“Human-made objects to outweigh living things”. Let that sink in. Yes, you understood it correctly - all the things we produced weigh more than all the animals and plants on this planet combined. Can you imagine that? The amount of things we produce is doubled every 20 years and in the same time the biomass (all the living things) is declining steadily due to deforestation and loss of plants. It has been calculated that plant extinction is happening up to 500 times faster than what has been estimated to happen naturally. These numbers are terrifying. We are rapidly suffocating ourselves.
The question is – what can we do?
Firstly, on the individual level - we are all guilty of buying things that we do not need, or buying things that are presented in such a way that the packaging is greater than the content that came in it. We don’t need it and we don’t want it either. We all have to start buying and disposing of things consciously. There is no denying it - first we need to start changing ourselves, but saying that, many people are already doing what is in their power to address it.
But secondly, and this is very important, we really need to open conversations about how we can change things on the systemic level. It means that the change must be fundamental to the whole system. And this is immensely difficult as we are resistant to that change.
As much as people are willing to change their behaviours, some people simply do not know what to do to have a real impact. It is hard to make that impact on the individual level when there is no action on the greater, national or global level. Governments have the knowledge but lack the vision on how to offer an alternative to the status quo - the economy that grows at the expense of the environment.
We need to change the narrative from blaming individuals and making us, individuals, solely responsible for the crisis. Let’s start communicating the seriousness of the situation and collectively point our fingers at policy makers. If nothing will change, the overexploitation of natural resources will inevitably bring decline in economic growth anyway, so we need to act now and demand that efficient resource use and sustainable standards are defined, changed and yes, enforced.