Is the Zero Waste Movement Dead?
2020 has been such a rough year, for so many reason. Between Covid-19 and the upcoming election alone, we have a lot to think about, and I’ve noticed that the zero waste movement seems to be taking a back burner to all of these other pressing issues. What I’ve been wondering though is “Is the Zero Waste Movement Dead?” It hasn’t helped that a lot of businesses have prevented the use of reusables over the past few months, making it difficult to reduce plastic waste, at least in our house anyway! According to a quick poll I shared on Instagram yesterday, 92% of you are still confident that the zero waste movement will make a comeback.
Individual Sustainable Change Isn’t Enough
This past weekend, I attended my second Shiftcon Eco Infuencer conference, and to be honest my worries for the zero waste movement seemed to be solidified. Several climate change and social justice activists, including Jamie Margolin and Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., spoke at the event. And what seemed to be the general consensus was that making small changes on an individual level just wasn’t enough for the amount of change we need to make to affect climate change. They explained that systemic change is what we need to make a difference, especially since just 100 companies account fo 71% of global emissions.
Does My Personal Sustainable Journey Matter?
So after the conference, Sebastian had to talk me down, as I was panicking over it all. Does my personal journey to be more eco friendly and reduce plastic waste not matter at all? Should I close the Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop altogether and just give up? I was having such a hard time wrapping my head around it. Living in Georgia, a lot of people don’t even think climate change is something to worry about. How are we to bring about systemic change when even people we are close to don’t think environmentalism is something important! But after some reflection and a good night’s rest,
here’s what I decided…
The Zero Waste Movement is NOT Dead.
Yes, we do need to work towards large scale change. We need to make big businesses more accountable for the harm they cause to the environment, rather than making consumers take the responsibility of solving the climate crisis.
Also, It is important, now more than ever, to VOTE. Which, speaking of, are you registered to vote?? We need to volunteer and donate to larger environmental causes that can make large scale change. Working together is really essential to bring about change.
BUT our small changes STILL MATTER! Together, all my pals that have purchased items from my shop and learned from my blog, we have diverted SO much plastic waste from the landfill. We’ve voted with our dollar by supporting small businesses that care for the environment and create high quality products with clean ingredients. Our impact matters. And it especially matters for people like me who live in Georgia where eco friendly living and climate action aren’t on the forefront of many people’s minds. Because it brings hope. We can SEE the difference we are making in our own homes. That’s honestly always been the biggest draw for me to the zero waste movement. I felt like I could see the impact I was making!
Here’s the deal though. Make the sustainable changes in your life that work for you. We are working in a broken system. “Zero Waste” isn’t real. There’s plenty of waste involved in the production of items. We can’t only consider the disposal of the products we purchase. The best thing we can do is: use less stuff, waste less stuff, buy less stuff.
What Can We Do to Encourage Systemic Change While Also Taking Part in the Zero Waste Movement?
So, we’re going to continue to do all we can on an individual level to help Mama Earth. BUT let’s also learn how we can support systemic change! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Vote for the Planet – It’s so simple but really very important and impactful. We need to make sure we elect officials that care about the environment. Vote, vote vote! We have a huge election coming up, but don’t forget about other smaller elections as well.
Donate – Donate to an environmental or social justice cause. Any amount helps! I actually plan to start setting apart a percentage of Tiny Yellow Bungalow shop profits each month to donate to an important eco cause. If you have any favorite non profits that are doing good for the planet, let me know in the comments section.
Volunteer – If you don’t have the funds to donate to a cause, that’s ok! Consider using your time to help instead. I’ve been volunteering with When We All Vote to encourage others to register to vote and then actually vote! It’s a really easy thing I can do that’s totally free.
Speak Up – Even just talking about climate action is helpful. You can help inspire friends and family towards their own eco journey!
Write – Write to elected officials, and let them know that climate action is important to you and your local community. You can write letters to local or national officials. This is a super great one for the fellow introverts like me 🙂
I want to hear your thoughts. What do you think? Is the Zero Waste Movement dead?