Barriers to Going 'Green'
Sustainability, ethics, eco-friendliness and being green is the future. It must be for the sake our planet, the wildlife and the human race as a whole. Yet unfortunately we aren’t all eco-friendly individuals or nearly as good as we can be. Yet as a community we are growing. On this blog I explore everything green from the environment to products that stop the harmful waste and help mitigate our daily negative impact on earth. Recently, I have thought about what are the barrier to stop us as a planet (or at least in my country) from fully adopting a ‘green’ life. Therefore, I have pulled together what I consider to be the big barriers to going ‘Green’. Although this list could easily be very long trying to highlight all the issues with us going eco-conscious I have tried to highlight the mains ones I believe have the greatest impact. Here are my top reasons that prevent the majority adopting a green, sustainable and eco-friendly future.
Unfortunately, anything new will have a higher cost, this is mainly because it is new to the market, so might not have an instant ‘demand’ for the product. This often means they are produced in smaller quantities, which again will not be as efficient, increasing their costs. ‘Green’ products are also of a higher quality and use raw materials that are generally more expensive. They also have better ethics and have a lower negative environmental impact, which is why I believe we need to expect and accept a higher cost. To make products right, without harming the planet, paying its workers and supply chain fairly and for innovation for future green products it will cost more. Unfortunately, for years we have been buying products without knowing fully where they are from and this includes from sweat factories, child labour and more horrendous abuse of workers and the environment, we cannot have this wilful ignorance going forward into a ‘green’ future. To summarise ‘green’ products tend to cost more because they use raw materials that are usually more expensive, produced in smaller quantities, often of better quality and can have a small premium to ensure it is ethical, less harmful to the planet and even potentially having a positive benefit. Unfortunately, this can all greatly increase the price.
What can we do?
Where you can keep buying 'green'. The more that we do they will be mass produced making them cheaper. It will also lead to new technologies and innovation that are green and cheaper. Take it slow but over time you can obtain a collection of jars and bottles to use at your local zero waste store. Further to this, although many ‘green’ products have a higher cost they are often built to last and is reusable, which can make them cheaper in the long run. Finally, we also need to understand ‘green’ will cost more. To pay people fairly, have the additional measures so they do not harm the environment and to be made of a higher quality and to last this will always be the case. Perhaps think it as not paying more but paying fair.
Lack of Time
Another big impact is our lack of time. Unfortunately, when I grew up we are not taught what to look out for, how we harm our planet or much about sustainability and being ‘green’. Although, I believe this is changing now there are still millions who do not know where to begin or what is actually ‘green’. However, I understand that many of us do not have time to research and get educated on these subjects. It takes a lot of time to learn what it means to be ‘green’, what products or way of life is truly ‘green’ or to find the eco alternatives to fit into our life. As well as all the actions we need to do to negate the negative or increase the positive impacts on our planet. This all takes a tremendous amount of time, which I understand not everyone has.
What can we do?
Start slow, it is not a race. Any step, no matter how small toward a ‘greener’ world is great. So spending any time to achieve this is beneficial. Over time you can grow your knowledge and implement systems that make a change and help our planet. Just keep trying.
I know this is a bit of a self-promotion but follow on your socials or go to the blogs of eco, ethical and environmental bloggers. They spend a lot of time looking for ‘green’ products, summarising what to look out for and how you can help our planet, so by following them you can slowly learn more and make changes.
Greenwashing is when companies make unsubstantiated claims to deceive consumer into believing their products are environmentally friendly when in fact they are hiding the negative impacts of their products from our sights. Unfortunately, people and companies lie or misdirect and this is done a lot with ‘green’ products. A product or service that is ‘green’ is more likely to sell, as it is what most people want. Therefore, if companies can make you believe that their products are green it is better for them. Most companies stick phrases like eco, environmental and the like onto their products without there being any true basis for it. At the moment these terms are not protect, so can be used by anyone without justification. Therefore, we need to remain vigilant to look out for unfounded claims or hidden negative parts of a product or service before we purchase them. If you want to know more on this, please read my article on greenwashing ‘Greenwashing: An Evil Mask!’
What can we do?
Get Educated! Learn to look out for how companies greenwash and what real sustainable, eco-friendly products are, so you can make an educated decision. This will take time to learn but once you have learnt the principles they can be applied everywhere. When making a purchase ask more, ask about the product, ask what makes it green, is it truly recyclable or meets the cradle-to-cradle principles. Once you have learnt what harms the planet and its inhabitants you can make choices to not contribute to that. Do not just take the word of a company but look at the companies actions and the impact of its products and service and together we can beat greenwashing.
In the large societies we are living in today and with the controlling systems our governments have forced us into we are incredibly dependant on the infrastructure they put in place. This includes a wide variety of things including transport, energy, food, packaging and the very way we live our lives in our countries. The reason this can be a problem is because unfortunately the solutions to these issues are not always ‘green’ and can even be harmful to the planet. For example so much food comes in plastic, which is practically unavoidable if you want to live some what of a normal life. Also, the energy systems in place that we are reliant on for our survival might be reliant on oil and gas, which I do not have to explain how this impacts our planet. We are part of the system and the system forms our lives, so this can often control how ‘green’ our lives can be.
What can we do?
To solve this problem, we need to go to the source. This is the government and large corporation that produce our daily products and control so much of our lives. We must put pressure on them and demand they do better. You can do this in a variety of ways such as emailing them, signing petitions, protesting and joining groups that fight for our planet (peacfully of course). I always think we should try to start at work, this might not be easy but push for little changes there and over time the improvements will mount up everywhere. Keep making changes and demanding them and eventually we will have a 'green' way of life.
At the moment I believe there are a number of barriers that are preventing a ‘green’ future being fully adopted. Above are some of the largest barriers that need to be solved for the sake of our future. I wanted to raise these points, so we can better understand them, begin to discuss them and to help us reach a solution. To me I believe the biggest barrier to most is the cost, even if you want to be the perfect ‘green’ individual it can be almost impossible making you bankrupt. However, I do believe it is slowly getting better and more affordable. I also believe if more of us keep pushing and keep trying to be ‘green’ it will become the new norm and easier for all. I would be interested to know what you think is preventing a greener future and what we can do about it?