Uncontrolled waste and pollution are choking our environment, impacting our health, and depressing our people. 

Atif Kahn’s 2019 paper [1] displays a strong correlation between mental health issues and environmental degradation.

Since the emergence of our planet's pollution and climate crisis, many individual citizens have taken it upon themselves to modify their behaviors. Carefully segregating household waste, turning off the lights, shutting off the faucet whilst brushing our teeth, and many other small but conscientious choices.

However, Professor Michael Mann’s 2019 Time magazine article [2] titled “Lifestyle Changes Aren’t Enough to Save the Planet.” Discusses how meaningful progress in restoring our damaged environment will require dramatic modifications to consumer behavior. These new behaviors will produce pressures that will bring about meaningful change in how things get made.

As citizens, we have shown we are happy to make the effort but there is only so much an individual can do.

Our post-modern systems are slow to change because “Big Corporate” and “Big Government” have been the benefactors of the status quo for so long. These benefits have ossified their structures and entrench a fear of change into the world of “Big interest”.

The worlds top polluters according to theecoexperts.co.uk [3], ourworldindata.org [4], and business insider [5] are:

  1. Fuel Industry.
  2. Agriculture.
  3. Fashion Industry.
  4. Food Retail.
  5. Transportation and aviation.
  6. Construction.
  7. Tech.

The only way we can take meaningful steps towards a less polluted, healthier future is reform within these industries.

Large scale industry, ubiquitous marketing, and fast-paced commerce drove the unprecedented economic growth of the 20th century. Yet now in the 21st century, these same outdated forces are pushing our planet and our health to the limit.

As individuals, we do not have the power of big interest groups but as a community of consumers, we can say no to environmental neglect by choosing to consume environmentally conscious products.

These issues will not be solved overnight but if meaningful change does not come soon it may be too late.

References:

  1. A. Kahn et al. 2019; “Environmental pollution is associated with increased risk of psychiatric disorders”
  2. Michael E. Mann 2019 “Lifestyle Changes Aren’t Enough to Save the Planet. Here’s What Could” (https://time.com/5669071/lifestyle-changes-climate-change/)
  3. Beth Howell 2020 - “Top 7 Most Polluting Industries” (https://www.theecoexperts.co.uk/blog/ top-7-most-polluting-industries)
  4. Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser 2020 - “CO2 and Greenhouse Gas Emissions” (https:// ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions)
  5. Morgan McFall-Johnsen 2019 - “The fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Here are the biggest ways it impacts the planet.” (https:// www.businessinsider.com/fast-fashion-environmental-impact-pollution-emissions-waste- water-2019-10?r=US&IR=T)

 

 

Written by: Iain Young