Last weekend my fiancé Ben McGuire and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary with a lovely day at our local beach. Ben is the ultimate guy's guy. He towers over my diminutive 5'2 with his 6'2 and is your standard footy-following, beer drinking, pie-eating, hamburger-chomping masculine specimen.
He's neither hippie nor hipster. He's not idealistic altruistic airy-fairy (which I can be at times) and despite a beard that he grows when he can't be bothered shaving, he's quick to point out the hypocrisy of hipsters who artfully groom themselves to make an "I don't care" statement.
Ben is also his own person - what I believe isn't necessarily what he believes. We are two individuals with strong opinions and although we are in a loving, caring, respectful relationship, we aren't afraid to disagree openly. Neither one of us really dominates these discussions; a true sign of an equal partnership.
So here is how our sustainability approach differs:
- I am a vegetarian, and he is not. I choose not to eat meat for personal ethical reasons and Ben has his own set of values. He has no concerns with eating meat (apart from the welfare of the animals) nor does he flinch at the idea of slaughtering animals he has raised himself. Ben feels that animals should be raised correctly and fed correctly - away from factory farms and unnatural settings - but he is not opposed to animals being raised for consumption. In fact, years ago when we first moved to regional Queensland, he spent time with our neighbour - a farmer - to learn how to correctly slaughter chickens and pigs. Needless to say I was nowhere to be seen when this was going on.
- I actively boycott companies and corporations for a range of wrong-doings: environmental disasters and non-action (British Petroleum); unethical advertising and elitist management (Nestle); those fighting against public policy that is beneficial to the environment and selling food products that provide no nutritional benefit (Coca Cola) and have questionable production processes and ethics (all fast fashion businesses). Ben is not an activist the way I am. His idea of activism lies in creating a real self-sustaining alternative to the messy system we have today. Just don't call our farm a 'commune' because it isn't and it won't be.
- My practise of sustainability can often be seen in the day-to-day household purchases and choices I make which tends to lean towards giving up things, doing without, making things and seeking better eco-friendly alternatives. Ben prefers to think about overall sustainable design so that he doesn't have to give up the things he loves. This is essentially the reason we use alternative energy (solar power means guilt free use of energy) and we are getting a cow, a goat and pigs on the farm: for sustainable dairy and meat.
If you're curious to find out more about my eco side-kick (whom I've dubbed Eco Warrior Prince) or just want to know what a blokey bloke really thinks about sustainability watch this interview:
If you have a partner I'd love to know if they are on the sustainability journey with you. Have they embraced it? Are they somewhere on the eco-friendly spectrum or are they indifferent? Feel free to leave a comment below!