Sustainability has been on the mind of the public consciousness for the last few years now. The Collins Dictionary's last two words of the year have been 'single-use' and 'climate strike'. Whatever you believe, it's one of the defining topics of our time.

For a long time, I had been considering ways of making Awake at Three more sustainable. One obvious area for me to tackle was the packaging I used: un-recycled, standard plastic polymailers. A quick Google search later and I found some 'biodegradable' polymailers that could be custom printed with my design in quantities of a few hundred. Perfect!

Not quite.

This sent me down a rabbit hole of disinformation, green-washing and, well, hopelessness. degradable actually meant degrading in a year in specialised plants that didn't actually exist in many places. Compostable mailers were better, but still weren't recyclable and would take decades to break down if they ended up in the sea. Even paper packaging wasn't great, as they took 4 times the energy to manufacture than plastic bags did, and could possibly promote deforestation.

I was starting to wonder what the point even was. I didn't want to do something that was insignificantly small, that just seemed like a desperate 'grab' on a current trend. But then I watched this video by British comedian Jonathan Pie that really resonated with me:

 

  

In today's world, any and every action we take is going to be painfully hypocritical. Why go vegan when you still burn fossil fuels on the way to work? Why protest climate change when you still use an iPhone that contains materials mined by ill-treated workers that are devastating for the environment? Why change to 100% recycled and biodegradable polymailers, when you're then exporting packages across the world and contributing to the growing amount of new clothes being made?

Because, as Jonathan delicately points out, it's because we're not arseholes. Ridiculing genuine acts, however little they are, that try to tackle one of the biggest crises of our age is a pretty shitty thing to do. 

This isn't me saying that we should let cases of 'green-washing' go, where companies use climate change as a vehicle to sell more stuff. Companies should be honest, transparent and self-accountable in their sustainability policies - Noah and Heresy are bigger streetwear brands that demonstrate this well, trying to improve whilst being very self-aware and conscious of of the bigger problem.

We should be encouraging any small acts in hope of inspiring bigger systematic change, instead of belittling them. We shouldn't be scared to try and make a difference. 

So, are you an arsehole, or a hypocrite? I know I'm trying my best to be a hypocrite.