Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Most of us has good intentions. We all would like the environment to be in better shape, the people in the South and also in the North to have better living conditions, we all would like the world to be a better place to live, for us and our children.
The problem is, most of us feels powerless to solve these global issues. We dont know from what end to start. We are paralyzed by seeing how big the task is. Poverty in the South is too far from our everyday concerns, and we don’t know what we can do against it anyway. Deforestation of the Amazon forest is a serious problem but what can we do? Working conditions are horrible in some clothe and electronics factories in Asia, but what choice do we have? Should we stop wearing affordable clothes, and not to buy any computer or electronics?
We are all confronted to these issues, which are carried in front of our doorstep by globalization and made widely visible by the Internet.
Now, I’m going to tell you what we can start with. No donation needed to a global organization, no big change or sacrifice required. We just need a just a sense of responsibility, a bit of curiosity, and the understanding that every little action you do makes a change locally and globally. Everything is interconnected, sometimes more directly than we think.
- Eat local, seasonal, organic (label is not a must), try to discuss with your farmer, start your own garden, compost your organic waste, eat less industrial meat. For exotic products like bananas, coffee, or chocolate, prefer to buy products that belong to a Fairtrade program to ensure the workers gets a decent salary. Fairtrade might not always be perfect but at least it should be better.
→ UN Report Says Small-Scale Organic Farming Only Way to Feed the World
- Avoid as much as possible everything that contains or is made of plastic. Plastic can still be useful for many domains, but whenever possible, it is better to lower our dependency on this non-renewable material, and it is difficult to recycle.
- Before putting something into trash, think about how you can reuse it, or how someone else could make use of it.
- Whatever is broken, repair it as much as you can.
- If you need something: ask people around if they cannot give it to you, share it with you, or lend it to you. And also think about ways how you can do it yourself.
- If you have to buy something: choose secondhand or recycled products as much as possible. If not, at least try to choose something that can be recycled.
- Reduce your overall consumption. Before buying something, ask yourself: do I really need this? Happiness is more genuine with less belongings. We don’t always have to have everything we think we need. It is ok not to have. It doesn’t make you less who you are.
- Avoid any product that comes from big companies. In general, in the journey to responsible lifestyle, you will find out that big is generally bad. And small is also generally good, or better at least.
Energy and transportation:
- Of course, avoid cars and planes when you can and prefer public transportations, car sharing, train or bicycle.
- Before even thinking of renewable energies, we can first think about reducing the amount of energy we consume.
Now we need not do all these things, just do what we can, and try to improve over time. The process of changing one’s habit is very, very slow. The whole idea is to understand the impact of our everyday consumption on the lives of other people on the planet and on the environment. It’s not because we don’t see it that it doesn’t exist.
Most of us (including me) have a lifestyle far from being sustainable. That shouldn’t make us feel guilty. Being conscious, curious to know, and trying to improve already prepare the future to answer these concerns.
Sometimes I think that if we can apply all of these principles to our life, we are potentially doing more good for children in Africa, workers in Asia, or farmers in South America than by other forms of engagement. And, on top of it, we boost our own local economy, help restore and preserve our own local environment, and create a bigger sense of community in our neighborhood. It’s a win-win.
Why is it important to do these things?
Because Earth resources are limited, and human impacts on the climate, biodiversity, soils fertility, water, are threatening the balance and the delicate web of life on the planet. And if that doesn’t say much to you, we’re also speaking about the survival of our own civilization. The worst thing would be to dismiss the warnings and evidences of threats that the scientific world is gathering.
Because out of these limited resources, we pollute and spoil a too big amount it, with the impact on biodiversity and our own health that we know.
Because, simply, I don’t like to be responsible, even partly, for the misery of others. Instead, I want to make things better for the maximum of people I can.
Now, obviously this is not the only thing we can do to make things better. Rethinking the banking system based on debts, and our political system to make it become more democratic, is at least as important. And some charities and NGOs are doing an excellent job in building a fairer, more just, and responsible world. Engagement and donations to NGOs, social enterprises, and independent newspapers, also helps. But for the here and the now, we have much more direct control on our consumption habits, and the positive change resulting from it can be as big.
“He was asking why someone does nothing about this issue, until he realized he WAS someone”.
What else can we directly do to make our world a better place? Please share your ideas!