Why do we keep trying to save the planet so unsuccessfully? Maybe it's your fault
How could we evolve from the destruction we are producing?
Shameless or clueless
A few weeks ago a couple of friends declared their irrevocable decision of becoming vegetarians with immediate effect. This change of lifestyle was apparently driven by Leonardo diCaprio's new documentary, not to mention the many other TV programs they probably watched while sitting on their leather sofa, eating chicken wings and ham sandwiches.
I applauded their decision, or rather their newly-born interest in looking beyond their comforts and current lifestyles to incorporate at least a small hint of what happens beyond their Western middle class lives.
Maybe I am too cruel but I couldn't help offering my friends another piece of information to make them explore beyond animal cruelty or nature devastation: I invited them to visit Greentumble (http://greentumble.com) partly to make them think outside the box, partly to give them a taste of the many changes they could start making. This is an independent website where I found a collection of reports and ideas on environmental issues without any political affiliation and plenty of facts.
If we are ever going to embrace the change needed, our change needs to be bolder and bigger than attempting to tackle one issue at the time.
Whilst many people are choosing to recycle, use alternative sources of energy and support green policies, the change is unlikely to have the impact needed if we don't start shifting our perception of the role we play in this planet. I imagine Earth as this helpless being trying to fight a plague invading every corner of her existence and I wonder when will rage finally take over. Rage will then translate in all sorts of calamities and natural disasters which at the moment seem to be in the raise.
So what now?
Whilst recycling paper is no longer seen as the result of demonic influences from non believers who hug trees and light candles, it seems very few people stop to think that perhaps their Fair Trade coffee cup may end up becoming waste with a life span of several decades before Earth manages to disintegrate it.
Likewise, many vegetarians don't realize that their cosmetics or even the supposedly harmless face cream supporting their hydration strategy with 8 glasses of fresh spring water may be made with palm oil and contributing to deforestation and climate change at the same pace than the cows providing the steaks they proudly refuse.
So in the extent that we isolate environmental issues, health, diet and every other trend we are trying to support, we are unlikely to achieve the results we are really looking for. There is not much development in any green front on its own. We are now called to think globally and inclusively.
If each of us decided to approach environmental issues with a wider sense of commitment to the welfare of the planet, the results could be reached much quicker. There is no doubt that green policies and government plans have a massive impact but individual changes build the collective. A new way of thinking about the planet needs to reflect our daily lives. We make decisions about what we consume every day, yet we are ignoring the big picture when we make those decisions. I have decided to list below a few examples and everyone is welcome to contribute new ideas to this list. The more the merrier. Let's find new opportunities to become aware of our personal influence to the big picture:
- Recycle, up-cycle, exchange, donate or continue using what you've got. Imagine waste collection doesn't exist anymore and your living room is now where your waste will end.
- Change your frame of mind and acquire only that which is necessary, think about the life span of any item you are considering to get and find other uses for each object you are tempted to throw away.
- Everything in your plate must go: buy and cook only the amount you are going to consume. Great amounts of landfill are nothing but food decomposing slowly and producing toxic gases. This video says it all: http://greentumble.com/using-leftovers-to-save-the-planet/
- Read all labels: those on clothes and food are a good start. The origin of the products, their ingredients or components, the energy it will require to keep them or make good use of them are easy to find once you read labels and ingredients. For instance, a garment requiring dry cleaning is obviously going to continue polluting through your lifetime and beyond. Organic food is great but not if it is shipped from the farthest corner of the planet to reach your plate.
- Don't ask for change, be the change: no change can be achieved unless you decide to be part of it. Small changes in your own attitude and vision can propel a collective transformation beyond rules imposed by others.