It’s time for us all to wake up and recognise what our actions are doing to our environment, our only home.
Time to recognise that everything is connected and we need to care about our impacts in order to care about ourselves, our families and our communities. Our future.
I am currently reading You Are Here – Exposing the Vital Link Between What We Do and What That Does to Our Planet by Thomas M. Kostigen. I am only half way through and already I am more awake to the links and connections of my actions on other parts of the world, on the lives of other human beings, eco systems and species. And not just the impact that my waste has on the people who handle once it leaves my home and office (the drivers and hand sorters) and truck it to Kate Valley landfill and what the impacts are on the land but my actions on the humans and other species overseas (China, the Amazon for example).
Here is a quote that resonated:
“Of course we should care about other people. Too often we don’t connect our morality with the practicality of everyday things in our lives.”
If we put a face to our actions we would change our behaviour. But, all too often the environmental and social impacts of our actions are not in our face, not even in our backyards – we just don’t see it. Most don’t even know where their waste goes (mostly up the road to Kate Valley Landfill or ‘recyclables’ off shore to other countries to ‘deal with’). And you don’t see the carbon emissions coming out of your tailpipe either.
We as individuals emit carbon emissions through our activities: electricity, eating, drinking, transportation, and what we consume for example. But, a lot of the products that we purchase are not made in New Zealand. Most come from China where there is a coal fired power plant being installed every 4 days and a town called Linfen that is constantly covered in brown, toxic smog that the residents breath in from those coal fired power plants (that also amongst other things emit carbon). Those coal fired power plants produce energy to make the products that are exported to NZ for us to purchase and ultimately waste. Constant production. Constant waste. And where does the carbon and smog emitted from those power plants go?
So, what do we do.
1. Wake up.
2. Ask questions – where does my product come from? Who makes it? How does it get here? What other people, environments or species does the production of that product (and its whole lifecycle) impact on? Where does my waste go? What sustainable business practices doese that company genuinely have?
3. Make changes to our purchasing habits. Start buying more New Zealand made (but still make sure those products are low or positive impact). Support local producers. Support sustianbly product, organic and fair trade. Make your own products. Live more simply – live with less. Grow your own.
4. Research the connections of impacts and talk about it – get others to start making changes too. Educate and stay informed.
5. Help. Donate time or money to good causes that are trying to or are making a difference to key areas of the world like the Amazon, your local environmental group or national organisation.
With China now exceeding the United States in carbon emissions the only way we can help them to reduce their emissions by 80% (which is what they need to do) is to start demanding sustainably produced products or we stop buying those products – talk to the importers, the retailers here in NZ and start demanding. And start demanding NZ options (and NZ producer responsibility programmes) too – and that will help the NZ economy as well.
It is no longer enough to expect others to make the changes first – it needs to come from us all starting today.
As read in Blessed Unrest social and environmental justice is linked. Your actions have an impact on other people’s lives and the environment and it is taking its toll. It is time to start changing our habits for a healthier future for all on this Earth.
Now. Today. Because it may already be too late for many. We may, instead, need to start thinking about how to live completely differently for tomorrow.