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Can Each of Us Really Affect Environmental Change?

Can Each of Us Really Affect Environmental Change?

After watching the video The Story of Stuff,  I think I started to get a better understanding of how each of us are contributing to our environmental problems.

From my very simplistic view, I think a large number of our environmental problems stems from our continual desire and need to buy more things.

We seem to have created a culture that promotes us to buy things (which very often we don’t even need) and results in us consuming more materials and resources from the planet than we actually have.

I began to wonder if we keep continuing in this direction have we not created a world that is doomed to fail based on our model of excessive consumption and waste?

And won’t this situation even get worse if our culture of consumerism spreads across the globe and infiltrates other cultures?

So what can we do?  Is our environmental future doomed?

Being an extreme optimist and refusing to think that nothing can be done, I came up with a few different ideas that might help.  Here’s what I was thinking;

  •  Let’s make consignment and donation stores trendy.  Rather than chasing after the latest fad or new designer labels, we could turn recycling clothes into a trend.  We could support non profit donation outlets by not only giving them our excess clothes but also by actually purchasing some of our clothes there.
  • Support businesses that support the environment. I happened to find one organization – 1% for the Planet – whose business members donate 1% of their sales to support the environment (there were 118 companies in Canada listed). I think if we consciously think before we purchase about who we are buying from and what their social and environmental policies are, simply through supply and demand we could ensure businesses focus on this as well.
  • Pressure employers to become more environmentally focused. Maclean’s magazine publishes Canada’s top Green 30 which I thought was a great initiative for employees to comment and promote an organization’s environmental practices. If we all help our employers understand that being environmentally focused is not only good for the environment but also benefits a company’s image and makes good business sense, this could go a long way.

  • Question whether we need to change our technology at the pace of technology development. Do we really need to have the most recent products – will they really make our lives that much better? Should we be demanding more of our technology developers and providers to implement recycling programs or introduce replacement parts rather than throw away technologies?

Even though these are just some small ideas – maybe when combined with others doing the same thing they could have a bigger impact…. and at least we’re trying to do something to make the situation better.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.