Wouldn’t it be great if we could just snap our fingers and solve the world’s problems? No more starvation, climate change or injustice? It would be fantastic but unless someone is hiding a genie-stuffed lamp somewhere, it’s not going to happen.
It’s going to take work, legislating and yet more work if we’re going to undo some of the damage done. There are five crucial areas that are hugely significant in terms of their contributions to environmental damage.
Energy is a very problematic topic, especially here in Australia where the mining industry has contributed to the economy. However, there is no reason sustainable energy can’t do the same thing as it grows as an industry. Rising electricity prices can be incredibly frustrating but the silver lining may be that we as consumers look more closely at our energy usage, although it can certainly be hard to see that silver lining from behind your mammoth electricity bill. Taking steps to reduce energy usage is a great start, but it has to extend past private households to businesses, who contribute most of the emissions.
Traffic and transport
The rise of electric cars and their potential adoption by the masses to replace existing cars is exciting, even if seems like there is still some ways to go, in addition to the manufacturing of the batteries being slightly complicated. Nonetheless, making traffic and transport a bit more efficient would be a massive victory considering the immense role it plays in emissions and how interlaced it is with the Western way of life.
It’s a no-brainer that bottled water is a problem, and an easily avoidable one at that. Cutting out disposable water bottles is probably one of the most easily attainable solutions for most people that wouldn’t impact your daily life in any way. There are so many great chemical-free bottles on the market that you can easily something to refill and drastically reduce how much waste you produce. But if nothing else, it’s always a great idea to ensure you recycle everything rather than just chucking it in the bin.
The manufacturing of so-called fast fashion creates an incredible amount of waste. But we all love clothes and affordable style - and it’s probably not in the foreseeable future that any of that would change. Some retailers are providing great solutions in terms of reducing water usage and waste in their line of production and throughout their supply chains. Clothes can also be recycled, but the rub is that the onus is on us as consumers to pressure big brands to do as much as they can.
Irreverent designer and punk rock iconoclast Vivienne Westwood said “buy less, choose well”. It’s a very idealist statement but there is still something to it. Consumption seems to change in nature almost daily, with-peer-to-peer and sharing economies becoming commonplace but what remains constant is how consumption is increasing. Maybe decreasing consumption is unattainable but changing the nature of consumption is not, we’ve seen it happen first hand a number of times in the last decade alone. Can waste be reduced to the point of having a real impact on emissions and cleanup? Definitely! It’s about many minor adjustments rather than committing to living electricity-free in a treehouse, eating only your homegrown kale. Nothing wrong with any of that obvs, but it’s not for everyone. Instead, you can simply take a closer look at how you operate as a consumer and make some changes. I’m pretty certain that switching to a re-useable coffee cup for my endless takeaways has cut emission by a similar amount to say, a entire country going all-solar.
So what can you do? Anything! That’s really the point: there are endless options to make some small amount of difference, and something is always better than nothing.