Covid-19 temporarily stopped all industries, allowing the air to clear up. This was actually seen pretty clearly in South Korea, where air quality used to be around 100-200. Nowadays, we see air quality from 10-70, a drastic drop from before. This, however, isn't going to last for long. All production being halted right now is actually being postponed. Everything not being manufactured now is going to be manufactured in bulk when the pandemic ends. This means that although the virus is making it seem all good for the earth, when industries start up again, they will be increasing their production, making all the benefits of the slowed industry back to the norm.
The pandemic is setting aside sustainability and stopping non-essential industries. This is going to affect small businesses and poorer people, but big businesses won't be affected. They will be able to continue their business at the end of the pandemic and restart production.
In short, the virus helped temporarily halt industries, but it won't be this good for long.
People judge books by their covers, or in this case, people judge the articles by how they are showcased. One big reason people don't go to a "sustainability" focused website is because they are never designed to keep someone on the page. They all look like they were designed decades ago. For example Real Climate, although they have a strong name and idea, the website design immediately makes me want to click away. All it has are words and barely any pictures which makes me not want to continue reading. Most people don't go on the internet to read long strips of text. It's mostly for short excerpts and entertainment and even articles that are long include pictures to keep the readers attention. In my opinion a website like Green Living, should be able to change that. Instead of filling everything with text, they're able to show off their intentions through beautiful pictures and a well designed website. To help promote sustainability further and get people's attention, instead of writing good articles, they should all start off with a beautiful website.
I participated in an entrepreneurship competition with one goal in mind, create an environmentally friendly product everyone can enjoy. I had the idea for creating a biodegradable gum, with a wrapper that plants seeds every time it's thrown away. Gum is one of the most polluting edibles out there. With an increasing amount of people chewing gum everyday, it's becoming a problem that can't just be disposed of normally. So instead of being thrown into the trash, it's designed to be thrown onto the ground where gum usually ends up anyways. The wrapper is infused with the nutrients needed to germinate a seed. We call this product Wrap-Up Gum. In a world where disposable goods are cheap to mass produce and where the side effects of disposing consumables are not clearly seen, products like this, not matter how successful are needed to act as a stepping stone for a more sustainable future.
Many companies use greenwashing to trick their consumers into buying "sustainable" products by placing lies or misleading information on their packaging. Companies such as Starbucks and Walmart are good examples of this. They always claim they're "going green", but in secret all their claims are for good press and to attract sustainable customers since, according to Nielsen.com, "consumers say they’re willing to pay more for products with a sustainability message". Most of these green packaging is just a ploy for more customers. Walmart with their green campaign has proven to benefit the company more significantly than the environment. Starbucks banned the use of plastic straws, but ended up with a replacement that used more plastic. Companies tend to do "green things" for corrupt reasons, and benefit off of them by trusting customers they don't deserve.
According to Vox Media, 3 major tech companies are starting to invest in oil. Showing their face as an environmentally friendly company, they're secretly investing in more efficient ways to dig up fossil fuels from the ground. To be eco friendly, we need to stop our reliance on fossil fuels and invest more into renewable energies. This is why big tech companies are trying to show themselves as a tech company investing in renewables, but secretly in fossil fuels since they're actually "better" investments. These tech companies are already investing in machine learning and AI, but machine learning can be used for things other than just energy efficiency. This is why they started to invest in non renewables. They don't care much about the environment since there aren't any regulations limited their carbon emissions. To prevent all this we need stricter regulations limiting company emissions and taxing based on the amount of emissions to make companies less inclined to use fossil fuels.
One environmental movement we've all heard about is the global climate strike led by Greta Thunberg. Something that started off as a solo initiative spiraled into a worldwide global climate strike led by students. However, Greta said “We can’t go on like this; it is not sustainable that children skip school and we don’t want to continue – we would love some action from the people in power. People are suffering and dying today. We can’t wait any longer,” showing us that even after all this effort, nothing is changing since the governments won't do anything about it. The Guardian summarizes it all pretty nicely, "Greta Thunberg says school strikes have achieved nothing". These movements are good and all, but what people should really do is go out and live enironmentally friendly and convince their companies to do so, and even make their families change their ways of living as well. What really helps the environment is if you start it yourself. The government isn't going to change anything, so we should change ourselves.
Civil society represents people bringing things up to themselves to make change without the help of the government; just like how sustainability isn't a goal for the government. The world right now is the age of social communication with Facebook and Twitter almost part of our daily lives and with screens consistently glued to our faces. Digital civil society is using the new age of technology and combining it with people making change without the help of the government. Sustainability needs the government to do make initiative, but they are usually reluctant to do so. This is why non-profit organizations like team trees are using the new tech age to start movements. I mentioned team trees earlier in this blog, but now they surpass 16 million dollars in donations with 1 dollar equalling 1 new tree planted. It became a new trend, because it was for a good cause and it was beneficial to all of society. These non-profit organizations like team trees' goals are to ultimately get the governments support, but before they do so, we have to show them that we truly do care.
The Theory of Change is the in-between step when getting from nothing, to something. Companies may use this to figure out what they need as in resources and what steps they need to take to make their goal possible. It may be something like ending world hunger, getting to that goal isn't just "Let's end world hunger!" and the next day it's solved. People have to think things through like what do I need to make this happen? Money, Government support, investors and more. They also have to figure out what steps they have to take such as gathering the food to distribute, when to distribute them, and how. In the world of sustainability, we shouldn't just be going "We should stop global warming" we need to actually figure out what steps we have to take, what resources we need and how people not involved should try to help.
The main reason it's taking so long for people to be sustainable is money. To make things sustainable, you have to invest in these new sustainable methods, invest in using less resources. Before now, everything was made to be used and thrown away, nobody ever thought of the limited resources we have in this world. Changing everything that was developed in the past, will cost money, and a lot of it. Most of which we don't have and that's what scares businesses the most. The world running out of resources is so far away, but losing money is now, and that's what matters to them. Where there's money is the way, and the idea that the world is gonna end is too far for them to believe.
Team Trees is a new viral sensation for the good of our world. Over 600 Youtubers got together to promote this fundraiser. Team Trees partnered with the Arbor Day foundation who promised to plant 1 tree for every dollar they raised. This fundraiser was done as a special for Mr Beast's 20 million subscriber special. This was done to prove the "boomers who called gen Z useless", wrong. As of today the fundraiser raised over 5 million dollars and is still rising. The whole idea is genius by using human psychology for the better good. Turning the fundraiser into a hashtag not only brings teenagers my age to donate, it makes it the big new thing that everyone wants to follow.