Having signed up for a life as a Zero I am duty bound to do good, to right wrongs both large and small, to meddle in events both global and local, and to take credit for any good thing that happens within a four mile radius of me and anywhere else in the world and also throughout history. But even with my in-built awesomeness, even with my devotion to the cause, even with my principal principles well in place, these things can drift. People, it’s time for a do-gooding audit!
I’m doing okay with Fairtrade, having substituted a decent amount of evil-hearted products with their noble Fairtrade equivalents. I’m strict on tea, coffee, sugar, bananas, cereal bars and cocoa powder, a bit patchy with the likes of jam, marmalade, spices and non-banana based fruitage, and lousy with the likes of cereal and clothes. My excuse here is around availability but, if we’re honest, I could track them down with a little effort. There’s work to be done there. Laziness aside, chocolate remains my weak point, both with Fairtrade and with life in general. I crave the lusty brown beast like my grandmother craves cock, and without personal intervention from Nancy Reagan I’m powerless against its charms. I buy Fairtrade chocolate whenever it’s around, made easier by the likes of Dairy Milk and Maltesers, and go for Rainforest Alliance as a back up but if the need’s upon me and I’m facing an only partially-stocked vending machine I’ll go for whatever they’ve got and say balls to Africa and hide in a corner and cram the dirty brown glory block into my face hole. On Fairtrade, then, I’m mostly worse than Hitler.
The Nestlé boycott’s my strong point, my moral Achilles’ rest of body. You’ll recall how Nestlé aggressively markets baby milk formula in countries where the dirty water it gets mixed with can kill and where the price can knacker the world’s poorest people and how it does this in spite of breast milk coming free and breasts being fitted as standard on the bodies of roughly half the adult population of the planet. I’ve not bought anything from them sons of bitches in about six years, not counting the ton of chocolate I bought in the name a particularly immature burn. Even when faced with the vending machine dilemma I steer clear of Nestlé, even though my life is emptier for the absence of Drifters and their chewy goodness, Milky Bars and their creepy child mascots and Yorkies and their tedious gender stereotyped marketing campaigns. Yes yes, full points for me there.
Likewise, I continue to be awesome in the category of vegetarianism, at least in terms of not eating animals. I remain fairly lousy in terms of basic nutrition. Fact is, try as I might, I just can’t give two shits about it. For that I’ll score myself two Linda McCartneys, minus one Heather Mills, resulting in a final score of a PETA volunteer’s exposed vagina.
As for volunteering, I’m a little conflicted. Fundraising for Yaknak, I’ve done a half marathon and a cross country 10k in the past couple of months and bigged up regular donations that now account for more than half its income. It would, of course, be unwise to make direct comparisons with Christ. We all know how that went for John Lennon – who I am also like. However, good as I am there’s something slightly unsatisfying about it all, being as how most of the work is done online, tucked away in Zero Towers rather than out in the world. I felt much more hands on and do-goodery when I was doing those river clean ups but it’s amazing how quickly you get tired of picking up other people’s junk and condoms. Here, I feel, I need to do something new.
Environmentally I’m about middle on the Al Gore/Fox News spectrum. I’ve abandoned public transport for work in favour of some actual reliability and convenience, a sell out so huge John Lydon interrupted the filming of his latest butter advert to give me a telling off. Similarly, I haven’t got around to changing my electricity supply to more expensive renewable energy thanks to colossal student debt, and have dabbled with old, evil washing up liquid after the plant-based stuff proved insufficient for the greasy shit I’ve been cooking. I’ve also got a bit slack around reusable shopping bags, often forgetting to take them with me and having to buy new ones which probably makes them less environmentally friendly than the thinner disposable ones. Worse than all of this, I’ve reverted to old incandescent light bulbs in some of the windowless rooms in Zero Towers, the gloom in winter descending to somewhere around the middle ages. In the plus column, I still recycle like a mutha, still refuse plastic cups at the water cooler, still buy second hand, still compost, still go for sustainable materials when buying stuff, and still avoid veg flown from Uganda when there’s local stuff on offer. I’d say I’ve got a bit of work to do if Al Gore is ever to make me his bride.
So there we are. A spot of awesomeness with a degree of slippage. I need to get more fundamentalist on Fairtrade chocolate, walk with a cocky swagger on behalf of the Nestlé boycott, try and be a slightly better vegetarian to the extent that I give a shit, really pull up my hemp socks on the environment and either do some hands-on volunteering or feel smugger about the stuff I’m doing already. None of which brings us to September’s Charity of the Month. It’s me. Please give generously.