I’d like to loan you a mirror.

Those mirrors that show off our external reflection are useful but it’s not one of those. It’s a mirror capable of showing assumptions behind your actions. A linking mirror, a cause-and-effect mirror, an examination-of-actions mirror. 

There are many actions that we undertake at REAL which fly in the face of typical. For example, rather than issuing takeaway, single-use cutlery, we give real, metal forks with which to eat takeaway meals. We have a ‘Returns box’ outside our front door into which the used metal forks can be returned at any time.

Giving metal forks isn’t meant to be confrontational but it often is.

“And would you like cutlery with which to eat your takeaway meal?”

I bend to the shelf below the counter to grab said cutlery, in this case a metal fork and offer it to the customer. Nine times out of ten their jaw drops, their hands flutter negatively like uncertain butterflies and they take a step backwards.

Until I put their mind slightly at ease by introducing them to the Returns box at the door saying, “forks can be returned at any time, even tomorrow is fine”, they are hesitant, reluctant and thrown completely off kilter by the offer of reusable cutlery.

What are we doing as a climate-challenged society if we not only expect single use but run a mile from the offer of something that involves a ‘return’ commitment?

After all, it’s only a fork. I believe that we have to understand that we no longer have the earthly resources to be able to make and apply something, expecting it to be used only once. As a consequence, we need to embed actions into our lives to commit to this and, yes, maybe that involves sharing freely the items that we think we own, with friends and strangers alike. Use that mirror which I loaned you. Identify where you might avoid or refuse single use items. 

If you think that we, at REAL are attempting to change the world one fork at a time you might be right! A change of habit through the return of a metal fork we hope, may dip a customer into an examination of other non-earth friendly habits.

And if the customer doesn’t return the fork, does it matter? No way. They have the fork lurking in their bag ready to use for their next takeaway meal. It’s the sowing of those little habitual earth saving seeds that matters most.

Love where you live xx


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Have a topic you’d like discussed? Email me at info@theplaceofwonder.com.au and let me know