Living and working consciously for the good of others and society as a whole takes effort. Being environmentally aware and thoughtful is an attitude in thought and followed through into deed, which is why many people don’t do it. They can’t be bothered, they have themselves and their own situation to worry about.

It can be a difficult trade-off. A few years ago we needed to paint a fair amount of the inside of our house. My good lady – who, incidentally is better and more aware than I am in this area – wanted to avoid using traditional, cheaper lead-free paint, for the health and well-being of its occupants and the greater good of the environment. So we decided to do that.

Except that, as it turned out in the subsequent weeks and months, the lead free, environmental stuff is not as ‘good’ as the regular stuff. We live in a cool, damp and windy climate, and the newly painted walls were quick to show the discolouring signs of damp. This situation led to a few painstaking hours every few months where we would have to wipe down the walls and clean them. We also had to leave the window open in the most used shower room, which was good for ventilation but less good for our heating bills and ultimately our old friend the environment.

Recently we decided we had to get the inside of the house repainted. We used traditional paint. We’ve not had a problem with the walls since. This is one example. I’m sure you can think of loads of others in work and in day-to-day play.

You see, tradeoffs are hard. They’re not straightforward or simple. Otherwise, if we didn’t have tradeoffs, we’d have infinite resources and time. And how dull would that be?