If 2017 was the year that climate change went from being a belief to an undeniable reality, 2018 is the year to believe that we can save the planet. Reversing the effect of climate change requires imminent action, and this year, creativity is being thrown into the mix because protecting our planet is more than recycling our plastic water bottles.
Starting from the ground up, this is how I will be shaping my year, and helping save our planet.
After spending much of 2017 traveling between continents, 2018 will see me keeping my feet on the ground.
Much to the dismay of our generation of travellers and frequent flyers (myself included), traveling by air is one of our most harmful habits. Our carbon footprint sees exponential growth with every flight we take, regardless of the extent to which our daily habits are environmentally conscious.
This year, I will be staying grounded. I intend to minimize the number of flights I take and to reduce my carbon footprint, and, for the occasions on which I cannot elect against flying, I will be opting for an airline that allows for me to purchase a carbon offset for my travels.
The most effective approach to reducing a carbon footprint is eliminating air travel altogether, however, my intention is not perfection in 2018, but sustainability over the course of a lifetime. I place an incredibly high value on education, and truly believe that the most effective way to build an awareness and appreciation for the planet is to see it. So, while this is not perfect, it is sustainable, both for the planet, and for myself.
Up until five years ago I didn't know to think twice about the sources of anything I was consuming. The where, what, when, how and why were questions I only asked myself as a writer, not everyday consumer.
But, what did I actually know about where something originated, how it was produced, and who was involved in its production? Beyond that, why did I want and need it?
Since then, incredible progress has been made. This progress is seen in technology that provides us with the opportunity to further question, research and learn. It also manifests itself in vast amounts of information and literature available to answer our questions, in the channels of communication that allow us to share our learnings, and in our freedom to express ourselves and act based on our beliefs.
This year, I aim to continue questioning what is habitual, typical and normal. This questioning doesn’t need to amount to a confirmed opinion or manifest itself in a changed behaviour, but with continuous questioning comes continuous learning, and consequently, growth.
By this I mean unplugging our devices and from our devices.
Unplugging our devices to literally conserve energy, and shrink our energy footprint. The small acts of unplugging devices that aren’t being used, only charging our phones as long as they require, or opting for candlelit dinners once a week - their impact add up over time.
The second part of this intention is to unplug from our devices. This is an intention that is not directly correlated with reversing climate change. Nonetheless, is one can lead to a more conscious way of living.
To take a break from any kind of technology enables us to take a break from constant stimulation, align ourselves with our natural tendencies, identify sleep patterns and to flex our creative muscles way from our screens. Unplugging is more than turning off devices - it is giving ourselves more time to connect with the world around us, our family, our friends and, most importantly, ourselves.
These are the first steps toward a more conscious, and sustainable 2018. What are your intentions for 2018?