”The current extinction has its own novel cause: not an asteroid or a massive volcanic eruption but one ‘weedy species” Elizabeth Kolbert
We are at a crucial stage for our planet. Human overpopulation and overconsumption have been shown to be the root cause of the extinction of vast numbers of species, which is only being accelerated by climate change. Devastatingly, this paints a bleak future in which children will no longer be able to delight over towering giraffes or gasp over majestic polar bears. In fact, it may be that the only way they are able to see their favourite animals is in the pages of a history book.
To make matters worse, scientists have suggested that if we continue on the way we are, we’ll have just 12 years before we cause irreversible damage. Civilisation as we know it will be lost.
Things can feel a bit overwhelmingly hopeless, especially when you consider that the world’s richest 10% are responsible for producing half the world’s carbon emissions…..and the leader of the free world is a climate change denier….
But there are things we, as individuals, can do if we’re up for the challenge. I think we are.
Arguably, our attitude towards consumerism is one of our main problems as we have become a ‘throw away society’. In 2019 it can feel like everything is getting more expensive. In a world where us millennials can wave goodbye to the dream of owning our own houses at the age our parents did, often cheap and disposable items can feel like our only option as durable good quality items tend to be more costly. But this leads to a vicious cycle of excessive consumption which causes excessive manufacturing which is causing A LOT of waste. Just think about the last time you saw pictures of sea life entangled in plastic and overflowing landfills (have you seen garbage island?!) Suddenly the idea of borrowing or simply buying less seems not only a good one, but crucial.
”There is no such thing as “away”. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere” Annie Leonard
Don’t believe this will make enough of a difference? Well, in 2017 a study found that when guests in Europe chose to utilise Airbnb listings rather than staying in hotels, they achieved savings equal to that of 826,000 homes and reduced water usage to the equivalent of 13,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. Simultaneously, if the 35 million customers who used Uber in 2017 had driven themselves, it is likely that they would have generated 82,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions. Sometimes it can feel like our individual efforts don’t really count – but look at everything we’ve already achieved through these sharing sites!
But there is still more to be done.
Imagine a sharing company that could provide the products for your camping trip or a surfing trip away with friends. One that could allow you to share musical instruments and speakers for example. Even one that could simply give your unwanted items to someone that might consider them gems. No longer need your 21st birthday decorations? Well there might be someone 3 streets down that does.
That’s how Brisbane based start up Shimmy was imagined; a way to lend out these goods so that excessive consumption can go down. After all, humans are meant to live in a community, so why don’t we share like one?
We’ll leave you with one final thought:
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it” Robert Swan
Someone needs to save it.
Let it be us.