With all the calls for normality to be restored or deferred, depending on your view, let us get one thing clear - things will never be normal again, well not the normal as we knew it. The world has changed and there is no going back, the boats have been burnt, let’s move on and embrace what we have now inherited.
This economic pandemic has changed our lives and habits forever, there is no doubt about that. These changes will be felt for generations to come, just like those who felt these at the same time in the last century. Fear, poverty and a divided society based on intolerance and hatred was created by the leaders of that day but the human spirit managed to press the reset button to usher in a glorious age of hard work, invention and growth in the 1950’s. Now, we have an opportunity to press that reset button too but let’s not wait 30 years, let’s do it now. We now get to choose a new attitude towards ourselves
Let us use this crisis to improve as a species and become a positive contribution to each other and the world around us. Very few times in history has mankind been afforded an opportunity to take collective reflection. It would be a pity if we all went back to the ways that caused these types of problems in the first place.
1. Environmental – With so much emphasis on a fast-paced society, our environment has been the loser. We always seek out the most convenient way to do something and at most times this has a negative impact on our environment.
a. Use fewer disposable plastics – the recycling process is overloaded and does not have the capacity to cope with this waste stream. If you must use plastic, then demand a reusable solution that ensures that the plastic is reused and then recycled, cutting down the amount of plastic in our environment. Here is a great article written by Crystal Dive on how to do this - 10 ways to reduce your use of single use plastics
b. Support companies with a zero-carbon emissions policy – the biggest companies are the largest contributors to the environmental problems so before you buy, check. There are several apps that are popping up that help you to monitor this type of corporate behaviour, do some research and force change with your spending power. Here are a few options - 13 Green Apps For Environmentalists Who Want To Track Their Carbon Footprint
2. Waste – Mass production of goods has made us into mass consumers of goods. Do we really need to buy so much, or can we do without? Have we such little discipline that have to keep spare goods just in case, or that we go without? Do we really need to consume as much while only using a fraction of these purchases? We have managed in lockdown, why should post lockdown be any different?
a. Eat and drink efficiently – create meal plans and purchase accordingly, there is no need for cupboards, fridges and freezers full of food, “just in case we need it”. Water is a great example, it is a perfectly acceptable drink to quench our thirst, yet it doesn’t have to be delivered in a fancy plastic bottle that adds to our plastic waste problems.
b. Shop sparingly – how many outfits for work is enough? Do we need extra clothes or shoes that merely make us feel good for a few minutes? Does my current clothing need replaced, or can they be repaired or modified into something else? Or better still, buy pre-loved and pre-worn garments from a second-hand outlet or charity store. Fashion and trends only feed the mass producers of goods who promote that you replace your wardrobe every season.
c. Purchase Quality – when items need to be replaced then make sure the new goods have the correct lifespan for the purpose required. Items of better quality last longer and can be repaired for extended use as opposed to cheaper counterparts which end up dumped in waste streams.
3. Energy Efficiency – Demand for comfort in our environment has led to a surge in the demand for energy to cool or heat our homes, cars, buses, trains and offices.
a. Home – keeping the temperature even 1 degree higher or lower than your demands will have a small impact on our lives but a massive impact on our environment.
b. Transport – dress down in hot and dress up in cold environments. There is no need for every mode of transport to match the temperature of our comfort needs, most trips are so short that it has no significant impact.
c. Office – as offices seek to become Carbon Neutral, scaling back is going to be needed. Identify areas that waste energy and report it to your sustainability department for resolution.
4. Travel – Over recent times, local and global travel has proven to be less necessary and essential than previously regarded. The environmental impact transport has on our environment is incredible.
a. International Business – reconsider the need for business travel now that we are equipped with such a variety of global technology infrastructures conducive to being able to conduct business virtually, and successfully.
b. Local Business – travelling to an office 5 days a week may no longer be necessary, as work from home environments have proven to be productive.
c. Leisure – air and rail travel providers offer CO2 efficient routes, choose those that make more environmental sense when travelling on holiday from your home, it is probably cheaper too.