Currently showing: Climate/natural disasters

05 Jun 13 11:47

I was never a big fan of birthdays as a kid. But I've come to understand the importance of making the time and space to think about / commemorate things so as to value them.

Today is World Environment Day (#WED for tweeters like me) and I think it's important that we all take some time to reflect on how our actions are affecting the environment. What is helping and why, what is damaging and why, and what we can do to help reduce our footprint on this beautiful, rich, (still pretty) diverse, mysterious, nourishing planet that some call Pachamama, or Mother World.

Like any detox program, the first step is to be aware that there is a problem. A majority of the 7 bn (going on 9 bn) that we are on this planet are still either unaware of environmental issues, or fail to see the link between their individual actions and the cumulative (positive or devastating) effect these have on the planet. We are all responsible and we all need to actively commit. We cannot wait for governments or corporations to do all the work.

As consumers, voters for our political representatives and employees of companies worldwide, we need to realize that we have enormous power and that we, together, make the world we live in. Each and every one of us. Each action counts and we can (and must!) all help reduce our burden on the planet, one step at a time.

The EPA's "What you can do" website is a great place to start What other actions are you undertaking to reduce your footprint? Share them in the comments or make a pledge on twitter using #150pledges. We'll compile them in the context of Swiss Re's 150 year anniversary and share the best ideas with all in a couple of months. Look forward to each and every idea!

Category: Climate/natural disasters


Bernd Wilke - 5 Jun 2013, 3:16 p.m.

I pledge to come by bike to work as long as it is not raining cats and dogs. And if it rains I use public transport.

Alicia Montoya - 5 Jun 2013, 4:10 p.m.

That's great, Bernd! I'll consider that one too, I just need to get my fitness levels up! :D

Jennifer Rodney - 5 Jun 2013, 9:07 p.m.

I pledge to buy a glass to (re)use at my desk at work instead of going through a number of paper cups to be able to drink water at the office every week.
Although I would be curious to know what the thinking behind Swiss Re's choosing to provide paper rather than glass is in this instance - is recycling rather than washing glasses the more environmentally sound choice when dealing with higher volumes I wonder?
And once I have moved and settled into my apartment, I pledge to invite friends over for vegetarian meals from time to time - communal cooking and vegetarianism both being Eco-friendlier as far as I have read.

Daniel Martin Eckhart - 6 Jun 2013, 2:40 p.m.

Love the picture, Alicia. Now, about that pledge-bit ... Could I do more of the good stuff, less of the bad? Sure, we all could. Both me and my wife try to be very conscious of what we do, and about what where and how we buy. That's what we pass on to our children and from what I see, the way we live life with minds and eyes wide open, does make a dent. I've come across something recently that I'll take a closer look at -> the idea is simple, just use Instagram to photograph and Twitter to publish with a hashtag (#litterati) the litter you come across (and of course pick it up and dump it, too!). It's simple - and in the video clip you see how the inventor turned this mapping of litter into a great way to engage with and clean up neighborhoods.

Alicia Montoya - 18 Jun 2013, 5:46 p.m.

Thanks, Dani, I love that project! The idea of starting a direct, public dialogue with brands about the packaging they use on their products, which ends up in our playgrounds, streets and oceans is simply brilliant! I am slightly concerned that if we really did use the service to its full potential, we'd collapse instagram... and possibly the internet! So. Much. Trash.

But I think this could be more effectively dealt with via policy. e.g. a tax on packaging. In Belgium they introduced a tax on garbage, so consumers started unpackaging their goods at stores and leaving them with the costly garbage. Stores in turn spoke with manufacturers.. and eventually some cut down on the packaging.

Glad your wife & you are teaching good values to your kids :) We forget how powerful each and everyone of us is in delaing with these macro problems. If only we realized that the solution is in our hands!

Jon Ander Valverde - 16 Jul 2013, 7:55 a.m.

I would love to thank you Alicia for reminding us of such a great day! I tend to have many environmental days all around year so here I leave some of my good environmental practices:

+ I grow a eco friendly vegetable patch in my back garden ( giving the children and neighbors something to try ) They love it !!!!!!!
+ I have a very visible rain water recovery system (gives an example to the neighbors showing them how easy is watering the garden ina sustainable way) Costs arround 30 CHF!
+ I ride my bicyle to the farm to get the vegies that I do not grow and I exchange experiences with them.
+ I recicle 95% of my wastes
+ Thanks to the contructor of my Flat I am able to save much energy, beacuse the orientation of the windows allows me to have artificial light off until half past 9.
+ Even to my 50 kg dog I give her food the region to decrease her CO2 footprint :)
+ And as I allways say, speaking, awaring and information and experience exchange is one of the best ways to lower up the comunity CO2 footprint.

Alicia Montoya - 5 Jun 2014, 6:59 a.m.

Jon, I'm impressed and grateful you shared your actions. I, like you, have continued to campaign and raise awareness. While I also try keep my footprint low, I think my biggest contribution is helping those around me (friends, colleagues, family) as well as the brands I buy from understand why it matters, why I care (and so should they). I'm convinced that raising awareness and sharing best practices will be key to success. It will drive consumers to make better choices, which in turn will drive companies and governments to better meet our needs.

Don't wait for a better world, DEMAND IT.

Don't forget the power we have as consumers and voters. Here's a great example from NZ of how consumer pressure fast tracked shark finning ban in NZ:

If you would like to leave a comment, please, log in.