Success can be judged in so many ways, but perhaps the most profound measure is our relationship with fresh water. Do we spend our time collecting it to survive, or do we spend our time playing on it?
Every year, skiers at the Whistler resort generate 3 tonnes of equipment waste, and the same is happening at other mountain resorts around the world. A tragic irony: something that once provided access to remote natural places, now an ecological burden.
An even greater ecological burden is created by the bottled water industry. Millions of tonnes of plastic waste result from ineffective fresh water infrastructure. Across many Asian, South American and African countries, people have no access to safe drinking water, making them hostage to Nestle, Pepsi and other multi-national companies that benefit from the injustice.
Ecological limits are not flexible. Human ingenuity, however, is infinite. Not particularly fast or ferocious, we have survived because of our ability to look ahead, anticipate danger, and plan a corrective course of action. China’s recent announcement that it will no longer import plastic recycling has created a new imperative to seriously look at the source of waste and its impact – both as individuals and as communities.
Clearly, the economy we invented is in need of some correction. In nature, there is no waste, and the next economic revolution will emulate nature’s time-tested strategies as a circular economy. Broken skis and plastic water bottles can be resources that symbolize innovation, and their abundance can be viewed as an opportunity.
You are better positioned than anyone to demonstrate your commitment to social and ecological justice.
Here is your 2018 success checklist:
1. Take a shuttle when you visit Whistler, and walk or ride a bike rather than driving.
2. Eat more plants. Eat less meat. Some the world’s greatest athletes are vegetarians.
3. Fix gear and equipment when it breaks rather than replacing it.
4. Invest in green energy. Solar and wind power are real solutions.
5. Turn down the thermostat and put on some slippers.
7. Stop throwing food in the garbage – organic waste is a valuable resource.
8. Drink tap water and use your voice to reduce plastic bottle waste.
9. Hold companies accountable to their sustainability commitments.
10. Avoid buying products packaged in plastic.