I’VE given up buying ‘things’ for my son’s Birthday. Like the rest of us, he already has too much ‘stuff’. I now go for Birthday ‘experience’ usually with friends; we can share it as father and son and the memories of which will linger in his mind way after some ‘thing’ that he will grow out of. There’s so much to do in and around Salisbury, we’re spoiled for choice; escape rooms, activities at the Arts Centre, special visits to museums, the Cathedral Spire, the Playhouse, picnics at Wilton House.

This year, we rounded things off with a meal at a restaurant of his choice. “Can we have a Deliveroo…?” he asked, citing a local chain. I winced. Not at the thought of the meal at home, (which would cost the same as eating out but without the benefit of no washing up) but at the plethora of plastic trays, packaging and disposable cutlery, that would accompany the meal.

The home delivery food industry is now a growing contributor to the world’s plastic waste. Today, eating out (a rarity when I was a child) is relatively cheap; getting something delivered can be cheaper than cooking at home. And since the choice of outlet may be influenced by online reviews, outlets will double wrap or use expensive packaging rather than run the risk of a dish spoiled in transit causing a bad review. And the trays and disposable cutlery go out with the rubbish.

I once visited my brother in Dubai; I was shocked by its extravagance. The gas guzzling cars; the energy consumed in the largest shopping malls in the world; the ski dome – 30 degrees outside, minus 5 inside; luxury foodstuffs flown in from every corner of the globe. Dubai is not alone. Energy and plastic consumption in the world’s largest economies continues to grow. Will my determination to recycle, avoid plastic, eat organic and use low energy light bulbs have any effect in the face of such international profligacy?

There are three answers.

First: every great journey begins with a first step; enough little steps and government and big business start to take notice.

Second, we may never know the results of our actions, but if we take no action, there will be no results: if you do nothing, nothing will change.

And third, and perhaps most importantly, doing something decisive (however small and insignificant) that gives tangible expression to something you believe in, gives you greater integrity. You feel better for it; you stand taller – and that might even speak louder and have a greater effect on those around you than the action itself.

It may be just a gesture – but making some sort of gesture is better than making no gesture at all.