(Opinion piece by Anand Gandharva)
Sustainable consumerism should fund biosphere health whilst the user pays their footprint charges. Environments are grossly mismanaged. Flora, fauna, and people too.
The estimated cost of global earth repair jobs and materials (Biosphere Health) is 3.5 trillion!
That spreads over 200+ countries, but where could this money come from? And why pay towards the well-being of others? Isn’t life a ‘struggle for survival’. Darwin himself said so.
Yet if the ‘might is right’ applied, not only in nature but also in society, our streets would be taken over; theft, mayhem and murders would be the order of the day.
It is only lately humans fully understand that environments have limits.
All creatures, great and small, flora and fauna, maintain a balance of nature.
Sustainable Consumer Behaviour
Global economic systems are based on ‘maximising consumer needs’. It assumes that all consumers behave environmentally aware and are fully informed. It puts consumers in the driver’s seat.
This horn of plenty ignores that many buyers often act on price signals alone.
But how to achieve sustainable consumerism when some don’t care or can not afford to pay the premium? ‘Out of sight, out of mind’.
Yet, sustainability rules depend on conditions and change, such as food grown without soil, recycled waste, artificial fabric, and buildings from mushroom genes.
With 8 billion people on Earth, it is time environmental ground rules are legislated.
In the past, nature could be a challenge to overcome.
Now it is also a scarce commodity.
Not aeons ago, people conquered environments in clans and chased mammoths and sabre tooth tigers.
But now we are no longer millions but billions. Megafauna is extinct. We reached a ceiling and must adapt. Evolution is forcing our collective hand.
People are used to nature being a gift, but it no longer is.
When something is rare, best put a value on it.
Rather than outlaw expectations, let people decide for themselves, but the user pays! Current economics system is unsustainable. It needs reform.
People want to pay for sustainability. Sure, there is a difference between stated intention and action, but there is skyrocketing awareness of climate change and environmental harm.
A 2020 IAG survey of 18,000 customers over 28 countries shows that 80% prefer to pay extra for goods and services that are ethical and sustainable.
85% of customers want retailers and brands to be more transparent about the sustainability of their products. Most people see the need for government action.
Astounding numbers -far exceeding any political divides.
The percentage of pure vegans is still relatively small, especially amongst people stuck in their ways, but awareness of our environmental impacts is growing rapidly.
This month, England’s government started paying farmers for environmental land management (ELM). This is to ‘rewild’ parts of the countryside used by farmers.
The EU also changed policy. This shows where public opinion is moving. Most people look to authorities for answers. An illustrative comment from the surveys: “Sometimes, as with pandemics, people need to be firmly guided towards safe, self-sufficient choices. Afterwards, they’ll get over their ‘infringement of my personal liberty’ outrage and thank their lucky stars someone had the courage to act on their behalf.“
Legislation to Foster a Sustainable Consumerism
Humanity needs to be sustainable, whether right, left, centre, fringe or mainstream.
Governments must act. Inadequate rules govern the viability of humanity and habitat.
We are, for example, still taught humans are ‘apex predators’, even though millennia of herbivore cultures disprove this.
Plant-based nutrition is tasty, nourishing, and time-tried, saves the household budget, costs less in personal and National Health, and facilitates environmental impact and population growth.
- 70% of Earth is used for ‘animal husbandry’ at present.
- Land and water are running out.
- So far, we subsidise our own demise.
- And current economics may encourage it…
Humanity has a legitimate interest in long-term viability.
We evolved from clans and tribes to city-states, provinces, countries and federations.
It can power us to a Global Village and beyond to opportunities in the Milky Way. To lose it all to fund the lifestyle of short-sighted people is an extra step not many are prepared to take and is undoubtedly not sound economics.
Anand Gandharva is the pen name of a planner/columnist with degrees in philosophy and various business sciences, working with governments, communities, and enterprises.
Raised in the EU and educated in the US, he migrated to Australia in 1974.
He hopes the world will integrate into a sustainable Global Village, aim for herbivore habits, inclusive multicultural meritocracy, and a significant expansion of peoples and opportunity in the Space Age.