Demand different: Support eco friendly products and a local, sustainable economy
Modern economies have become increasingly centralised in cities and dependent on other parts of the globe to meet their needs. In recent weeks and months it's becoming more evident that dependencies on a distributed global supply chain are not a viable long term strategy for humanity, or the natural world.
The effects of Globalisation
An example of the effects of this dependency occurred In 2019. Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico wiping out the electrical grid and crippling a major source of IV fluids for medical use. These fluids are used to dilute and administer medication at a scale projected at over 1 billion a year globally.
The cost of this dependency could have become profoundly expensive to human health, as the director of the University of Utah's drug information service said “This shortage proves that things can always get worse … It affects every single medication that we are giving in our hospital.”. Now in 2020, we are seeing similar supply chain effects from Covid-19.
Globalisation is reliant on cheap resources at scale, be it human labour, produce, natural resources or IV fluids. It is this large scale, global demand that results in outcomes such as palm oil plantations that are devastating the environment and sweat shops impacting the quality of life of people. We are all as individuals accountable for this supply by generating demand and it's time to demand different.
The more that we as individuals and collectives can shift towards locally produced, ethical products and services, the less burden we put on the environment through shipping and clear felling to name only two examples.
We can also reduce outcomes faced by other humans through unethical labour. The pendulum of consumer practices swings wildly between “cheap” and “ethical,” with a middle ground becoming harder and harder to find, so lets create it by changing the demand.
According to the Harvard Business Review, companies gain advantage against the world’s best competitors because of pressure and challenge. We want to see large companies feel this pressure, both from consumers driving standards and the success of local, eco friendly, ethical businesses and a sustainable economy. To learn more about how a circular economy can drive eco friendly products and meaningful changes, check out the video below from IDEO.
Support ethical, local businesses, especially for basic needs such as fresh produce, clothing and water but also digital services and healthcare if possible.
Up-cycling and circular design. The fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Up-cycled clothing is a great way to spruce up old worn out or damaged materials into brand spanking new pieces. Seek alternatives to fast fashion such as the chieftain-t with all of the profit going towards funding wilding projects.
Seek alternatives, websites such as ethical, takecare and ethicalconsume can be used to find alternatives to common products and services. Reduce disposable items and single-use plastic consumption by finding reusable alternatives to common items such as cleaning products and reusable bags when shopping. Use beeswax wraps instead of plastic for food storage.
Make small, consistent changes to your daily life to become more sustainable and eco friendly. Read our full guide here
Eventually fossil fuels will run out and the price of all energy will increase. This means that the goods to meet our fundamental needs – food, clothes, shelter and energy will all need to be sourced locally, so change is inevitable. The question is how much damage is done in that change management process and how can we adapt. Lets get ahead of it, make daily changes, plant trees and demand different now.