04 Jan FORECAST: 2020 Sustainability Trends
Looking into the year 2020 – what are some of the eco actions that we need to see more of? What kind of green-washing are we going to eradicate and where do we need to see more charge being taken?
YOUTH LEADING THE CHARGE
For all the grief Millennials and Gen Zs get, they really are the ones spearheading the green revolution. They are a group of incredibly conscious consumers who have clued themselves up on reading product labels and ingredient lists. Though there are certain undesirable aspects of what is called ‘cancel culture,’ but the upside is that they are willing to tweet, gram, yelp a company into extinction if they harming the environment they are trying to protect.
And it’s effective.
Eco-irresponsibility is beginning to affect a lot of business’s bottom lines. Conglomerates like Unilever have had to take a hard look at some of their entities. They are incorporating green practises as part of their business strategy.
I haven’t even mentioned the young eco-warriors disrupting the status quo and leaving policymakers quaking in their boots. Who didn’t feel ashamed when Greta Thunberg bawled, “How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and childhood,” at the UN Climate Action Summit back in September. The 16-year-old Swede is just but one of the countless young activists calling people all to order. In 2020, we’re going to see a lot more youth rallying together to effect change for the benefit of the environment in a way we haven’t seen before.
The general theme for 2020 is to take things further. We are entering a new decade cycle and the catalogue of apps that help you sift through the companies that test on animals and dump toxic waste into our water sources aren’t going to cut it. We need to level up on our clean technology.
If you don’t have LED lights or low-flow faucets yet, you’re going to soon be lapped by developments in echo dots that save on buying a whole host of devices for your home and office.
Who would’ve thought that prioritising self-care would be environmentally friendly? Cleaning your clutter and donating all your unused or unwanted items, instead of throwing them out, is a simple exercise that Mother Nature will appreciate.
Replace retail therapy with a barefoot walk along the beach or full body massage.
You see, when we take better care of ourselves on a daily basis, we decrease the risk of feeling run down. I can always tell I’m running on empty when I order out more than usual. Cooking for myself is a form of self-care I perform daily. When I pop into a Mcdonalds or Drive Thru a KFC, I am telling my body that I can’t be bothered to intentionally sustain it with quality ingredients. Sure, eating out can be a form of self-care too. There is a huge difference between treating yourself to dinner at a restaurant that sources ethically grown ingredients, locally, and damaging your body with GMO foods that come from macro farms responsible for immense deforestation.
KEEPING IT CLOSE TO HOME
If you’re a regular FTN reader, you’ll be familiar with this concept; I am an enthusiastic advocate for shopping locally because the benefits for the environment as well as the economy are undeniable. The surge of local artisans, this year, has made this undertaking incredibly easy.
Picture this: Jonathan from your pilates class has a stall at the farmers market, where he sells his probiotic preserves and pickles. Nhlanhla, who’s daughter is part of the same after school programme as your kid, repurposes discarded fabric to make beautiful quilts to keep people warm during winter. Would it not feel better supporting small business owners, who really are the backbone of our economy, while reducing your carbon footprint at the same time?
Supporting local merchandisers creates a great sense of community which has shown to increase volunteerism. When you feel part of something bigger than yourself, you work harder to preserve it for both yourself and those around you.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PRODUCTION
If the return of load shedding in South Africa, and the subsequent excuses given is anything to go by – wet coal and sabotagers – the need for other forms of energy production is clear. As mentioned a bit earlier, in 2020 we are taking our efforts a step further.
Solar power has helped the few who have invested in panels, geysers, and other apparatus. So what developments can we look forward to next year? It seems we’ll be seeing more sustainable energy generation in public spaces and homes because it is becoming increasingly affordable. Products that facilitate micro-generation of electricity in the home will be easily purchasable and implementable.