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We talked about small gestures in our last article.
We say “small” because their real impact on the environment is minimal. These are still actions that have an impact on reducing the waste we produce individually.
It is thanks to these small gestures that we change our mentality, that we set an example to others and that we take out our trash once a month instead of once a week!
Then, there are the big gestures, which have a bigger impact on the environment and which I would separate into two types: The big individual gestures and the big gestures attributable to others.
GREAT INDIVIDUAL GESTURES
I noticed several during my analysis of our footprint calculation platform.
Here are some examples :
- Be vegan.
- Eat locally and exclusively with organic products.
- Completely stop using a car, and therefore the plane.
- And I don't dare talk about it exactly and I certainly don't want to take a position on this subject, but limiting births is also an example.
… and many others.
I will talk about some of these in future articles.
GREAT GESTURES ATTRIBUTABLE TO OTHERS
They often arise from industries, governments or large businesses.
Here are some examples :
- Treat/Recycle factory waste
- Add a carbon tax (environmental cost) to consumer products
- Aim for decline
- Finding new perspectives for our recyclable materials which are no longer taking buyers
- Switch to renewable energies (exit nuclear energy in certain industrialized countries)
- Make substantial efforts as a large company to combat climate change
… and many others
Today, it is mainly the great gestures attributable to others that I want to talk about.
Well, it’s certain that when we are at the head of a very large company or the government – or if we are a family member of one of these people – it is easier to bring our vision or our ideas for making big changes.
But as this is often not the case, we keep our fingers crossed that the leaders are a little open on the issue! Fortunately, it happens.
THE TESLA CASE
Did you know that Tesla, instead of patenting everything, makes its technologies available to everyone so that other manufacturers can benefit from them? They say it is impossible for them to build enough electric cars per year to meet market demands and thus fight the climate crisis. By sharing their technologies, perhaps others could even make them evolve? When you're a world leader like Tesla, all the greatest engineers in the world want to work for you anyway.
So they say they are not afraid of competition, that their competition is gas cars, not manufacturers. ( Source )
THE BURGER KING CASE
Burger King also surprised me in the summer of 2020 with its approach of: “We are part of the problem, we must find solutions”. ( Ad to see! by Michel Gondry )
Basically, they feed cows lemongrass, which reduces their methane emissions by 33% (at most). It's cute. Let's still say that it's a big statement because the fact that it's presented by a big company that has a lot of $$ and a mega marketing machine behind it - even if it's done in order to improve their image of brand – it can have big favorable repercussions on many levels and it is also a step in the right direction so that the other majors follow and are “better” than them in their approach to the environmental problem.
I could probably keep poking around and finding lots of cool examples of big companies making big moves (also, if you have any examples, don't hesitate to share them with us!).
THE POWER OF GIANTS
I come back to the fact that we think we have little or no power over most of these big gestures. These giants seem so far away from us that we feel like we can't do anything. In fact, we would like them to do something and we tell ourselves that it is up to them; that it’s in their hands!
But actually, I think we have more power than we think. I come back to Burger King. Research already existed on giving essential oils to cows to make them fart less ( research link ). People before them found that there were favorable effects of giving cows ingest lemongrass (and even garlic, turmeric or even cinnamon) and that it could help the environment. BK used the information, publicized it ( YouTube link of the recipe ).
Now thousands of people know this information that perhaps no one knew before. And hundreds of farmers can use their open source diet “recipe.” And it all comes from somewhere. It starts from the people who did the research. It starts from us.
POWER OF PEOPLE
There are many other things that can come from us and create unsuspected fireworks:
Share ideas or major technological innovations
In addition to researchers making great discoveries, we are lucky to have brilliant inventors! Let's showcase their creations! We are lucky to be in the age of social media; so we can share their big ideas.
I am thinking of Boyan Slat, a Dutch inventor who founded The Ocean Cleanup in 2013 (at the age of 18) to clean the Pacific of its plastic waste. His invention has traveled the world and is now undergoing new tests.
I also think of this engineer who tinkered with a shower where the water is reused endlessly. You can take a 45 minute shower and only consume 1 minute (10L) of water. (Source)
Seriously, his invention should really go around the world! This is an important invention, both for countries that are starting to run out of water and for those who should stop consuming it to avoid getting to this point!
And there are the soft Bateau Bateau handkerchiefs and toilet papers, an extraordinary invention from here! Hihihi!
Create viral projects
I said the age of social media was cool. Inventions can go viral, but so can anyone's interesting environmental projects! Like the #trashtag / #trashtagchallenge started by a guy like you and me. He invited people to take a photo of a public place full of trash (BEFORE), clean it up and take a photo AFTER. (Source)
The virality of this kind of small project which seems innocuous can have great repercussions in the biggest cities in the world. Maybe it doesn't have an impact in the moment, but as soon as it goes viral, it can have a large-scale impact. It can inspire people initially and even leaders eventually. Like Greta Thunberg. This is quite a viral project! Although Greta is perhaps more located here:
Participate in demonstrations, sign petitions, acts, pacts
So we recently learned that a demonstration can be held by 1 and have as much impact as the largest demonstration (as long as it goes viral). But otherwise, we agree that the big events are impressive! It demonstrates through strength in numbers that we are ready to want things to change. Generally, the more there are, the more impact it has.
This is one of the ways to send a message to the government but also to the rest of the population. A demonstration of 2000 people: meh. The demonstration of 500,000 people in September 2019: wow.
I dare to hope that this has turned a few people on? One thing is certain, all of Quebec knew that we were walking for the planet that day. And when you see half a million people gathered for the same cause, you wonder what the cause is, you find out more, you take a stand, and you want to take care of what surrounds you too, you put your foot in the right direction and you start some small actions which, as I said last week, will become big little by little.
Get involved at other levels
It's also possible to be an activist and be part of Extinction Rebellion! It's also possible to make a lot of money and invest in future technologies or in important environmental programs. It's even possible to invest enough to have a say!
In short, what we must understand is that even for the great gestures which seem the furthest from us – because they arise directly from other people – we can have greater power than we think. More subtle, but still present.
So have big ideas or SUPPORT and SHARE the innovations!
Try creating viral environmental projects on social media.
When covid is a thing of the past, take part in demonstrations for the planet. While waiting to be able to hold rallies again, sign petitions or see what you can do in your city or neighborhood: what are the green projects? How to support them?
Ideas, mobilization and strength in numbers are the bases of these great gestures.