Making the Christian voice on nature protection heard: Lifestyle Choices

20 November 2017
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Category Blog, News
20 November 2017, Comments 0

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I was asked to write this blog as an 'expert' which made me laugh, so I thought I would come clean about that by sharing my most recent visit to Tesco with you. Yes, Tesco, where every little hurts, and punters are relentlessly beamed down upon by huge images of representative customers and the delicious meals they have made with their Tesco ingredients. It’s a clever strategy. It helps us feel home-grown, implies family and shared eating, and supports an obvious ‘good thing’ - that we make our meals from scratch.

I perceive myself to be very busy. I also go to Tesco because it’s my local shop. At my particular Tesco there are people on the tills who I have seen around for 25 years – I’ve grown middle-aged with some of them. People are employed long term who might struggle to find work otherwise -they are a team in there, they do fundraising together. So already I am conflicted: Tesco the mega-corporate operates positively in my local community.

So this is how I shop when there’s only me to think about, as was the case this week.I’m really in a hurry. I know exactly where to find my limited range of usuals, so I zoom round, nodding, or waving at people I know by sight, or saying hi to any young people who grin at me thereby making me assume I must have taught them at some point. I need 3 meals to get me through to this time tomorrow. The inner dialogue starts up at speed: here’s an extract from my eco-brain blur:

“Great, an opportunity for a proper vegan 24 hours! Vegan cheese has surely got to be a crime against civilisation. That stilton looks lovely, I haven’t had any for a while.

Eggs, I need eggs, half a dozen organic and free range. I’ve got to do an eco-church talk, better know how much I am actually paying for these eggs (expletive) 30p each! Tesco basics hen-torturing brand are 11p. I really don’t believe treating hens decently can be 3 times as expensive. Global economic system rip-off! That young woman I used to teach, with 3 kids in tow, is buying 24 of the hen-torturing type. Of course she is, and she will have had the Compassion in World Farming lessons from me.

Why are you just buying for 24 hours? You know it’s inefficient and more expensive, your inability to plan your eating is exactly the kind of thinking that keeps us in this mess. It’s feeling autumnal, I’ll have a bit of soup for lunch, haven’t got time to make it from a carrot and a parsnip for 21p, I’ll just have that £2.50 plastic pot for today.

I love asparagus! You know it’s air freighted from Peru in its little plastic tray and shrink wrap cover, why is that not against the law? Walk on by!

(Expletive) packaging, today is the day I really am going to tip out all my stuff at the till and insist that Tesco deals with the problem (I should tell you that there are fresh fruit and veg market stalls immediately opposite Tesco with unwrapped produce, but that would mean more than one stop and probably queueing).

(Expletive) Tesco! They’ve removed their only recycled toilet paper stock.”

And so it goes…home for lunch with my comforting packaged soup. I rinse and recycle the plastic container (Deborah, you KNOW that in no way offsets the energy and raw materials and direct support of the oil industry and plastic waste washed up on some island shore next year).

So here I am, a lifestyle expert! I could add that cycling is my main mode of transport, I’ve been vegetarian for 30 years, and I eat something I’ve grown myself most days of the year (privilege – I’ve got space to grow stuff). But the point is that none of us can be expert and all of us, every day, relentlessly are making individual decisions that are exhausting, not black and white, and are TOO HARD to be making individually within our societal context.

So let’s start at the bottom, and try and grab hold of what is it in the personal lifestyle sphere that is really hard for you and your church communities - that seems to just generate cycles of dilemma and trade-off, that makes you frustrated or angry or exhausted or disempowered - and try to tackle them, one by one, one day at a time.

For hints and tips on how to get to grips with lifestyle issues and ideas on how to make changes in your own life, visit You can also share your lifestyle tips on our Facebook page.

Deborah Colvin

Deborah trained and worked as an agricultural scientist, then spent many years in science and environmental education and school leadership. She is a churchwarden in London and currently works for the Bats in Churches project, actively promoting co-existence between humans and the other-than-human.
'The earth is our home and our being. I fight for change in the heart and soul of people, in order to effect the ecological change the world needs'
Deborah Colvin

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