What it can teach us about the impacts of daily consumerism
by Adam Zoltowski
Last week I watched a short talk by Graham Hill on TED. Hill, the founder of treehugger.com, discusses the advantages of being a ‘weekday vegetarian’ and how it could positively affect the environment and our wallets. As a former vegan and current ‘weekday vegetarian’ I can relate to Hill’s sentiments. While conscious of the impact of meat production on our planet I am not ready to give up hamburgers forever, and definitely not prepared to never eat pulled pork BBQ again.
But what struck me most about Hill’s talk is that this sentiment, giving up meat during the week, could easily be applied to many other indulgences. What would happen if we committed to giving up soda during the week, or any canned or bottled drinks? How about if we committed to only using public transportation during the week and saved the use of cars for weekend getaways? How much gas would we collectively save? Additionally, what if we gave up television during the week? How much electricity would we save, and how much longer would our televisions last?
All it takes is a little bit of discipline. What Hill’s talk tells us is that small actions can add up to have a big impact if done collectively. We can’t all individually save the planet or our economy but enough of us acting in concert can make a big impact. So, I’d like to challenge people think about the indulgences they could go without. What things do you do everyday that you don’t really need? Think about their impacts and what the result would be if you didn’t partake in that diet coke everyday around 2pm. How much money would you save a year? How would you feel? What is the environmental impact of that sacrifice? Thinking about our actions from all angles can help us make more educated, responsible decisions towards achieving a more sustainable future.