Sitting here with my morning coffee alongside my laptop screen, I’m both tasting and smelling the rich, earthy aromas of my morning habit. Each sip fills me with the flavour that I crave as the light shimmers into my room through softly blowing curtains. It wraps around and through my body, heightening each sense in a careful melody that I have practiced day after day, month after month and year after year. It is a necessity of my morning, a bare necessity if you like. Yet, as the bitter taste coats my tongue I’m left thinking about more than the robust, earthy flavour this morning.
My mind is wandering to locations where I have been, to coffee fields I have walked through, to mountains I have climbed, valleys that I have strolled down and even other places that I have not yet been. Whether they are a town in Andhra Pradesh named Vizag where the beaches are meant to reach out toward the rising sun each and every morning or whether it is the mountainous, ice capped country of Bhutan. These days, as I take another sip, I know that they all have something in common. Something similar.
Each of these locations is now impacted upon by the way we have been living. Whether it is plastic discards, that take anywhere up to 700 years to breakdown to microplastics- never fully leaving our environment. Or whether it is something similar to the waste truck that, a few minutes ago, drove passed my window with my swaying curtains. The truck is filled with mixed waste. When it drove down the street I cast my eyes over cardboard contaminated with someone’s unfinished dinner from last evening, glass crushed together with shards sticking up for an unfortunate waste picker to clasp their hands around and many other nameless objects destined for the same fate.
My home in Bangalore has all of this around, so does that beach on the east coast of India, or that small mountainous country to the north. Everywhere has something in common. Something similar.
I’m down to my penultimate mouthful of my brown liquid, which is no longer steaming hot. My coffee. My morning desire. An essential part of my day. Where the beans for the coffee came from exactly I am not sure. I know it was not close, not within one hundred kilometres or so. I know that although I now have tomorrow’s ground beans in a reusable container the original came in a plastic bag that will not break down to anything more than a microplastic trail somewhere on land or in the sea. I know that before I bought it the bag was likely in a box but I do not know whether if it was recycled or not. I’m guessing, but confident to do so, that there was plastic tape holding the box together when it was shipped to the store where I bought it from.
I know all of this as I take my final sip. I also know that the next bag I am going to source of coffee grind, in this mega city in southern India, will not come in a non- recyclable/ inorganic bag- similarly to how I bought rice from a rice trader last week, unpackaged, using a reusable bag to hold all the grains- I am going to find a sustainable solution. I know that this simple step, this simple action will be a positive. Each day I attempt to move toward limiting the negative effects I am having on the environment. It is simple but it is working.
As the bitter taste lingers on my tongue for a moment longer I hope that there is another person out there trying to do the same thing. Then from both of us another two. Then from the four, well you get the picture of my dream. Each simple step is there to ensure that everyone’s necessity, whether that is a morning coffee or something else, is accomplished more sustainably. That step is priceless.
We can still all have something in common. Something similar. In coffee fields, beaches and mountains alike, but wouldn’t it be far better that that is not plastic, or mixed waste or wastefulness in general? Wouldn’t it be better if our bare necessities were sustainable? Wouldn’t it be better if the commonality, our similarity, was simply that we all enjoy the soft trickle of sunlight creeping through the blinds every morning of every day of every month of every year?Continue reading