Rethinking Sustainability

Over the past decade the world has seen a big shift of thought when it comes to natural resources and their exploitation. This shift towards solution based arguments has a multifaceted approach which includes protection of the natural environment, which involves altering human activities, and thus, reducing their effect on such resources. These include air, water, light, noise and physical pollutants or biohazardous agents. We now have a very strong and active community in most countries and the consumer market is adapting products towards this way of thinking – which is great, right?

Well let’s say it is because we have products all over the supermarket shelves which are labelled eco…. Bio…. Organic…. Ect.

Hang on! What do these term even mean?

Let’s start with the word bio. Bio, meaning “life” comes from the Greek, and it is a popular prefix for words like Biology – so that is the study of life and thus it is there to promote life on earth. Or closer to the matter, Biodegradable, which means that the item in question will degrade naturally without any further intervention.  Then we have the famous prefix eco which is short for ecosystem and thus words like eco-friendly mean world friendly. On that note let’s pop down to the supermarket and shopping should be super easy as anything with eco is a win and we can purchase that with no guilt.

Sorry, spoiler alert! This is far from reality. Most labels are there for the contents and not the package – which goes against the concept of the product and how it arrives to the store, and even how it is stored, or processed. There is more to think about when making purchases.

The reality is that we are not living in a circular economy. Did someone say ECO oh yeah economy. Economy is the careful management of available resources which yes, you guessed, is not all those products labelled Eco. Available resources such as food and water are most eco when sourced locally and not shipped in packaging made from the digging of the earth to find oil then processing it into plastic to use it for a very short time, only to put it back into nature in a state that is harmful to that very resource. This means that circular economy, which is another word for sustainability, will never be achieved so long as we do not source with the least amount of impact possible.

But that is why we have recycling right? No – but recycling is helping the situation by prolonging the chemicals from entering our eco, but not mitigating this altogether. However, this is necessary with so many circulating plastics. This way of thinking still requires you to Change your lifestyle, however, this is not as difficult as you think.

So generally we need to think about separating our spent resources we purchase such as food wrappers and maybe some other disposable items that we use. So from today you can start to making small changes that will have long lasting effect such as swapping all your disposable items for items you can use over and over again. Which yes, is a huge deal to start with, but when you are all set up things become easy as you no longer have any spent resources to organize (trash).   

In Malta we are lucky as this ideology is easily accessed, as we have a rich food growing season which is all year. And everything is in close proximity, and thus, we as a population are the key to change. We can do this, but it is of utmost importance to share this information with friends and family as this way of thinking is more in depth than that of a short and sweet solution that you would normally see on a campaign which is designed to catch the attention of people in a very short time such as an add or a TV advert. 

Let us know what changes you have made in the comments below:

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