We hear lots from our world leaders about reducing global carbon emissions, moving towards clean energy solutions, and cleaning up our oceans. But sometimes I wonder if governments are even actually thinking of solutions, or just adding buzzwords into their speeches for political gain. Plenty of chatter about reallocated funds and goals for reduced greenhouse gas emissions. That is not a solution. The benefits of their action plans are showing as innovation surges in the clean tech sector. But promises are not enough. We need government to act on their action plans!
Sweden was the first country to establish an environmental protection agency, and they plan to be carbon neutral by 2050. The Scandinavian country currently prides themselves with using the highest percentage of renewable energy use in the entire EU. They expect to rely on those sources for 55% of the total energy output in just the next couple of years. About 40% of the countries electricity is generated by nuclear power today and is being gradually phased out.
The United Kingdom
By the same 2050 deadline, the United Kingdom hopes to reduce carbon emissions to 80% of 1990 levels. A Committee on Climate Change report found that the U.K. will not meet it’s legally binding targets from the Paris Agreement “without the near-complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions from UK buildings.”
In Frances climate action plan, they outlined intent to completely eliminate the sale of petrol and diesel cars, and to leave all fossil fuels beneath the soil by 2040.
Setting goals is a great idea, but you have to create a strategy for success. Let’s dive into a few REAL ideas about how we can actually make strides towards a more sustainable planet through rules, laws and action. A polluted planet is not what we want to leave the next generation.
Cigarette butts tossed on the floor should be enforced as a crime.
We’ll start with the earths largest contributor of litter. It’s normalized by generations to flick cigarette butts away if no more convenient option arises. Well citizens could start having to look over their shoulders because that small action is causing mass harm, and it’s punishable by law. These pieces of waste get swept up in the rain and end up in our waterways creating hazards for marine life and costing cities excessive amounts of tax payer dollars going towards water treatment.
Plastic bags should have been banned years ago…
Plastic bag restrictions are in place in many places, why is it not illegal yet. You CAN shop without them at only a minor inconvenience, one that humans would surely adapt to. It’s preposterous that we have not closed the door on this foolish product. TRILLIONS are being sent out to decompose into tiny plastic particles. The Ocean Cleanup is cleaning our waters of trillions of these particles, but the answer is to seal the leak, not replace the bucket at the bottom.
Do We Need To Use All This Paper?
While we’re inside the bathroom, the same could go for paper towels instead of hand dryers. Why is there a choice to even have these in public places. We’ve seen the mess it creates inside restrooms, and we know what a waste of paper it is. Yet here we are. Junk mail contributes billions of pounds of waste to the landfill each year.
Straws are being banned by major corporations but not all, that will eventually change. What are we waiting for? By 2020 there should be no more straws!
If the government doesn’t care and government won’t act, how can we ever expect our communities to?
Is it necessary to have paper cups branded, reducing the potential for recycling and sometimes entirely eliminating the possibility?
Stop Single Use Plastic
Single use plastic products should be banned for good, and single use paper products should be forced into non-branding products at the very least. This is embarrassing. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that the country will start enforcing a ban on single use plastics in 2021. What products that means is still unclear, stating they are “moving forward on a science-based approach to establishing which harmful single-use plastics we will be eliminating.”
Unnecessary dyed and colored plastics
Plastic water bottles are bad enough, but why is it legal for bottled beverage companies to include colored caps. Bottled water and soda companies dying caps colors ruin the ability for these things to be recycled properly. A colorful floating plastic cap is probably a tasty looking treat for marine life too…
Wasting Disturbing Amounts of Water
How many times have I walked into a public restroom to see the water running from faucet yet nobody is even inside the room, let alone washing their hands. All new sink installations at public and community buildings should include sensors or mechanisms to automatically turn off the taps after short periods bouts of time. The technology exists, it’s in many places today and it should be everywhere.
Governments Must Act on Action Plans
We should all be embarrassed of our elected leaders for not taking meaningful and simple steps. How much do reusable bags cost? A lot less than the environmental and subsequent economical costs plastic bags place on our society.
People forget reusable bags at home because they are not necessary. We don’t forget our wallet and shoes on our way there and if we do, we learn from those mistakes and don’t make them again… the corporations who make these plastic bags have had many years to pivot and redeploy resources, and if not they should have gotten with the times.
Nobody will complain when these inevitable decisions get made, and the countries who make them will be touted as leaders for the people and the planet. It starts with us to take action for the well being of the planet. Join the Millennial Online Community to stay up to date with sustainable products, ethical brands and clean tech creating a better future for the next generation.