April 1, 2018 by Cláudia
Disclaimer: This post does not reflect my current views. I’m keeping all of my posts for the sake of seeing the evolution, but for a more current opinion post on this topic, visit Forget shorter showers – seriously and I’ve changed my mind – consumers cannot change the world (alone).
Did you ever dream of becoming a superhero? Of heroically saving the world? Well, it’s your lucky day because the world desperately needs saving and you have what it takes to be the superhero we all need.
Maybe you don’t see it in your daily life, but the world is coming to an end.
In the Pacific Ocean, there is a plastic island of about 617,800 square miles. There are microplastics in the water we drink (tap and bottled). In 2017, 49.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas were released into the atmosphere (that means 43900000000 tonnes!). If we are not able to control climate change and keep the global warming from surpassing a +2º C threshold, by 2100, 1500 million people will be landless and fighting for territory. This will mean the biggest migration crisis in human History with unforeseeable consequences. Dozens of species go extinct every day and in 25 years we could be facing a world with 30-50% less biodiversity. On the other hand, human population keeps growing exponentially, while land to produce food grows scarcer, even using intensive methods such as pesticides, GMOs and chemical fertilizers, which in turn diminish the soil’s future productivity and are harmful to human health. The need to produce food faster is a great cause of deforestation, aggravated by the increased meat consumption.
We cannot hope to survive if we continue at this rate. We are already surrounded by chemicals on every possible front: in our cosmetics, hygiene products, our clothes, the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat. On average, 800 chemicals circulate in our blood. Chemicals such as perfluorinated alkylate are consistently found in breast milk – even newborn babies are being poisoned as soon as they are born! It is no wonder cancer and neurological diseases are on the rise.
I could go on and on and truly it is a struggle to not give up and think it is hopeless. In any case, one thing is crystal clear to me: the world as we know is coming to an end. And technology alone won’t save us this time – the problem is systemic and therefore it needs a complete shift in paradigm. Technologic advances may have provided a palliative solution – agriculture has become more productive and pest resistant, but soils are increasingly becoming eroded, becoming actual deserts in which it is impossible to produce food. Plus, all the chemicals and the use of GMOs are linked to cancer, fertility problems and neurological diseases. Synthetic fibers in our clothes end up in landfills polluting soil, air and water. Micro-fibers detach when clothes are washed and end up in the oceans. Inventions like these may make it possible for us to keep living the way we do for a while, but they are just creating an even more unsustainable future for the next generations to deal with.
This is an urgent call to action. The world is steadily degrading and we need superheroes to save it.
We need you to be a superhero and take on the mission of saving the world. The world needs every single help it can get: reduce plastic, reduce the amount of meat you consume, buy local and organic, choose safe cosmetics, reject everything you don’t need, resist the temptation to buy unnecessary items, pressure Governments and companies to protect the environment and the people, and share share share this message. Do the best you can to motivate the greatest amount of people to be the change the world needs.
The world is currently in such a bad place that there are a million different changes you can make to help. But whatever you are doing to make the world a better place, know that you are a hero and say it with pride. This is an invitation – a request – for you to do the best you can so that the next generations may enjoy the Earth and live in a cleaner, more peaceful and more harmonious world.
Trust that every single action makes a huge difference – both for good and for bad. We are heroes! Every time you make a choice to protect the world, say to yourself “I am a hero!“ – don’t focus so much on how difficult it seems to be zero waste, or to be vegan or to change Governmental laws. Just do the best you can and ask yourself what else you could be doing without getting overwhelmed and paralysed. Don’t try to change everything at the same time, do one bit at a time and BAM! you are a true hero, without a cape but with all the power and glory.
I guess the only difference is that a single hero cannot save the world alone this time, we need all the heroes we can get.
Resources to help with the changes and with information:
- The Story of Stuff – Introducing the interconnectedness of all the problems with our way of living.
- The True Cost – A documentary on how fast fashion is polluting the environment, enslaving vulnerable workers and even harming our own health.
- Eating less meat as a way to mitigate climate change – How eating meat (especially beef) is unsustainable and contributing to climate change.
- Zero waste – Tips to reduce our household waste and make more conscious choices.
- No Logo – Naomi Klein – An amazing book about how big brands are harming the environment, enslaving people but still convince people to keep buying – while offering hope for a better future!
- Safe cosmetics – Chemicals to avoid and safer alternatives.
- Ecosia – A search engine that plants trees, helping to mitigate climate change and empowering impoverished communities.