I hear a lot about green jobs, sustainable business, eco-friend products and so on. Most of the times, however, it’s just about people repainting old products, old businesses and old ways of working with a glowing “green” paint. Just because now it’s cool to be ecological.
But I truly believe that a green economy should be far more than that. We need to look at what we have come to with different eyes.
Have you ever stopped to think why most of us have to wake up at 7am, take a shower, get out from home at the same time, be stuck in traffic, work 6 to 8 hours a day inside isolated offices, and then go back home – at the same time again, and once more be stuck in traffic and have a shower before going to bed? I can name some of the results of this simple routine: peaks of energy consumption – too many people having showers at the same time, for instance, and the well-known terrible traffic that most of people have to deal with every day. While you’re stuck in traffic, you breathe pollution, you get stressed, and then arrive home with a horrible mood, ruining the rest of your day.
And because of this routine you probably gets bored at the office, in a way that your production goes way down what it would be if you had a little bit more freedom. All of this started at the Industrial Revolution, when people had to arrive and leave the factories at the same time to meet the machine needs. But I ask you – is it still necessary? Does it work for everyone? Probably not… Simple solutions, like giving the employees a flexible schedule, are totally possible, and would have great benefits for the environment and for people health.
And rethinking about offices: why do offices have to be so gray? Wouldn’t it be cool to work in a place designed for inspiration and productive conversations? We can work alone and silently from home, you know. The brilliant thing about work places is that we can meet with people with the same interests, interact with them and create things together. This would be achieved more easily in a place full of round tables and message boards, with a library filled with good books, videos and games that inspire you about what you work with. Like the ones shown in Roy Vergara’s blog.
A real sustainable business should care not only about the end-of-pipe, I mean, about the product itself or it’s packing. It’s easy to make sensationalists labels for the market shelves, but costumers more and more will want true ecologically designed things. Collaborative consumption brings a light to this path: as costumers, we want the transportation, not the car itself. We want our clothes nice and clean, not the machines that do the laundry for us. To sell services usually is way more sustainable than selling objects to private use. And this is where the market is going to turn to in the next few years.
In the next decades, my friend, if we’re lucky enough, we’ll see this wave of sustainability grow and consolidate. Not as a temporary fad, but as a genuine new paradigm of working, producing, consuming and living.
In fact, I don’t expect it to be brought by industry or governments. I think it will arise from people, like you and me. More and more, individuals, with the blessing of social media networks, are getting hands on to bring sustainability to practice.