How Environmentally Friendly Is the Wizarding Community?
Welcome to some musings into the functioning of wizard society. While I was pondering the inner workings of the wizarding world, thinking about life as a witch at Hogwarts and imagining what interesting books there would be at Flourish and Blotts – you know, usual Saturday afternoon daydreaming – a thought struck me. With all the growing concern surrounding climate change and the health of the environment, how could wizards contribute to solving the world’s environmental problems? Indeed, are wizards environmentally friendly? In honor of World Environment Day and those who spend too much time thinking about the daily lives of wizards, here are some thoughts on the wizarding world and environmental action.
I imagine that well-placed cleaning spells such as the Scouring Charm would be dead useful for cleaning up waterways, oil spills, and perhaps just messes made from overturned garbage bins. We’ll have to talk to Molly Weasley or Andromeda Tonks – who is apparently a real wiz with household spells.
Taking the Zero-Waste Movement to the Next Level
Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to wave a wand and the trash would all just… disappear? Vanishing Spells are a double-edged solution since while it may help wizards vanish their waste, is it truly gone? The examples we see of this spell in use suggest not – after all, I don’t believe that those fourth years would be encouraged to vanish snails, mice, and even kittens if they were permanently gone from the world. This creates an interesting dilemma concerning accountability. If wizards simply vanish the world’s waste, will it fix the problem? Or will it simply cause an even bigger issue surrounding careless consumer use?
Portkeys and Recycling
It seems that wizards do have some creative recycling solutions. Portkeys, for example, are a great way of reusing the unwanted objects of the world – and show us how we can take overlooked or “useless” items and give them new life. Indeed, Portkeys show us that reusing objects for new purposes can end up giving them a more important function than before – I mean, teleportation kind of trumps any function of a normal, everyday object.
Social Issues Within the Wizarding World Often Mirror Our Own
This is not to say that the environmental problems we face in the Muggle world would be easily wiped away in the wizarding world. After all, the social issues that wizards face within their society often closely mirror our own in terms of prejudice against certain groups and class-level elitism. So who knows? Perhaps the measures mentioned above are in effect, but it’s not enough to combat these problems. Perhaps wizards face other issues that we can only speculate about. Perhaps they do all they can, but their small population and the Statute of Secrecy prevents even the fiercest of environmental advocates from doing more.
Wizarding Environmental Leaders
Who are the leaders of environmental action in the wizarding world? The strongest two that I can imagine are two who have already proven their fighting spirit. Neville Longbottom, a hero of the Battle of Hogwarts, is surely an obvious choice given his affinity to magical plants and Herbology. The other, a free-spirited soul who is not afraid to voice her unpopular opinions, is Luna Lovegood. I can definitely see her advocating on behalf of those who have no voice – a wizarding world Lorax, if you will. And speaking of the Lorax, let us not forget the formidable protective measures that many wizarding plants employ – from Devil’s Snare to Snargaluff pods and mandrakes. Many magical plants are more than capable of protecting themselves, not to mention Bowtruckles, those fierce tree guardians most commonly found in wand trees. But who knows? The growing environmental crisis is important because it threatens the planet upon which we all live. So who’s to say there wouldn’t be other environmental leaders in the wizarding community, perhaps ones we’ve never considered before?
Magic is sadly not an option for the Muggles and No-Majs of the world. And although we might love a simple solution to resolve the issues that face our world’s habitats and environment, the reality is that it’s not so easy. But perhaps these ideas can still help us think creatively about the problems we face, to find and create imaginative solutions to them. A little hope and optimism never hurt either, so perhaps we can take direction from the beloved characters of the series and emulate them with our actions as we fight against climate change, plastic pollution, and the score of other environmental issues that threaten our world.