Tuesday, 22 April 2008


Notwithstanding a couple of barnstorming worldwide emigrations, I’m a pretty low-carbon-footprinted person in general. I haven’t owned a car in many years, preferring my trusty fifteen-year-old bike and good old Shanks’s pony. (well, when it’s minus forty, “prefer” is a bit of a strong term; “suffer” is more accurate, but I damn well do it). I turn off the lights and turn down the heat, etc etc.

What I do have is a Stuff footprint.

When we departed New Zealand, the minimal Stuff we accumulated was donated to the Salvation Army. This was effectively because I didn’t make time to find a similar organisation to whom I would prefer to donate it. I usually avoid the S.A on the grounds of its tub-thumping staunchness on how gay people are going to hell in a pink handbasket (see also Work Of The Devil, loving-the-sinner-and-hating-the-sin, aka patronising the marginalised and being smug about it in an intolerant, tambouriney, and not-at-all-Romans-14 sort of way). But on this occasion I allowed my belief that some of those they help need stuff more than I need to make a point, to prevail. (incidentally, as tolerant people – do we have to tolerate their intolerance? Philosopher friends, you know who you are; answers on a postcard).

Prior to that, I departed Canada, leaving Stuff with Community Living and the MCC, (some of whom are at least freakin’ talking about it, which is encouraging).

Now we’re back, Stuffless, and although we don’t accumulate a lot, have paid homage to the church of Ikea and begun building up again, with at least a couple of chairs, something to sleep on, and something to drink tea out of. But I feel a bit like countries with a space programme must (should?) – dropping off space junk willy-nilly and leaving it about the place. (Admittedly, I don’t think space junk goes to any intergalactic MCC, but you know). We’ve left a Stuff trail.

Although our current furniture ain’t going on the Antiques Roadshow in two hundred years, some of this lot might, I hope, see us out – or at least close to. I’d feel better, because although I’d bet people are getting use out of our discarded stuff, I can’t know for sure.

One thing at least is certain: thousands of years from now, when our civilisation is unearthed, archaeologists will write doctoral papers about the unusual conglomerations of small bendy allen keys found around human habitations (except in countries that had no Ikea, of course). Now that’s a footprint.

1 comment:

Allison Fairbairn said...

Now, what of the criticism that Ikea furniture is essentially disposable furniture (although how can you bring yourself to dispose of something with a person's name?!)?

I am glad your social politics align with your furniture donations. As a former MCC Thrift Store (Village Green!) manageress, your donations are very much appreciated as long as they don't smell funny. And the money goes to helping flood victims and whatnot.