When it comes down to the fight for sustainability, the past few years have come to represent a time of tremendous effort and accelerated change, wherein significant developments have occurred on an individual and a national level. Of course, there have been setbacks and disappointments – particularly as forecasts for the future change, and the deadline for instating seismic changes around the world draws closer far quicker than we first anticipated.
Not to mention, of course, the setbacks wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic. From the massive surge in unrecyclable PPE waste to the short-lived respite in global greenhouse gas emissions, our ability to make it to the other side of this global health disaster has been defined by our inability to put the environment – and our collective future – first.
Still, with a light beaming in from the other end of a long, dark tunnel comes plenty of opportunity for us to get back on track – again, on an individual and a national level – and pursue new avenues for sustainability. Read more about the four cornerstones of these renewed efforts below.
Our ability to create for ourselves a future that does not pose a threat to the environment is reliant upon our ability to know when to prioritise sustainability, and when to prioritise our health and safety. In other words, a future that solely prioritises the planet will likely prove untenable and, in and of itself, unsustainable for humans.
For instance, it is clear that we need to curb our reliance on single use plastics far more than we have done in recent years. There remain, however, times when single use plastic is the only safe option. In the medical world, for instance, surgical retractors from June Medical represent a revolutionary tool for surgeons and their patients, ensuring that fewer personnel are required within ORs – a major priority for the global medical industry post-Covid-19.
While reusable, metal surgical retractors can be – and have been – utilised in ORs, they pose some significant drawbacks that have no place on the cutting edge of surgery. To disregard plastic retractors simply by virtue of their reliance on plastic would be to sacrifice enormous progress in the medical world, and to create a future that will prove itself untenable.
As a collective, we hold the power to pressure companies toward better practices, but we need to know how to pick and choose our battles, and how to recognise definitive exceptions to new rules.
It is, unfortunately, all too easy for individuals to feel as though they hold no real power over clearing the blanket of smog that clouds our future. While we can make use of our reusable shopping bags, eschew food packaging and products that wield a heavy carbon footprint wherever possible – among other things – the small scale of our personal lives is not enough to invoke tangible change. However much we care, we are also incredibly prone to feeling powerless in this pivotal fight.
Still, as mentioned above, the pressure consumers and individuals can impose upon companies (when exerted in the right places, of course) is immense. Already, major brands are coming round to the realisation that consumers are in hot pursuit of change. More than ever before, the overwhelming majority of consumers want brands to commit to positive change, and, as a result, it is growing increasingly likely that brands demonstrating too much reticence of impassivity toward activism will fall by the wayside as time goes forward, and younger generations come to represent significant consumer groups with genuine power over these company’s bottom lines.