Today is World Environment Day (WED)
Yes, we should be thinking about the environment everyday, but today is about giving everyone a really good hard kick up the arse so that we all become more conscious so that we also think about the environment on the other 364 days of the year.
WED (World Environment Day) started in 1974 (44 years ago). We have known about the environmental problems all this time and many decades before that. However, since then, the environment has gotten a lot lot worse, way worse than we can ever have imagined. So, I guess the kick up the arse this day is meant to be giving us isn't kicking hard enough so that we remember the pain now so that we don't have to feel the pain in the future.
Why has the environment gotten worse and not better?
We believe the answer is greed. I am sorry to tell you this as it isn't the most happiest of things to say. One reason greed occurs is due to a lack of consciousness. Too many of us are unaware of what really makes us happy in life. Greed is creating more greed. We are tricked by the greedy people that are behind the marketing that we can now not escape each and everyday. However, these greedy people are wanting more and more money so that they can buy more things. Marketers, advertisers, greedy businessmen and businesswomen are promoting greed whilst also being victims of greed themselves.
We believe it is the greed behind marketing that is the problem, not marketing itself.
We don't believe that there is anything wrong with marketing. Marketing is a tool to grab our attention so that we can know about something that we didn't already know about it or didn't know a lot about. It can be used in so many positive ways, whether that is to tell us about an event, a new product, a campaign, etc.
If someone or some company markets a music festival, they are likely to show a cool video of the fun that people are having. There will be bands playing, people dancing, tasty looking food, cold drinks and lots of interesting and happy people. For anyone who has been to a music festival you are likely to agree that the marketing was fair and the music festivals generally are a fun, interesting and a memorable place to be (perhaps a biased opinion. You can apply your own example if this one doesn't quite work for you).
Another piece of marketing might show some very handsome/pretty models having the most wonderful time, laughing, screaming with joy and skipping around in their new clothes. The marketing piece is trying to portray that it was these new clothes the models are wearing have made them happy. If you want to be happy you also need to buy new clothes and then you will feel and be like them.
The difference here is, clothes alone don't make you feel that happy, they just don't. Clothes are very helpful indeed, they keep us warm, they stop us getting locked up for public indecency, they are practical in many situations, whether that is sports, manual work, attending a wedding, going for a job interview, etc. Clothes can make you look nice, smart, unique, etc and you will feel happy wearing them.
However, the clothes alone do not make us happy, but marketing from clothes companies and other companies whose business models completely and utterly rely on creating a gigantic community of people who over consume on a regular basis are making a lot of people think otherwise. To achieve this, they lure the customer in and basically convince them if you buy these clothes you will be happy. Now, you might be sitting there reading this and thinking "Not me. I haven't been tricked by these companies. I bought all the things I own because I wanted them, marketing doesn't influence me." Well, perhaps you are right. If you are right, you are unfortunately rare.
But, do you really think you came out of your mother's womb and without influence from others grew the desire to buy an item of clothing that had a little horse on it with a man its back playing polo? or Did you naturally gain the burning desire that you MUST HAVE that new Chanel handbag because you naturally desired to have it without any external influence?
Have your desires been shaped by the 1000's upon 1000's of advertisements on the sides of buses, buildings, every website you have visited in the past 20 years? Perhaps is was your school (especially in the States where schools happily allow big corporations to advertise in their schools to the very people the big corporations know that they can most easily influence, children), your office, your mobile phone, corporate events or a sporting event? Did any of these places alter your view on what you need and what you don't need.
If you really think you have not been tricked by marketing and advertising to buy things that you think will make you happier, then please, look around your room and your home. Are all those things bringing joy into your life? If they are, GREAT! You are winning, you are getting life right. But, if when you stand in your bedroom gaze into your wardrobe looking at what to wear you feel overwhelmed, then perhaps you need to take a step back and think "Do I want to change this?"
Realise that you are not alone and this goes for both men and women. Most studies are carried out on the female population, with 1 study revealing that 10% of women have moments of feeling depressed when looking at their wardrobe and wondering what to wear. This is something that people are doing everyday and sometimes twice a day.
