The tiny van slewed to a halt and out jumped a young woman wearing muddy gumboots. Her long golden hair flew in the wind as she flung open the back doors, pulled out a wooden box filled with vegetables and lugged it along the pavement. A shop door opened, out stepped a woman with purple and pink punk hair which contrasted with her flowing hippie Turkish bags and they laughed as the crate changed hands.
This was our little high street at nine in the morning and another van soon off-loaded a box of fruit also picked at dawn. Within minutes, sheltering from the bitter wind upon a sunny bench nestled against the ancient honey-stone church opposite, I bit into an apple found only found in Somerset. The night before we had enjoyed a leg of free-range duck the butcher down the road buys from a nearby farm. Most of our food in this small market town comes from the locality so hereabouts, your CO2 emissions can be incredibly low. It’s the way ahead - everywhere should revert to this ancient model.
One of the great things about England is the amount of Zero Waste Shops which have blossomed in small towns and cities this past decade. Shop at that bright punk-hippie’s and the other shops within these two hundred metres and you feel great as you walk away free of plastic, wrapping and packaging with all the goods, local and other, that you need to exist and thrive, which cuts CO2 emissions hugely.
In my lifetime we’ve moved from what these Zero Waste places are returning to and fallen for slick, impersonal supermarket culture. Small independent shops have all but gone as mass sameness controlled by huge companies take over every aspect of our lives.
Walk four hundred metres to the big supermarket behind the main street, pass through the crammed carpark, dodge people shoving trolley loads of vegetables, fruit and food double wrapped in plastic, plastic inner box and cardboard outer box. These massive piles of factory goods are driven to the estate houses a mere three, five or seven hundred metres away.
Today it’s all about quantity over quality, we have been trained by industry to buy and throw away without thought. Gripped by the latest gizmo, a fantastic palm sized computer which connects with the entire world, we discard it three years later because a better camera emerges from the seething swamp of industrial production.
An amazing product containing rare metals whose extraction has devastated parts of the Congo jungle and created wars now lies in landfill because we’ve moved on.
What is wrong with us. We’ve become robots buying what they make us buy. We are destroying this precious Planet because we think we are advancing. In truth, we are regressing. We have become lesser apes, morons who all think exactly the same thoughts - buy, buy, throw away, throw away.
Aren’t we clever!