The difficulty of choice

On Monday this week we packed the whole family in our Land Rover Defender, and drove about 600 kilometers (approx 370 miles) from Ljubljana, Slovenia to Sarajevo, Bosnia. It’s the second time we’re here in less than a month. As I sat on the front seat in Ljubljana, knowing we’ll be driving for several hours, I felt a sting in my conscience.

The car is over 20 years old, not exactly the environmental saint with what comes to cars. I bought this working machine two years ago to be our vehicle for the mountains and shoot sessions in my business. I’d dreamed of a Defender since I was 17 years old, I loved the idea that this bulky beauty could get me anywhere, up a mountain, over rivers, and through all kinds of off-road-trails.

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It consumes about 13-15 liters of gas per 100 km (3,4-4 gallons per 100 miles, right?). Maximum speed is around 110 km per hour (approx 68 miles per hour). Because of these features it’s commonly used only when needed, not so much for Sunday driving.

It’s not our only car either. We have a smaller car for less heavy duty driving. Would we do with one, I’ve been thinking. We both work as freelancers in businesses where we need to be on the move quickly, at odd hours, and equipped with various tools and stuffs. So for now, the answer is no, we won’t make it with just one.

Some days ago I checked what is available on the used cars market in Slovenia, anything more ecological and economical? I came across a few Toyota hybrids (for about 15.000 euros, 20.000 US dollars), that is too small for our purposes, and one Peugeot that might be large enough (for over 30.000 euros, 39.000 US dollars). A lot of euros. The simple fact is that we cannot afford to drive more green as yet.

Driving is more ecological than flying, I pat myself in the back. Coming to Bosnia was inevitable, staying at home was not an option. So is this as green as we can do? And what about everything else: food, cosmetics, clothes, energy? How to travel, how to renovate or build?

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I consider myself rather conscious on these matters. I don’t mind acquiring information, that’s what I do. But as a consumer I’m crying for more accurate information on goods. What is greener than the other? What are the options? Where are the reliable comparisons of products and services?

As long as I lived in Finland, I thought this was relatively easy. I could choose to divert my money to a company providing green energy, and I could rely on a very well established public transportation. Things I took for granted. Now based in Slovenia, it’s a different situation (especially as I’m sad to say my Slovene is poor) – even gathering information is challenging.

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This project is already doing to me what I was afraid it might. I find myself questioning the choices I make, even when I see there’s not a perfect solution. Doing my best doesn’t seem to do it. Yet I’m thinking I’m not the fanatic type…

10 days into the year, and I’m putting the devices off when not using them, I’ve chosen not buy, I’ve certainly minimised food waste. But I’ve also bought non-organic, and I’ve driven when I could’ve taken a train.

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Is it enough to try, to do my best? Try harder, I’m telling myself. With a smile on my face.

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