Greta Thunberg is as right as my young self was.
Let me tell you a story. When I was growing up my dad used to work for a cigarette company. He was happy and thriving. However, every day when he got home, I’d ask: How can you work for a company that kills people? I know how harsh that sounds, but I truly believed it.
That apparently innocent view of life, shaped me. It shaped my work and education choices then, as it does now. Now more than ever, I do think we should ask ourselves:
How can I contribute to anything that puts our livelihood at risk?
Why is Greta Thunberg right?
Greta Thunberg has caught the eye of millions of people worldwide. In recent days, she inspired a worldwide mobilization leading up to her presence in the United Nations.
She has mentioned how our “fairytale” vision of what governments and corporations are supposed to be doing is not enough. It is an obscenity to have people arguing profits over survival, especially when we do NOT have to choose one over the other. We are just unwilling to do it!
I’m an economist and a business consultant. I know sometimes businesses have to make tough choices to stay open. I have lived in a country with continuous economic crisis since I was born. A country in which the first 70 years of official existence were spent fighting revolutions before even planning on economic growth. Even then, I know better. I am educated enough, have travelled enough. Just like many of us who are privileged enough to be sharing this, we know different.
It goes beyond recycling.
We have passed stage one in ecologic conservation. Now we know we need to “reduce, reuse, and recycle”. Good job humanity! Except, there is another way to make things better. How about we pollute less? How about we use and abuse nature less? Environmentalists have stated once and again, reducing emissions and global goals are not enough.
What are you doing?
I mentioned the story about my dad and his work. Just like that, I have refused to work for companies, individuals, and corporations that do something that hurts people. Anywhere from corrupt practices, to promoting consumerism for the sake of income. I believe we can do better, and I have found ways to do so.
I know not everyone is at a place where they can just quit their jobs or refuse to collaborate with practices that affect people and the planet. However, we are all in positions where we can do things better. Wherever you work, what does you workplace or your products do that could harm people or the environment? You see it. You may be very aware of it. Now it’s time to change it. Use research and knowledge to make it better.
How do we make it better?
- Create reusable, and more efficient products. We don’t need a new iPhone to throw the one we have in the trash. We just need to update it. So, developers. Stop doing disposable products, and do updatable products. Where switching one part for another one is better and cheaper than getting a new thing altogether. And business people, we don’t just need faster and easier, we need better for EVERYONE involved.
- Create relationships, not dependence. We are way beyond a group controlling the masses because they know better. If they did we wouldn’t be in this mess. Educate people around you. Stop thinking that if they learn more they’ll “take your job”. If we keep dumbing people down, we will continue this chaos. Uneducated and uninformed people are a threat to our survival. The simplest way to change it is to change our mindset on education.
- Educate yourself. This goes hand in hand with our mindset on education. You never know enough. Things change constantly, and not knowing is really not a justification anymore. If you do not know something, you can always ask about it or research it. You do not have to be a master on the topic, all you need is enough information to make or support the best choices. (Greta Thunberg has also made a strong point on this by the way.)
- Say something, do something. Whatever resources you have at hand, you are responsible to keep them alive and well. If you live in an apartment building, make sure you’re keeping things clean, and disposing waste properly. But also walk around, adopt a tree, or a park. Grow plants and food. Take care of animals. And if you see other people polluting, wasting, etcetera, stop them! It may mean you pick up what they “dropped”, or cleaning your house and the neighbor’s. Whatever it takes, we no longer have an option to “just let it go”.
- Remember there are millions of people in the planet. Why? Because your personal choices are not just about you. Anywhere from what you produce to the number of kids you want to have, impacts us all. It is not just about how much time and resources you need to support your family. It is about how much resources they will need to live a happy life. When I talk about resources, think about: air, water, food, energy, devices, etc.Think about the rest of us not as “competition” for resources or positions, but as your team. We are together in this! We can help you know more, do more, and achieve more. And think of us as your family, you need to take care of us too!
How can you contribute to ensuring our survival?
Be aware of these five things. All the time, in every choice. Isn’t it exhausting? Yes. At first it might be exhausting. It takes time and effort to change our mindset, our choices, and our priorities. But it will be time well invested. We are already behind on our schedule if we want to keep humanity alive.
This text is a fragment of my vision of “Love Economics”. Economists seemed like an obsolete force of thinkers that just explained the unexplainable focusing on models of making money. But, what we actually do, is a general analysis of individual and collective actions (markets and economies). I focus on how those actions can spread the love. I can provide a wider perspective of how your own actions can make a difference, while making a profit. Reach out! Thinking outside the box, and seeing the big picture are key for our survival, literally.