We over consume, from food and drink through to consumer products and clothing. With current consumption patterns it is estimated that we need anywhere between 3 and 5 planets to sustain us. We clearly need a radical shift in life style and behaviour to move to one planet living.
As a global citizen here are five relatively simple steps to start.
Buy less stuff:
We buy too much stuff, 98% which is thrown away within 6 months. When we need to purchase stuff, we could choose durable long-life products that are non-toxic and have been designed for circularity (i.e. can be reused, remanufactured, repaired, upgraded, recycled, etc.).
Own less stuff:
We own too much stuff, 80% of which is used less than once a month. We could explore sharing as an alternative to individual ownership. We could then access durable long-life products through sharing models, e.g. cars, bikes, clothes, etc.
Repair more stuff:
We throw away so much stuff that can be repaired. We could explore either repairing stuff ourselves and there are lots of support communities out there to help us, or we could support service providers who could do the repair work for us, thus extending the life of the stuff we own.
Buy the food you actually need:
We throw away so much food every week. The statistics are frightening. We could make a pledge to buy what we need, supporting local producers, preferably organic, that sell in suitable portions.
Choose stuff wisely:
We support too many irresponsible companies that do not take into account the true cost of the stuff they produce and sell, e.g. pollution, toxicity, resource scarcity, waste, employee health and wellbeing, etc. We could ask questions of businesses on their values and ethics, using tools such as social media to uncover the truth of their activities. This would help inform us (and others) of which businesses we should support and why. We could also look to purchase secondhand goods thus extending their life.
Frank O Connor
Frank is a passionate, authentic, creative and values-led sustainable designer and social entrepreneur. Working on something he believes in has taken him to Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and Americas, collaborating with individuals and all types & sizes of organisation including the UN, European Commission, national and regional governments, multinationals, SMEs, educational institutes, charities and voluntary groups.
Frank’s mixed discipline background includes a PhD in ecodesign and a Masters in Advanced Manufacturing. Frank currently runs anois, a collaborative platform for seeking sustainable solutions, and is in the process of co-founding a number of other ethical organisations including one focussed on sharing.