How I am Helping the Planet

By Sarah Cains.  

Today, when out riding on my bike in knee-length pants, I felt the breeze ruffling hairs on my unshaven legs.  😱 Letting this piece of information out is taking lots of my courage; it feels deeply shameful.

(I promise I have not given up showering).

Let me tell you why I am burdening you with this arguably irrelevant news item.

It is not news that the Covid disaster has caused us to hit pause and take time to reflect, so here is my reflection on unshaven legs.

First up, since I’m now socially isolated, who is going to check out my smoothly shaven (or not) legs?

And second, I find myself to be conflicted. Along with shame about my fuzzy legs, I’m feeling triumphant that I can now sail confidently along supermarket aisle no.7 (I think that’s the one) ignoring the mind-boggling array of shaving equipment and knowing that I’m helping to save the planet.

How so?

Those supremely attractive and grabbable bags of shaving equipment are all made of plastic. And their alluring contents? Heaps and heaps more plastic, all cleverly designed to serve us only once or twice before we toss them in the bin and trot back to aisle 7 for another bag of these seemingly essential items. (Hmm? Shall I buy the product that served me well enough last time, or should I try the new line that’s offering me a free…?)

Why are we so easily convinced of the need to spend time and money on planet-polluting possibilities for changing the appearance of our bodies, each method seeming to be more seductively successful than the last?

Of course both you and I know the answer to these questions. In Covid-speak, it is called herd behaviour. Marketing has jumped on this phenomenon and worked it up into thousands of hugely successful ways of exploiting our minds and our wallets. But, to continue in Covid-speak, could we, perhaps, develop “herd immunity”?

Is it possible that, given this pause and an opportunity to think in new ways, we could see things like unshaven legs and natural-coloured hair as acceptable, thereby saving zillions of plastic throwaways together with volumes of chemical washing down drains. 


And, even more surprisingly, could we actually find that we like such changes?

Carrying this thinking further, could we turn the tables on other things that are arguably pointless? My hit list is long, starting with those grass edge-cutting machines that gouge little ankle-turning trenches along the sides of concrete footpaths.

Watch this space…

Last evening, on the radio, I heard a wise woman reflecting on the outlook from the window of her city apartment. The towering office blocks in her view were, in the time of Covid, no longer ablaze with light at night.

She wondered, had the powering up of all those empty offices been pointless?

In this uncertain world, I offer one certainty. At 1.6m distance, you can’t tell whether I’ve shaved my legs or not.