Why am I talking so much about clothes/fashion and marketing on World Environment Day!?
Well, the fashion industry is the 2nd biggest polluter on the planet (2nd to only the oil industry).
The clothes industry would not be so GIGANTIC if it didn't use false and misleading advertising to trick people into thinking that the solution to all of their problems is "retail therapy" (a fun phrase to encourage people to buy more things they don't need with money they don't have).
The fashion industry has also been a major contributor to sculpting how we buy and increasing our impulsive consumption habits.
I think I sense a little bit of sarcasm
If we are to help the environment we need to make ourselves more aware of the problems and why they are there.THE BULK HOUSE is all about getting straight to the root of the problem. The root of the problem isn't single-use plastic or fast fashion, it is the greed of the corporations who control the majority of the places that we are buying our things from. If we can be more conscious, we can realise that life is about doing more things instead of just buying more things that we do not need. We are not saying "don't buy anything!" we are saying just buy things more consciously and vote with your money. Don't desire things for the sake of owning and having more, don't desire things as if they are trophies to display your success. Instead, desire experiences, friendship, love, free time, freedom, travel, education, health and owning things that you love and that bring genuine joy to your life. We believe if we desire more consciously then there will be a lot less greed in the world and then a lot less problems with our environment.
Let's all slow down a little
If we all take some time to slow down from time-to-time we can focus on the things that really matter to us at life and put more energy and speed into those things. THE BULK HOUSE is hoping that we are doing our bit for the environment and that we are doing it right. Through minimalism and zero waste our small team at THE BULK HOUSE THE BULK HOUSE (TBH) truly believes it results in greater happiness.
You could put happiness as your top priority for changing habits, or it could be to save money, it could be that marine life is your main concern. For other people it could be that you would rather go through life feeling that you are doing the things you do because you wanted to do them and weren't unfairly influenced by others who weren't looking out for your best interests.
Whatever it is, THE BULK HOUSE would like to suggest that you celebrate today by going through the rest of the day a little more consciously. If you are getting a drink at a restaurant or a bar, remind the server not to give you a straw. If you are out shopping, challenge yourself to leave with as little single-use plastic as possible (or, no single-use plastic at all).
Let's move towards saying "No!" to this throwaway society that was invented and pushed upon us by big, greedy corporations.
Unfortunately, the planet cannot cope with 7.5 billion people (and growing) living such a fast-paced life that we don't take any time to think of the consequences of our actions.
How to live a Zero Waste Lifestyle
1) Keep it simple! Start with basic things, such as getting takeaways less often, take a tote bag with you when you go shopping and bringing a reusable bottle out n about with you.
2) Watch some documentaries about the environment, such as "A Plastic Ocean", "Plastic Planet" and "True Cost". I'm sure you'll find them interesting even if you don't care about looking after our beautiful planet.
3) Take part in a swap event. Clear out some things from your home and free some space in your mind at the same time.
4) Start paying attention to the amount of waste you produce on a daily basis, see which things you could easily count down on.
5) Spend money consciously. Write a shopping list before you go to the supermarket and stick to it!
6) Invest in reusables, don't waste your money on disposables (advice from Bea)
7) Clean Plate Policy. Make finishing the food on your plate your new good habit.
8) Start composting
9) Eat less meat, try some vegetarian and vegan meals (Gung Ho! and Arrow Factory both have great options)
10) A little change everyday. Don't try everything at once, it will be too overwhelming.
11) "Everytime you spend money, you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want", Anna Lappe (It is beautifully true)
12) Support ethical, moral businesses. Look out for B Corps (such as Gung Ho! who do amazing pizzas in Beijing) or companies that are part of 1% for the Planet.
These 12 steps come from a previous article of ours, if you would like to read more about THE BULK HOUSE, you see that article here
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Don't get overwhelmed by environmental problems but be aware of the problems and focus on the solutions. Do as best you can and little by little we can all reduce the impact we are currently having on our beautiful planet.
Thanks for reading!
THE BULK HOUSE: making zero waste convenient for all!