNDFOOD

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