Evangelical Environmentalists

Ben discusses the lengths that his current hosts in Tweed go to in order to be environmentally friendly

When Denice announced within minutes of my arrival that she and her husband John considered themselves both to be evangelical environmentalists I began to wonder if my planned two-week stay here was a little ambitious... And it quickly became apparent that this was no exaggeration. These two were hardcore...

...They throw away almost nothing, they recycle practically everything and have an obsession with composting that is simply terrifying. Even with water consumption, John and Denice between them use the same amount of water in a week as most people use just brushing their teeth.

Their attitude towards waste is quite simply exemplary and illustrating this wonderfully is their participation in the Adopt a Highway programme where after being assigned a 2km stretch of highway they are responsible for keeping it clean and free of litter. Twice during my stay I helped them out, where after donning a high-vis jacket and arming myself with a couple of bin bags I found myself picking through everything from empty beer bottles and sunglasses to run-down skunks and bottles of urine.

But true to form Denice and John's commitment went much further than simply collecting the waste because once we had dragged it all back home we not only sorted it all for recycling but had most of it even washed.
I am all up for litter picking but draw the line when it comes to washing out bottles people have used to urinate in
The point of all this is never before have I met people whose every decision, no matter how small, is governed largely by the impact it may have on the environment. But why is this?

Why wouldn't you want to preserve this?
Well Denice and John spent their careers as wildlife cinematographers and after having watched their film on Western Canada the answer to this question became a little clearer as throughout the film which together Denice and John researched, scripted, filmed and edited, their passion for the natural world was simply inspiring. Their film was wonderfully personal and as well as capturing some fantastic shots it highlighted many of the threats that this vast natural landscape faces in a modern World.

To answer the question then, I believe it is their amazing careers that have enabled them to really appreciate the natural World for what it is. And even now, in retirement, whilst they live in their passive-house surrounded by nothing but nature and wildlife is it really any wonder why both John and Denice want to preserve this most spectacular environment?

And so this is their point. With over 7 billion of us living ever longer and demanding ever more in our consumer-driven lives the environmental cost is staggering. However, and what I have found most enlightening about my stay here in Tweed is that John and Denice are living proof that despite the preconceived notions many of us have about being "green" it is completely viable to live a complete and fulfilling life and yet still leave only the smallest and softest of footprints.

If you have a spare half an hour I would encourage you to watch these two videos Denice had us watch: The Story of Stuff and The Story of Bottled Water

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