Everybody loves to solve problems. The solution is what is always sought for, the end goal, the long term achievement that you use to justify your hours of labor. And yes, solutions are important, but they take the back burner when there are more pressing matters at hand. We might be able to find a “solution” to plastic pollution, find some alternative to package our food, carry our water, make our toys and the bins that store them, but that solution only addresses half of the issue. We need to also consider all the plastic that is already out in the world, the plastic that will not go away on its own.
In the words of activist Greta Thunberg, “You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before…. Like now. And those answers don’t exist anymore. Because you did not act in time.” – Greta Thunberg
Sometimes, the solution isn’t what we want to hear, or perhaps the solution simply doesn’t exist. As Thunberg mentioned in her Westminster address a few weeks ago, we are running out of time to “fix” the earth, and solutions that may have been viable a decade ago are no longer realistic. Nobody likes to be criticized, and people don’t like to hear about the consequences that have resulted from their actions, or lack of action. Regardless of what has or hasn’t been done, we need to change our daily way of life in order to see resulting change, because we cannot carry on the way we always have, or the way we have progressed to our current existence.
We need to progress proactively, rather than rely on being reactive at some point down the line. As much as we wish we could be positive about everything and say maybe we’ve been wrong this whole time, we need to face the fact that we are presented with a problem bigger than the glaciers dripping into the sea, and we need to mindfully go about our days in ways that are different, ways that are more sustainable.