POWER OF THE PEOPLE
Countless issues have compounded over time and have become as interlinked as the world we live in today. Our planet has changed, and it is moving to a point after which there is no recovery. The Earth - its environment, its ecology and its inhabitants are all suffering. What most people do not understand is that it is all connected. Imagine the Earth as a machine - its environment, its ecology and its inhabitants are all cogs that support one another. Just like a machine, they all need to work in tandem. If one cog is damaged, then it will damage the cog next to it and so on until the whole machine breaks down. The harsh reality is that the Earth is about to break down. However, we still have hope.
Of all the issues we face, the most important is Climate Change. It is showing us its effects, no matter where we are in the world. Climate Change is not global warming. It is the change in the chemistry of the Earth’s biosphere. Do you notice the summers getting hotter and the winters getting colder? What about an increase in forest fires, flooding, typhoons? Yeah, that is all Climate Change. A warning was issued earlier this month by 11,000 scientists about the irreversible effects of Climate Change and how there needs to be immediate action. Look at what is happening in Australia and Indonesia. These incidents are after the Amazon forest fires. It impacts ecosystems, the environment, people’s livelihoods, their homes and families. We live in a globalised world, so this affects us all through a ripple effect. Remember we are all cogs in one machine.
Most of the problems we face today link to Economics. Economics, at its core, is the production and consumption of goods and services. Climate Change is happening due to our consumption practices following decades of unprecedented growth that has taken a toll on all of us. We are amazing creatures and have achieved great feats. Particularly over the last two centuries. With the two Industrial Revolutions, our lives changed radically. We got the steam engine that led to the train then the car then the plane. We can go from one corner of the world to the other in a day. It took Columbus weeks to cross the Atlantic. We can do that in 7 hours! (New York to London non-stop). Then communication, from the telegram we went to telephones to radio to TV to the cell phone to the smartphone that combines all that and more! However, all of this came at a considerable cost to all of us. It involved unsustainable energy with coal during the 1st Industrial Revolution and oil in the 2nd Industrial Revolution. It has led to more than one problem, we, as humanity, face today. It is not just Climate Change. We have lost our way as human beings. Putting aside race, religion, culture and politics, we are one being. If one of us is suffering, then all of us end up suffering. We do not notice because it happens at different paces.
The good news is that we have the capabilities to reverse this and revive our planet. We are approaching a 3rd Industrial Revolution; one that focuses on Sharing and Circular economy models that come with highly efficient and sustainable practices. They concentrate on stakeholders rather than shareholders, enabling shareable equity which creates more resources and opportunities for all of us. Through recycling and upcycling programs, products and goods reuse allow the creation of new resources through waste. Biomimicry can make our food chain more sustainable and less disruptive. Renewable and clean energy through wind and solar. So there is potential. However, we still need to work collectively to get there.
We have the power as consumers to have the most significant impact. Companies produce what they believe people would buy. Big corporations are moving towards sustainability but not at the required pace to combat Climate Change. If the vast majority of us demand more sustainable products and shift our purchases towards sustainably produced and packaged items, we change the market landscape at a faster rate. These goods are slightly more expensive at the moment but as demand increases, so will the supply and competition in this space; allowing sustainability to be even cheaper than non-sustainable items.
We will always need and want products. It is essential to economic growth and redistribution of income. We do not need to depend on the government or corporations to give us that opportunity for change because it is already out there. Our buying power gives us leverage to dictate the market. Climate Change is real, and there are countless companies out there with sustainable practices trying to make a difference, not only with climate change but with ecological and humanitarian causes. They need our support. It does not matter who you are or what you do because the one small change we all make in our daily lives will have the most significant impact. It requires sacrifice in the short term, but in the long term, it gives us a better future, one that I believe we all can achieve together. We are in the driver’s seat, now is the time to grab the wheel and head into the future we all need and deserve. It truly is the Power of the People.