21 March 2013

Day 206: Bring your Own Cup and Help Save the Planet!

The other day we went to a shop to get some take-away coffee. Right next to where you get your coffee is a big stand with the prices and types of coffee, and at the bottom in a big font and size it says ‘Bring your own cup and help save the planet!’ and ‘The Earth says: thank you!”.

I’ve seen such statements many times before, but seeing it that day it really dawned to me just how ridiculous a statement like that is. I mean seriously, bring your own cup and help save the planet?

We live in a world where the economic system that runs the world is in direct violation of the Earth’s well-being – where the capacity of the Earth has been stretched to its ultimate for the sake of indefinite growth and profit. And yet somehow the corporations and politicians have to arrogance and audacity to ask people to ‘bring their own cup’ or ‘bring their own bag’ in order to ‘Help Save the Planet’?!

Surely, the waste of take-away cups and plastic-bags is just a SPEC in the face of the actual problem, which is the entirety and totality of both our individual lifestyles and the global lifestyle we have adopted as consumerism and greed. Bringing your own cup and bringing your own bag is not going to Save the Planet. It’s like trying to conserve water by catching a raindrop a day whilst letting all the taps in your house gush out water non-stop. It’s just ridiculous and kind of offending to tell people to ‘bring their own cup’ and make it look like you’re a ‘Responsible Company’ that ‘Cares about the Environment’ while everything a company that runs by the principle of Capitalism represents is the very Disregard an Destruction it is now apparently trying to abate.

Let’s have a look at for instance the whole ‘bring you own bag and save the planet’ motto.

In Britain a study was done where the results showed that on average a Brit uses 134 plastic bags in a year. This equals to 2kgs of carbon dioxide emission – while a typical person is responsible for 11 000 kgs of carbon dioxide emission in a year. That is like 0.018% that you’ve just reduced of your total emission as one person – and the Earth is supposed to say ‘Thank You’ to that? Are we now also assuming that the Planet is a complete idiot?

All those ‘little things’ that are asked of people to ‘Save the Planet’ like bringing your own cup, bringing your own bag, turning off your electronics that are on stand-by, boiling no more water in the kettle than what you need, turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, etc. – all make only a marginal difference of maximum 1% in terms of per capita emissions and mostly less than that.

The UK Government has spent £22m in the past on a ‘Do Your Bit’ Campaign promoting these type of ‘easy’ ‘quick fix’ solutions and then had to admit that the campaign produced no measurable change in people’s behaviour.

In fact, promoting these ineffectual little actions perpetuates the problem even more, where ‘bring your own cup’, ‘bringing your own bag’ and doing some recycling:

“Mori concluded that it was becoming an act of "totem behaviour" and that "individuals use recycling as a means of discharging their responsibility to undertake wider changes in lifestyle". In other words, people can adopt the simplest solutions as a part of a deliberate denial strategy that enables them to feel virtuous without changing their real behaviour.

Governments and businesses are, if anything, even more prone to tokenistic behaviour than individuals. Encouraging small voluntary actions by the public, customers or staff looks good and is much safer than passing restrictive legislation or rethinking your entire business model”.

As long as we don’t start re-evaluating our socioeconomic and political system that we live in and by, it does not matter what little token behaviour we participate in because it’s not going to make a damn difference. We need to strip the system down and rebuilt in from the foundation up – create a system that takes into account the environment and what it takes to reach and remain in equilibrium and harmony.

Within Equal Money Capitalism, points like emission and pollution will no longer just be ‘externalities’ that one does not have to account for and that are ‘conveniently’ here to be used at one’s whims. Just as someone gets something in return for their labour in a company, so will nature/the planet/earth receive something in return for what was given. If you for instance use water in the production process of your product and this water gets polluted/contaminated in anyway whatsoever: then it is your responsibility to also handle to process of purification. Only when we give as we like to receive, can we live in a sustainable, harmonious and equilibrated way with and within our environment.

Save Planet Earth? Support Equal Money Capitalism.

[info and numbers come from this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2007/sep/13/ethicalliving.climatechange]
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