There was a time, when food choices and our consumer behavior were a personal and private matter, and that was ok. Still today, we live in a society where everyone is free to buy, eat and do what they want, without reflecting the big picture, because that‘s what free choice is about right?
But what if this way of thinking doesn‘t work anymore, because ones actions do very much so concern and affect the rest of the world? Maybe we have just become too many egos for this one planet to handle.
Telling people not to do certain things is quite a tabu topic, because people get easily offended about their rights. But if certain actions of humans are a threat to the planet, then I think we should be free to question and maybe also accuse these actions.
On Facebook I come across this scenario very often, where people who try to live a more eco friendly lifestyle and express their reasons, get laughed at or insulted by others who feel like those eco people are some kind of dictators who want to take their choices and freedom away. For them, “eco people“ are extreme. And that makes me sad to see, because those people don‘t understand that being “extreme“ in that way is only for the better, also for them. Eco-conscious people are not against the rest of the world – they are with the rest of the world.
See, I wish we would still live in a world, where everybody could just eat, do and buy whatever they want, whithout thinking of the conseqences. But times have changed. And we have to finally accept this change instead of acting as if everything is still like it was 60 years ago.
Our humanity developed so imense quickly, with all the technology and population growth, that we didn‘t have time to adapt our behaviour to it. But with our “want it all – take it all“ mentality, we have now reached a very critical phase of our humanity. A threatening phase.
I‘m sure you‘ve heard about the saying: „When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.“
And this time is very close, so very close and we act like nothing happened.
Sure, it‘s hard to see it when the shelves of the supermarkets are spilling over, the McDonald‘s commercials show us happy cows on wide open fields and IKEA is opening more and more stores world wide. There seems to be plenty for all of us! But once we dare to look behind the curtain we will see that the consequence of this consumery madness is destroying our earth.
We are so close to living on a planet that is poisoned. A planet with a dead ocean. A planet with more starving than healthy people. A planet without biodiversity. A planet without rainforests. A planet where mass-production and killing of animals become so horrific, that no one could bare to look at it. Rhinos, tigers, sharks, elephants and whales will soon be gone too. Instead there will be high plastic mountains that probably will live longer than any other living being on this planet. And have I mentioned climate change?
We are so close, yet luckily not close enough that we couldn‘t still change it. But we better straighten up our acts sooner than later. And believe me, I‘m all about being positive and calm, but I think it‘s time to become a bit louder, because the world doesn‘t seem to listen.
We are now reaching a critical mass of people living on this planet, that will make it hard for any being to survive if we continue to consume the planet the way we do. And THAT is something to get mad about. Don‘t get mad at people that say you should eat less meat and ride the bicycle. Get mad at the people who say it‘s ok to destroy our planet. Big companies and politicians who say that economical growth will benefit humanity, for example.
It is an illusion that a few people created for the masses, but in the end only those few people will benefit from it, not the masses. All that economical growth means, is that a company wants to make more money next year than it did last year – at any cost. And while those companies grow richer, people are getting poorer, natural resources are vanishing, animals are suffering and the planet is getting polluted. By being a smart species, we might invent great technologies and find ways to produce a lot for a cheap price, but we pay for it with our values. The true wisdom, that we are connected to nature, is lost along the way.
It‘s actually quite ironical that the true greek meaning of economy is “one who manages the household“. The word “eco“ means “home“ – our planet is our home. In that sense, the economy is supposed to secure that there are enough healthy resources for all living beings. But our economical growth has done quite the opposite. And it‘s hard to see for most of us, because those big companies do a good job at hiding the “bad stuff“ and instead selling us happy, colorful products.
It‘s also an illusion to wait for the world to change. I think by now we all know that you can‘t really trust politicians and big cooperations. But why aren‘t we fighting it then? Those are the people who rule our planet and who profit from it. Why are we still supporting them?
The only solution is to become active and steer against the stream. Every single one of us.
And how can we do it?
The most important thing we can do, is to switch from selfish thinking to global thinking – from ego thinking to eco thinking – because we all sit in the same boat and everything is connected. We have to try harder to see those connections. And once we see them, we can start to act in a way that will benefit the whole planet.
One thing, I find, is always underestimated. People too often think that they won‘t make a difference, so it won‘t matter if they behave differently. But that‘s just not true. Every action counts. Also, we underestimate the powerful force that is laying in our pocket: money.
Sadly, money is what rules the world. But we have to see the good side of it. Which is, who ever has money, can take part in steering the world in one direction. And the more money one has, the more responsibility one should feel about how to spend that money. Living in a so called “western world“ means that each one of us has a huge influence!
And wherever we put our money, is where we put our future. It‘s quite simple.
Of course this also means that using no money at all and go back to the basics might probably be the best solution, but for now I think it can help us most to just put our money to the right sources.
Also, there is a big misunderstanding of those who think that they would have to give up things they love so much for being more eco friendly. That‘s why meat eaters think that veggie people want to take their pleasure of food away from them. But it‘s not true. I think everyone who started to make more eco friendly choices would agree, that it has given their lifes a whole new side of pleasure. There is so much to discover, so many great choices, and it is so much fun!
It‘s not about giving up really. It‘s about reducing and finding other ways that are as good or even better.
So let‘s close the circle again with what I started: The freedom of choice. Nobody wants to take the freedom of choice away from anyone. But in todays time we have to consider this:
Choice is a privilege. And today, this privilege comes with responsibility. The responsibility to take care of yourself as well as your home, the earth.
Having said all of this, it might seem like I am a drastic, dramatic and dictating person. And though I‘m not any of that, nor am I perfect, I still believe that drastic situations sometimes call for drastic words, so that they are being heard. It also calls for drastic actions, which doesn‘t mean that we all have to make drastic changes to our lifestyles. That would of course be the very best, but if everyone would at least change small things, the overall outcome will still be hugely positive.
Folks, we gotta take better care of our planet. I hope you all agree. This should be something that we all care about, because it concerns us all. So let‘s do something about it!
Here are some tips to get started:
If all of us would just do some of the things on the list below, it would make a huge difference. So go ahead and be the change you want to see in the world.
- Buy less in general. It will save our resources.
- Only buy things that you will really use.
- Buy quality instead of quantity.
- Buy from local farmers and businesses.
- Buy from small businesses instead of big cooperations
- Buy organic whenever possible.
- Buy recycled paper and furniture with eco certified wood
- Reduce plastic and plastic packaging
- Reduce meat & fish (drastically if you can, because the problems caused by mass-meatproduction and overfishing are probably one of the biggest issues we are facing, ending in empty oceans, starving people and dead rainforests)
- Reduce waste
- Reduce traveling by car and airplane
- Use renewable energy
- Change to a green bank (which won‘t use your money for war or exploitation of nature and people)
- Check labels for “fair trade“
- Check labels for palmoil – if you find it, avoid it.
- Don‘t let the water run.
- Contact companies and let them know what they should do better (they will listen because they rely on their costumers)
- If you have a garden, grow food, compost and make it animal & plant friendly (➔ biodiversity)
- Inform yourself. There are some great documentaries and books out there. Knowledge is power.
- Donate money to organisations that already found great ways to make a difference.
- Continue this list with things you would like to change…