In the age of industrialization, humankind has become so busy in the daily routine of things that we forget to look around and witness the changes being made to the environment around us.
“If you ever wondered what evil is, it is stupidity on a large scale.” -A quote from a famous environmentalist, Bill Mollison.
Although it is unlikely the revolutionaries of the industrial revolution meant to cause harm, they acted with a lack of knowledge regarding the consequences. We see this in political and corporate leaders every day. Luckily, things are starting to turn around. The masses fought for equal rights to work, fare wages and safe working conditions the same way they are starting to fight for environmental justice. We have come a long way with labor laws since the early 1900’s, who says we can’t do the same for the environment.
4 Things Companies Can Do For The Environment
1. Reduce Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
As you probably know, industry emits a tremendous amount of carbon, methane and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change. Emissions are caused not only from energy use and transportation, but also chemical leakage from manufacturing processes and as a by-product for many industrial and agricultural processes.
With companies like Microsoft creating a greenhouse gas reduction strategy and pledging to become carbon neutral, the trend is beginning to snowball. The Save the World Foundation is probably the biggest contender to keep your eyes on though. The non-profit plans to make Canada a near-net-zero emission country and soon expand to the U.S. and beyond. There are more organizations addressing climate change every day.
2. Recycling and Manufacturing:
There are three main things an organization can do to reduce their environmental impact in the product life cycle. The first step would be to redesign your products with environmentally friendly materials. Materials that cause little to no pollution to manufacture and can easily be recycled or decomposed. This is not always an easy as it takes a team of skilled individuals in chemistry and design to do this properly.
The next is to change your manufacturing and transportation processes. This often needs to be done regardless if you have re-designed your products, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get it perfect. You need to find a way to be able to both completely recycle your product and create it from scratch while keeping your energy use and pollution at a minimum.
Lastly, (I may have already spoiled this one) you need a way to recycle and distribute unwanted products. Most companies actually cut products like shoes and other clothing wear before they throw out the extras. This is to stop people from getting free products from their dumpsters. There needs to be a place they can donate these products and a separate place in manufacturing they can recycle ruined or unwanted goods.
3. Use Energy Wisely:
Energy is the currency of the natural world. The word entails everything from a squirrel eating a nut to the electricity in our homes. Unfortunately, a lot of our energy use comes in the form of electricity powered by fossil fuels. Companies are able to use their energy more wisely by: 1. Switching to an alternative power source such as on site solar or wind or 2. Reducing their energy input by using low energy electronics, lights and machinery and fine tuning their manufacturing process.
4. Minimize Waste:
Waste is the byproduct of pretty well every phase of the product cycle, from manufacturing (and packaging) to transportation and even further into the sale of the product and eventually the disposal of the item. The amount of packaging and other garbage produced from industry is unfathomable. Reducing this waste is vital for everything from saving energy to saving our oceans from plastic waste. Luckily, we are seeing waste free alternatives popping up all over the place. From the growing trend of travel utensils to the creation of biodegradable (and toxin free) plastics.
As you can see, we have a long way to go, but as long as we (the consumers) support the growing environmental movement by purchasing more sustainable products and donating to noble causes. We must be the change we want to see in the world and move demand towards a environmentally friendly future.