With increasing population across the world, the load that we place on the planet both literally and figuratively is increasing at an alarming rate. The concept of paying for water and air which might have seemed ludicrous to our grandparents are a reality today. There is a need to re-think ourselves as a species in terms of the food we consume, the clothes we wear, the modes we travel in, the medium we use to communicate and the space we live in.
Faced with a massive carbon footprint that is rapidly deteriorating the quality of life on earth, consumers, producers and governments are now forced to re-think their strategies to save themselves from oblivion.
The pride of the world, Silicon Valley, is fast becoming an almost unliveable place due to exorbitant costs and inadequate housing. Starkly, this is not just for the underprivileged few, but for the top engineers from Twitter, Facebook and Google with large salaries. Stories of techies living at the office and in their vehicles are so common that the topic is a commonly used ice-breaker in parties. The e-bike revolution, aimed at satisfying last-mile connectivity issues for the urban middle class, attracted opposition from the homeless folks on the streets as they were being haphazardly left on the sidewalks after use. The fact that these bikes have a life cycle of just around one year of operation should remind all those investors and promoters of the amount of waste they are generating as most of these are made of cheap materials which are not recyclable.
When cars driven recklessly were listed as being one of the biggest contributors of fatalities, every OEM threw their weight and money around making them autonomous but very few focussed on the infrastructure needed to support such a transformation. When posed with the evidence of how fossil-fuels were damaging our environment, producers immediately switched to battery powered vehicles and appliances not spending enough to think about how these batteries will be sourced, recharged, recycled and supported by infrastructure.
While no one is proposing an end to corporations and capitalism to save our planet, it would be heartening to see them at least opening the door for cooperation with the consumers and the governments to decide what’s best for the planet and not just focus on improving their balance sheets. The “Our Planet” Netflix series provides ample evidence of how quickly nature can adapt provided we humans give it the chance. It is quite similar with society where the mindset can be changed for the better just by opening the doors of dialogue.
By : Anand S