To fix climate change, we need to fix capitalism – let me explain.
Capitalism has a lot of good things going for it. Consumers get more choices; competition promotes innovation; and it has created more wealth and a higher standard of living than in any previous era. But there is also a dark side: consumerism, which encourages a never-ending acquisition of products and services.
The increase in production to meet demand from a growing global population is catastrophic for the environment, and the damage is disproportionately higher in developed countries, the US is only 4% of the global population, but the second largest emitter of CO2 at 16% of global emissions.
From your biology textbook and the back of your brain: Just living and breathing, humans and animals produce CO2, carbon dioxide. Plants use photosynthesis to break the molecular bond of CO2 and release the oxygen back into the atmosphere.
Throughout history, there has always been an equilibrium between the naturally occurring CO2 emissions and the oxygen production of plants. That lasted until humans began using hydrocarbons (think crude oil, natural gas, coal) as an energy source and clearing forests for agriculture and cities.
Our challenge as green (or just conscious) people is to move back towards that equilibrium we unsettled by reversing the effects of deforestation and, more importantly, reducing or eliminating the use of hydrocarbons. We don’t have to go back to the stone age to do this.
Every trip we make releases large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. All the products and food we consume are created using hydrocarbons. To an extent these are necessary. But consumerism drives us to produce, consume and discard in a continuous loop – beyond what’s necessary.
Consumers need to gain greater awareness of how the little choices they make every day impact their carbon footprint. Unfortunately, consumers’ choices are limited by the options available to them, which means that companies bear the greatest responsibility here. Companies need to provide consumers options of high quality goods with a longer life, that are more sustainable on every level and at every step of the supply chain.
If we look closely at the way our clothing is made – we see a microcosm of the cycle, repeated in every industry. Companies focus on manufacturing efficiency – to achieve higher output rather than better output. The goal is to sell you the same thing over and over instead of once, sustainably.
The effect of this, according to the EPA, is 17 million tonnes of textile waste in 2018 (think discarded clothing, furniture, carpets, tires, footwear, and other nondurable goods), and that number is increasing every year.
This is why we like companies producing high quality goods that last. They are more sustainable on every level and at every step of the supply chain. Here are a few of our favorites:
Everything we do has an environmental impact, including our manufacturing process. At Beyond, by maximizing each scooter’s life, we get more miles per emission, and more emission trips overall. Yeah, we think it sounds rad, too.
At Beyond, we’ve built our entire company around this promise: design and deliver an incredible product with a best in class rider-experience, while minimizing environmental impact. See how we maximize our vehicles’ useful lives and learn more about everything Beyond is doing to revolutionize carbon neutral micro mobility here.