We’re inherently afraid of what the future holds, partly because much of what we read about the future of the planet, and the way we treat it, is negative. It doesn’t help that movie depictions of our future are also pretty bleak (watch Mad Max: Fury Road!).
Is there room for a little optimism when it comes to our beautiful planet, or are we destined to ride (and endure) a one-way train to environmental-disaster-ville? The pessimists have a point, but I’d say there’s scope to recognize the efforts going in to making our world a cleaner and greener place too.
Let’s start with people, doing things that reflect a ‘positive tipping point’ in human behavior and our environmental impact. The authors of End Game explain, “family sizes have become radically smaller, defusing population bombs; rich societies are reaching ‘peak stuff’ as people spend spare cash on ‘experiences rather than things’; agriculture can become far more efficient; and recycling can both end pollution and stem resource shortages.”
Recycling in particular is where many people, including the government in some countries, have jumped on board. It’s mandatory in some US cities.
Businesses are also increasingly mindful of the impact they have on the environment, investing in sustainable and environmental business practices such as recycling. For example, in the US, mobile operators Vodafone, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile recycle electronic waste through trade-in programs. Computer manufacturer Computer manufacturer Dell has a recycling program in partnership with Goodwill Industries, which allows for discarded computers and accessories to be refurbished or recycled responsibly. Nike has a fantastic recycling program in the US called ‘ReUse-A-Shoe’, which involves people returning their used shoes to Nike stores, which are then shredded (28 million pairs so far) to surface athletic fields and playgrounds.
Energy is another one. We may still be burning fossil fuels, but at the same time we’re making considerable advancements in renewable energy, such as wind turbines and solar panels. In 2013 Denmark’s wind turbines provided one-third of the countries’ energy supply.
Of course we can always do better, but we’re putting up a pretty good fight against what once seemed inevitable.