Sustainability: why should you care?
Long ago, ancient creatures affectionately referred to as ‘terrible lizards’ roamed the earth until a sudden and drastic catastrophic event drastically and irreparably altered the climate causing a mass extinction of life. But life finds a way, and as the planet mostly recovered - these ancient primordial beasts returned.
Not in body though.
Sixty-five million years later and it's the burning of the remains of these beasts that, in part, keeps our lights on, boils our kettles and keeps the planet dialed into the latest from the Love Island villa.
But whilst we’ve done an outstanding job of avoiding world-ending meteorites so far, it is the sustained burning of this dinosaur gravy and subsequent release of noxious greenhouse gases (GHG) that is causing concern for scientists.
And this is just one of the concerns, there are also a lot of other bad practices that come as part of the industrialization package, things like deforestation, throwaway/disposable culture, fast fashion and mass agriculture - we’re damaging the world at a rate from which it cannot naturally recover.
This is what sustainability is about at its core, making sure nature and the human world can continue to thrive on this planet, for the long haul.
The Sciency-y bit
The basic science here is that burning fossil fuels releases GHG’s. Combined with organic and natural GHG emissions, these gasses float into the atmosphere where they form a sort of ‘blanket’.
The term ‘Greenhouse gas’ originates with the fact that these gasses are exceptionally good at trapping radiation from the sun that would otherwise escape back into space. The net effect is a steady increase in global mean temperature.
This is a problem because the our planet is ‘just right’ - not too hot, or cold; it also has a readily breathable atmosphere and favourable weather conditions. Earth is a so-called ‘Goldilocks’ planet; because it’s ‘just right’ (to produce & sustain life). But even beyond GHG emissions, delicate ecosystems are being torn apart to facilitate humanities insatiable demand for certain crops, fish, plants, animals and land for construction.
A changed narrative
At 28, I don’t think I’m that old, yet. But even in my lifetime - the narrative has changed.
We’re now beyond being able to question the existence of climate change, it’s science - not the tooth fairy. Growing up I was then comforted with dismissive statements such as ‘well, it won’t affect me’ or ‘don't worry, it won't happen in your lifetime’ but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The IPCC (international panel on climate change) is the leading authority on the matter and has issued some pretty grizzly reports suggesting that we’re already seeing the ill-effects of climate change start to take hold - such as extreme heat, flooding and food & water scarcity.
But somewhat concerningly, we’re reaching a point where the effects of climate change are visible to even the average layperson, without the aid of statistical models or advanced equipment.
Moments ago whilst writing this post, the UK surpassed it’s ‘hottest temperature on record’, with the mercury soaring past the previous record, which shockingly was set only yesterday.
And we can’t just boot the problem along to the next person, because the next people are future generations, our kids & grandkids. Even to a man that revels in the serenity of kid-free hotels/resorts abroad, that seems a tad unfair. It’s like inviting your kids out for a steak in 50 years and then handing them a plate of bones.
Just kidding… because changes to crop and water availability have made beef production untenable.
Enjoy your bug burger, Timmy!
Well, this is got pretty gloomy - what can we do?!
We are reliant mostly on governments and large corporations to legislate sensibly and reduce emissions, but hope is not lost - it’s time to make like Michael Jackson and start with the person in that mirror. So while you’re probably going to struggle to curb climate change alone, there’s so much you can do as an individual/family/company - and it’s super easy to get started:
- My number one tip is, to become conscious that you have a downstream impact with everything you do, buy and use.
- You’ve actually got a few incredibly powerful devices at your disposal that you can use in tandem for maximum personal impact; your vote, your words and your wallet. Whilst voting can sometimes feel a tad fruitless, it represents an essential function in directing the intentions of governments and countries.
- You should also make a noise, beyond voting! Writing letters, tweeting or otherwise contacting can have a tremendous impact and nudge complacent companies and lawmakers into taking meaningful action.
- Use your wallet. We currently live in a capitalist world and private enterprise profit governs all. Giving your money to private enterprises with green/sustainable accreditation/credentials (things like B-Corp) or companies & services is a vote of support for a greener economy.
Simultaneously, moving away from those with poor credentials and damaging areas/industries (eg those listed in the first paragraph, mass animal agriculture & fast-fashion etc) is also a great way to voice your support for sustainability. A couple of easy, modern and profitable ways to do this include switching to green pension pots or trying a plant-based diet.
- And finally, don’t lose hope! I won't lie - the challenge is intimidating at times, but the tide is slowly turning. If you’re trying to live more sustainably, you’re on the right side of history!
At Biztory we’re beginning our sustainable journey by learning what all the fuss is about and we’re actively looking into ways that we, as a company can do better.
Stay tuned to follow our journey!