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eating the future

eating the planet

How to stop eating the future

Native American art.  Image: John Rudolph
Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then will you find you cannot eat money

Native American saying
Native American art.  Image: John Rudolph

The choice is yours. If you don't care and just want to carry on buying, buying, buying... well, you won't be reading this anyway.

But you are reading this, aren't you!

That must mean you do care.

And I know you can make a difference. It won't be obvious or fast but it will happen. It has to if our beautiful planet is to survive with all its wonderful life and variety. Ignoring the problems – generally called 'business as usual' – will mean a poor and dreary world with filthy air, rivers and sea, waste plastic everywhere, land covered by more roads, airports, bigger industrial farms and cities. And more wars.

And where will the wild creatures be? There won't be any space left. Penguins, polar bears and many other creatures are already in trouble — as are around one billion people who barely have enough to eat. By consuming less, you can help to create a fairer sustainable world.


making music is fun

lifestyle is a choice. You can choose to change it Drop down a gear or two. Slow down. Chill out (I like chilling out!). Spend more time with friends. Play more. Buy less. Make music. Learn to cook. Get involved in local conservation efforts. The best things in life are free. You can't buy laughter or happiness!


please mend me!

learn about how to mend things or ask someone else to help a small tube of glue can stop something you broke becoming more junk. A few stitches with a needle and thread fixes that rip in your pants. Mending things — recycling really — is much cheaper than buying new. You'll find you discover all kinds of new useful skills — and have fun! Fixing something is very satisfying. Taking care of your stuff helps too.


recycling symbol

recycle everything you can cans, bottles, jars, paper, most plastics, food waste (for compost) — almost everything can be used again in some way if you take the trouble to separate it and make sure it gets to your recycling centre. And if there is no local recycling centre, maybe you can campaign to get one. After all, there's no sense in driving 50 miles to take a few bottles to be recycled. But now, more and more towns and cities have proper recycling services. Usually you have special bins provided into which you put all the different types of recyclable stuff you want to throw away. Once a week, the bins get emptied and the (re)cycle starts again. It's a great sevice if you have it so be sure to use it!


hiking with your friends is something you can do

can I do this forever?
get the habit of asking yourself that question. You can drink as many glasses of water or eat as many potatoes as you want because the water gets naturally recycled and potatoes grow new every year. You can also go hiking with your friends. But can you fly between Australia and New York every week? Not when all the fuel has run out. And what about all that pollution that your flight makes? Try my interactive sustainability quiz and find out if you are a future-eater
NASA scientists have found that tiny soot particles emitted by jet engines create condensation trails (contrails) which crisscross the skies where aircraft have been. They are an important cause of global warming: "Contrails, and the cirrus clouds that evolve from them, have a larger impact on Earth's atmosphere than all the aviation-related carbon dioxide emissions since the first powered flight". Source


sharing can be fun

share things with your friends if there's something you, other family members or your friends really want, see if you can agree to buy it between you and share it

Buying power

buyers have power! (Click the dragon to find out more)

companies that make stuff for you to buy take a great interest in what you do buy. If loads of people stop buying something, the company won't make it any more. If loads of people choose to buy some other product because they can see it's not harming the planet, then that company not only makes money but is encouraged to make more planet-friendly things. Everyone wins!


me relaxing in my bath

chilling out

work less!
(I don't mean school work — I mean if you have a well-paid job)

why do humans work harder and harder (those who have work, that is)? Why must it be 5 days a week — or even more? Why not more holiday? Why must stores be open 24 hours a day? These are questions to talk about with friends, parents, teachers, local businesspeople, politicians. There are no easy answers but there's something wrong with the present work-work-work system. If it was making things that were really useful or needed, then it would be different. But it isn't. Most stuff quickly gets to be junk. Why waste the planet to make junk? Remember the tale of the Fisherman and the Tourist.



too many people?

the world is full up! It's now got around 6,500,000,000 people and going up. When you grow up and want to have kids, think about the life you will be able to give them. Meantime, here's some questions to think about:

When I first wrote this guide (1999), there were just 6 billion of you.
  • Will there be enough for everyone?
  • What about all the wild animals on the planet. Will there be space left for any of them?
  • Who should have children?
  • Who shouldn't?
  • And who decides?
There are no easy answers.


buying less stuff

each time you buy something, ask yourself: Do I really need this?
do you need all this?

If the honest answer is 'no', then don't buy. Not buying might be hard at the time, but then you have the money for something else that you might really need. And you can give yourself a big plus point for doing your bit for the planet.


rowing to school?

share transport Do you go to school in a car? If you do, is there room for more kids from your neighbourhood? Can you use a bus instead of riding in the car? Public transport is really about sharing with others. Use it or lose it.



try not to be lazy! Walk to the shops or your friends' houses. Or use a bike. The easy option is always to drive. But walking and biking do no harm to the planet. Driving does. Working out (in a gym) may be good for people. But walking out could be even better in the long run.

grow your own food

What do you think about eating the future? Have you any good ideas about what we can do to make things better? If you do, please write to me. As long as your message is sensible and friendly, I promise to reply.

Love from Tiki Tiki the eco-penguin If you've found my Eating the Future guide useful, please would you be kind enough to make a donation to help run my website. I know you kids don't have credit cards or anything but perhaps you could persuade either your parents or your school to make a donation. It's so easy and you can do it here.


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