I was daydreaming about a world where all things were created sustainably. A better world where kindness and happiness…this is the part where someone starts laughing or doubting. Why? Because we’re used to think of that as an utopian idea, but I truly believe that we can have the world we want. In fact, we live in a world that humanity has been creating (so to speak). No wonder why we are entering The Fourth Industrial Revolution. I know it won’t be an easy task but at least we can start driving change; as creatives, we like to find solutions, and that’s great news because we have the power to make it happen.
I’ll tell you why I believe there is such thing as “Responsible Consumerism”, but first, let’s be honest, even though we are becoming increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of consumerism, we can simply stop buying things. I’ve lost count of how many times I tried to follow the minimalist philosophy, failing every single time. Why?
1) I’m human – I consume goods
2) I’m a designer/artist – I design goods
3) I’m attracted to packaging design – yes, I’m guilty! Consumerism to the max (I love searching for eco-friendly innovative packaging).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully committed to the eco-friendly approach. I consider myself a sustainably responsible person constantly trying to introduce green solutions into my lifestyle and work. Let’s put it this way, one could be committed to it, but how legit is this commitment when there are other aspects that influence our decisions? Living in society sometimes we have to attain to social conventions; most of the time is our convenience the one that doesn’t allow us to be fully committed. In a broader context, economic and political conflicts of interests highly affect human behavior towards sustainability.
In summary, we live in a consumer-based society.
Are we doomed? No, we are not.
As creatives, it is our responsibility to drive change. We need to start thinking out-of-the-box and use our powerful creative minds to solve issues in an eco-friendly manner…we must be eco-creatives, but most importantly, we must BE ECOCENTRIC.
We’re consumers and designers; we’re somehow attached to consumerism, so let’s continue doing what we are doing but in a responsible way without harming the planet.
Adopting the oh-so-marvelous Cradle to Cradle framework, which approaches sustainability from a scientific, economic, and social perspective. Wait, whaaaat? I know, I’m trying to keep it short, so I will tell you this: Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart is a book that not only has broaden my possibilities from a professional perspective, it has changed my life as it helped me be a responsible consumer. Like it is mentioned on the site: “[the book] calls for the transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design.”, which based on the actual context of the world, this is a more realistic approach rather than utopian. They couldn’t describe it better:
“Cradle to Cradle is a design framework for going beyond sustainability and designing for abundance in a Circular Economy”C2C / MBDC
Visit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute to explore alternatives on how to drive the change, get certified, connect with experts, find certified products, and more.
The following infographic illustrates the benefits of Cradle to Cradle Certification, demonstrating why the book continues being relevant, even though it was published some years ago.
There are several aspects (social, economic, political, technological, and natural) that highly influenced the way humans are being, perhaps not being, sustainable. This means that in order to act sustainably, we must be willing to sacrifice certain conveniences, which for many is not easy, or even worse, not even an option. For the ones that are willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to “save the planet”, the path will not be easy, but I believe is totally doable and worth it. If we adopt the Cradle to Cradle approach, there won’t be such thing as “sacrifice”, allowing us for a Responsible Consumerism. At the end it’s about saving humanity and the beautiful ecosystems more than saving Earth. Our planet will endure, but humanity and the ecosystems…that’s a different story.