So… right now we are living in unchartered times. So many words are gathering new meanings: We now use the words “Self Isolation” more frequently than we have cups of tea, we now know the dictionary difference between “epidemic” and “pandemic”, and we now have a new found respect for the word “Unprecedented”.
The last word in that list can be described as “never having happened or existed in the past” and no doubt we have used it many times in the past. One way in which many people have used it is to describe the threat to the health of the environment. There is now little doubt in many peoples’ minds that climate change is real and that the threat to the future of the world is very real. People understand this, but the question is what can be done about it. What can the “average person” do? How can we do our bit? How can individuals change their actions or behaviours to make a difference when the problem is so huge?
Well, right now with the global threat of the Coronavirus we are showing that given a world wide health emergency we have it in us to make changes. As many of us as possible are now working from home, and this may be reducing CO2 emission in the US alone by 2 million tons every day, which is the same CO2 saving as switching 75 million bulbs to LED bulbs! Many commentators have suggested that if we can do something about Covid-19 then we should do something about the damage to the environment. But the answer seems quite simple to me – CV19 is happening NOW and people are dying NOW. Our friends, our neighbours. We can all see it happening NOW. Whereas damage to the environment cannot really be appreciated in its entirety by the general population. It’s difficult to grasp. Therefore it’s difficult to know what to do.
It’s up to us, the manufacturers and producers of goods to help people in their decisions. We are living in a global production system and much of what we produce has been on a journey to get to your front door. This is not necessarily a bad thing, and although there are those who will criticise the global system, it is a fact that the global system brings huge benefits. Very few producers are exempt from negative impact on the environment and most producers whether they like to admit it or not, are intertwined with the global production system (think about packaging, fuel sources, printing, design choices etc). But we must give consumers choices and options, even if those choices and options aren’t perfect, to enable consumers to make changes to their actions and behaviours.