THE TIME IS NOW
Those of you who follow me across my social media channels will know that I’m passionate about sustainability and ethical business practices. But what is the big deal you ask… and what’s it all about?
Generally speaking most of us have heard the word “sustainability” thrown around, but not a lot of us truly understand the complexities of what it means and why we keep reading about it. When people talk about “sustainable fashion” “sustainable business” or "sustainable living" we assume what they’re talking about but we don't REALLY know the specifics... nor do we attempt to find out. In some ways we detach ourselves from the conversation because we don’t think it has much to do with us (even though it does) and I believe one of of the reasons behind this disconnect, is the language being used. It needs to change. The mass public (especially in todays fast pace society) need simple, quick messages to absorb new information... not complicated intellectual talk that instantly has them overwhelmed.
Now more than ever before, this has to change. Sustainability needs to find a language and start a conversation that everyone DOES understand. Why? Because it has EVERYTHING to do with EVERY ONE OF US... it’s about the survival of our planet and our future generations.
Did you know that a number of reports have suggested that if our population and consumption trends continue at the current rate, we will need the equivalent of two Earths to support us by 2030?!
This is not a scare tactic by green organisations and global leaders, this is a reality (trust me… once you start reading about this stuff, you will find that there is an abundance of terrifying statements and predictions on this topic). You will also find that there’s also an incredible sense of urgency too (2030 is just over a decade away!).
So that’s why I’m passionate about this cause - I want my children and their children (and so on) to be mind-boggled by the beauty of our incredible reefs; to explore the same rainforests and habitats that hundreds of generations before us have; and to live their lives experiencing the wonder of mother nature and it’s nourishing resources. I don’t want to be part of the generations who ruined it for everyone else to come.
The best part is, it’s not all doom and gloom... we still have time to reverse the cycle and there’s loads of simple ways that ALL of us can start making a difference because #EveryLittleBitCounts and it's easy! This is also where I can help.... I’ve got loads of tips and brand recommendations to share, plus a simple way of sharing the knowledge which should make it easier to digest (well at least I hope so – I'll try my best!).
My goal is to encourage conversation and make it easier for people to understand the basics of what’s going on, plus empower people with the tools to start navigating their own positive lifestyle without compromising their existing one. It’s not about being 100% perfect and living a 100% sustainable lifestyle (that’s an unrealistic expectation of anyone living in modern day society) it’s about making positive choices IF and WHEN you can. Being aware and being proactive in small ways can have a hugely positive effect when applied on mass. If we can all make a small effort, these efforts combined will accelerate change and make a huge difference.
In upcoming weeks I’ll showcase positive brands and easy steps you can make to kickstart your sustainable journey, but before we do that here’s a basic overview on what we’re talking about...
BACK TO BASICS
There is no single definition of sustainability. The most commonly used definition today is: “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Published in the Brundtland Report in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development)
While some of us understand sustainability as sustaining anything, sustainability actually includes three dimensions of human activity: the ENVIRONMENT, SOCIETY, and the ECONOMY.
PRIMARY GOALS OF SUSTAINABILITY?
In September 2015, the United Nations released The Sustainable Development Goals (known officially as ‘Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development).
WHY THE BIG DEAL?
Because in short, the world can’t replenish its natural resources at the same rate we are depleting them. Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.6 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year… so with every year that passes, we are creating more and more deficit until eventually our natural resources will dry up. Unless of course, we start sustaining them.
GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
Thankfully there has been a huge shift over the last decade and you’d be surprised by how many brands (both start-up and global) have already employed positive business models with sustainability and ethics at the core of them. I can’t wait to start highlighting some of these in future posts because it will inevitably make you you feel differently about how you spend your money and who you give it to. When you know your money is going to a brand that you can trust – a brand that is doing the right thing by you and your world, you feel good about the purchase and this is very empowering (as well as addictive!).
This shift in business can be linked to the investor communities also, who after years of focusing on a firm’s financial performance to determine whether or not it was worth purchasing stock, they have now turned to businesses with positive business models because they acknowledge that performance is intertwined with future social and environmental impact also. In short: good business = good investment.
On a legislative level, climate change and sustainability are undeniably a hot topic for the UN and all global governments. On the 12th December last year, Paris hosted one of the biggest events in history (COP 21/ The Climate Change Conference) when 186 countries came together to form an action plan to reduce their greenhouse gases and keep the global rise in temperature below 2C. The objective was to achieve, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world. Off the back of this summit, a number of targets have been set and each country in attendance have agreed to try and adhere to them. This event and its outcomes have been regarded as a historic turning point in the goal of reducing global warming.
So things are happening all around you and these are just a few examples of what's going on. It really is just a matter of time before living sustainably is integrated into our lives as seamlessly as occupational health & safety… well lets hope so anyway!
DID YOU KNOW?
- Globally, the fashion industry is the second worst industry for polluting our world (behind oil).
- An energy-smart clothes washer can save more water in one year than one person drinks in an entire lifetime.
- A crack as small as 1/16th of an inch around a window frame can let in as much cold air as leaving the window open three inches.
- Some new refrigerators are so energy-smart they use less electricity than a light bulb.
- One ton of 100 percent recycled paper saves the equivalent of 4,100 kWh of energy, 7,000 gallons of water, 60 pounds of air emissions and three cubic yards of landfill space.
- One recycled bottle saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for four hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than does making a new bottle.
- Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it does.
- Globally, we use as many as 1 million new plastic bags every minute, at a cost of 2.2 billion gallons of oil a year.
- Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Stay tuned because that’s for my next posts!
Some of the photos used to collate the imagery for this blog post have been gathered from sustainable brands who have been awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury, this means they are a Brand You Can Trust. These include the stunning Song Saa Private Island Resort in Cambodia, Neal's Yard Remedies, Camilla Elphick designer shoes, Mulberry and G.VITERI (formally Prymal) hats.