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Daniel Sweeney

The Impossible Environmentalist

I’ve always classed myself as being a supporter of the environment; ‘environmentally conscious’, a ‘conscientious consumer’ and a lover of the natural world. I grew up to David Attenborough’s hushed tones on TV, long walks in the outdoors and can tell a wood pigeon from a sparrowhawk at a mile away.

I consume news about the changing planet on an hourly basis; stories of rising temperatures, sea levels, raging forest fires and species teetering on the brink of extinction. I’ve always tried to shop ethically, reduce waste, recycle dutifully and turn off every light when I leave a room. I suppose there are many other diligent citizens out there who also ‘do their part’ in their own little ways.

Lately though I’ve started thinking, what does ‘following’ news of our planets peril really DO for anyone? I can read about rising CO2 levels until my eyes bleed, but that’s not going to change anything is it? In-fact the very act of ‘reading’ on my Lithium-ion charged macbook, while bathed in 60W lamplight, warmed by underfloor heating, clothed in items from Mexico and China, doused in an anti-perspirant concoction from Germany, drinking a freshly poured mug of South American coffee and let’s not forget breathing out CO2 the entire time, is nothing short of an environmental f**king catastrophe!

If you think that’s bad, things get worse. My whole life (well, from the age of two) I’ve been an avid drawer – just loved to scribble when I was young – I’d spend hours with a drawing pad and a bunch of pens, scawling away. The random swirls and zig zags soon took form and I became fully addicted. Every birthday, easter, christmas or trip to the zoo would see me with a new drawing pad to vent my creative meanderings. As I grew older, my passions and interests blossomed and I would collect cards, posters, books and magazines about the wonders of the world. So, after thirty-odd, very colourful years I’ve managed to plough through a forest worth of trees, probably logged and transported from every corner of the globe.

And get this, I’m not even THAT good at drawing. Yay me.

Hang on – I’m just getting started. In-fact that’s what this site is all about. My personal quest to try and account for just how much damage my life has had on poor old mother earth. I might even learn a few things along the way – like whether I’m the norm or are others making as much mess of this planet as I have?

It’s a pretty daunting task, but I won’t be put-off by the excruciating self analysis and mathwork involved in working it all out. I just NEED to know for my own fickle sanity.

What’s more – once I’ve figured out my ‘number’, I want to put things straight. It just seems like the right thing to do. But who knows if it’s even possible? I’ll just have to find out, won’t I.