A simple question – one in which Mar asked me (@rwscarter- Ryan) about recently while I was on the radio, what is more important? Education or Innovation?
Well here is her answer.
A matter of Education or Innovation: which “lenses” come first? For a real plastic free revolution we need a solid educational framework that shapes habits and attitudes for finally building a new green culture. Parallel to this process is Innovation on technology, an essential element and an ally for green goals.
We need to be educated to adapt effectively to the new challenges by changing habits and at the same time innovate and make this process easy and sustainable within a world that moves through digitalization. A green future should be based on Education and Innovation and also through an innovative educational framework that delivers values around protection to the environment.
Let´s have a look at some data to wake up to a devastating reality around the environment and in particularly in relation to plastics:
An estimated of 12 million barrels of oil is required to produce the plastic bags used in US each year.
A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021*
Around 50% of plastic is used just once and thrown away*
More than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year*
Alarming figures that wake up our society to a new sensible issue that demands action not only in terms of business options but also on a complete reshape of our lifestyle and system. A revolution….
Now, the system moves through a legal framework, is it possible to make a revolution against plastics without a complete reform of the legal system? Even if private initiatives are dominating the stage of the green market is it not enough and we need a full commitment from the public sector and definitely a new ambitious legal status.
Is precisely legislation that boosts a green way of doing business although always with the support of bottom up initiatives. Which is clear is that we cannot rely only on the latest and the progress would come from top down strategies that display commitment and structure for a system change.
We need leaders with vision, -not necessary visionary- but with the political will to make a change. Not only for cancelling the “plastic industry” but to give alternatives that reconvert the sector into a new and productive industry able to reinvent themselves with innovation and creativity. Is it here that the political support becomes paramount in terms of investment on innovation. From the side of the plastic misuse and irresponsible consumption we must be focused on educating individuals and change their lifestyle no matter the influence of the public sector. The private sector could play a very important role on changing cultural habits by using the speed of social media and the powerful influence of a global structure. Multinationals are key actors to implement new practices and develop new individual habits on an equal impact around the world. In which cultures are not a burden but the necessary complementary element.
Even if political support is a very important factor to take into account, U.S. is a good example that is not necessary essential, which is definitely very important is a legal framework that allows the continuity of pursuing Green goals. The focused policies from Mr. Trump against the own existence of climate change and the investment on clean energies have exposure the power of individual action from millions of citizens in America that want to fight back and are achieving green results with or without public support. This rebellion from the citizenship (coming from all the Political parties) gives the green revolution a new boost and a new vision in which the center of the initiatives are not public. That is precisely what we need for a results-driven strategy against plastics: the determination and awareness from the citizens to make a change of their traditional lifestyle on an almost anarchic basis.
Despite the traditional standardization of concepts, habits and business we must make the effort of “seeing green” where others are not able to do so. The environment depends on this individual option of delivering clean practices. Is our responsibility and empower us to become active agents for change.
Vision it´s important to see the devastating impact of plastics in oceans and in our lifestyle, however there is an even more important element that is awareness and information. Both are missing and clearly the data is not coming from the pubic sector but from an active and engage civil society.
Its ‘a historical momentum for a radical change of the “lenses” of mistaken traditions and move towards a new vision on green, with or without public support.