Endless statistics confirm that while 90% of all people say they want to be more sustainable, about 5% of people would say they are living as sustainably as they consciously choose to, and 30% make at least one sustainable choice in the way they live. And the rest... well, they are the rest.
THE TRUTH, IN MY EXPERIENCE, WORKING WITH MAINSTREAM AUDIENCES, IS THAT THE IDEA OF MORE SUSTAINABLE LIVING IS 'ASPIRATIONAL' AND THE VAST PERCENTAGE OF THE POPULATION ONLY HAVE A NOTION OF WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE MEANS, INCLUDING HOW IT IS INFLUENCED.
IN AN ELECTION CYCLE YOU COULD BE FORGIVEN FOR THINKING PEOPLE UNDERSTAND CLIMATE CHANGE, AS THEY SAY THEY WILL VOTE FOR IT, BUT AT THE BALLOT BOX, LIKE SHOPPING, THEY DON'T ALWAYS FOLLOW THROUGH.
There's an old saying in corporate land, "The identifying problem is very rarely the real problem." And this is so true when it comes to Citizen climate action. Almost everyone seems to be worried about climate change and yet very few people - at home or at work - seem to be taking action. Why?
The thing is that we've been told for years that climate change was firstly 'real', then was an increasing problem which is responsible for an increasing number of natural disasters and along with it, the systemic consequences. Somehow, even now, with water up to our eaves from floods, half our countries in cinders and wildlife disappearing, we still hesitate.What is the real problem?
The problem is that we spend far too much time identifying the macro problem and far too little dealing with how to deal with it. We have been schooled to think the problem is bigger than all of us and yet, all of us are the problem. How can a person have a clue where to start with ways of dealing wit if they don't understand the pressure points? It's kind of up there with, "I want to be rich or famous or smart". Everyone knows being rich, for instance, involves somehow sequestering money, but how that is done is not entirely evident - and driven by many factors.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS DRIVEN BY MANY MORE FACTORS THAN MOST COMPLEX PROBLEMS. SO MANY THAT THE LIST TENDS TO OVERWHELM PEOPLE.
GETTING YOUR HEAD AROUND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE SEEMS TO BE UP THERE WITH AN ACCOUNTING DEGREE, BUT UNLIKE ACCOUNTING, YOU CAN ACT ON ANY LINE ITEM IN THE BUDGET AND HAVE AN IMPACT.
Let's just take the fossil fuels line item - the biggest driver of climate change. Most people think of fossil fuels in the context of the fuel that drives their car, which sends their mind to being more sustainable by catching public transport, driving less, ride sharing etc. This is an excellent start, but fossil fuels drive engines other than your car. They drive the engines of the entire manufacturing industry - including the manufacture of energy itself. Fossil fuels are at the core of our very civilisation and that fact alone creates a relationship with most products in your life - way beyond the car we might drive.
It goes even further. Why do climate change people go on about plastic so much? Some products are not only made using fossil fuels as an energy source, but they also contain fossil fuels. Chief among those products is plastic. And that's where it gets complicated because plastic isn't just that container for bottled water or Coca-Cola, it's the base of synthetic fabrics, vegan leathers and body products - as well as the container that houses many household products.
There is a lot to know about climate change. This conversation about fossil fuels is just a few hairs on a very hairy dog called Climate. If your dog is hungry, you feed him. Some of us carefully read labels on food or hand make special food, but the bottom line is that if our dog is hungry, we feed him, without wanting to know or debate the science behind how and why doggo is hungry.
So it follows that even if you understand a little about any aspect of climate change, you can already make better decisions. I am not saying don't bother learning, but I am saying, crack on, even without superpower knowledge and feed the dog.
Knowing that fossil fuels are creating the biggest chunk of our climate issue - even without masses of data about how and why - encourages you to question how much you drive or fly; whether you use green energy or have solar; how much stuff you buy that you don't need. Even with a little knowledge, anyone can act and make better decisions. About packaging, disposables, waste, cleaning products, chemicals and so on.
We have found, 100% of the time, that when people discover one good personal climate action, they tend to find another and another. And - contrary to popular opinion, decisions often saves them money as well. Bonus.
Imagine you are the parent of a toddler - in this case yourself. Kids do learn for themselves, and mostly they prefer cookies to carrots, but it's guidance that defines what they learn most - and what shapes their lives and gives them meaning.
Nearly every new eco business on ekko.world is started by a parent. Mostly new parents. Sometimes it's about solving health problems, sometimes chemical toxicity, sometimes fashion. In every case, the parent wants a better life for their children than what is being served up by our current mainstream diets.
YOU DON'T HAVE A START A BUSINESS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE. EVERY SUSTAINABLE DECISION KNOCKS OUT AN UNSUSTAINABLE ONE AND TOGETHER WE MAKE A BIG IMPACT.
ekko.world has thousands of excellent sustainable businesses listed within its pages. Among us are specialists in pretty much every aspect of sustainability - carbon, veganism, toxic chemicals, anti-slavery, local production, palm oil, recycling, circular economy, advocacy, education.
With so much knowledge, I wonder if we have the means to help more Citizens to understand how to make sustainable changes - beyond just buying our products and story. We are the leaders in shaping our future destiny. We have to share more of our own stories - the little ways we make change, the discoveries, the successes and fails.
The personal discoveries of how synthetic clothes are plastic; micro-plastics are in the air, our lungs and stomachs; what pollution is made of and how it kills 20 million people a year; how fresh food trumps processed; why local is so important. And then how to make change - how to shop sustainably anywhere, how to recognise good products, what to leave on the shelf and what to take home.
To the broader community of Citizens, ignorance doesn't count as a defence in law and neither should it here. Every adult has a responsibility for their own actions. And all of us adults are co-creating the destiny of our children by our actions today. It's time to show and act for climate.