I’m sure you’ve received one of those messages that explain the pandemic is just the natural solution for an agonizing world. They talk of animals taking back lands overrun by humans, or they refer to the fact that pollution levels are plummeting and water resources and skies are cleaning, amidst scenes that seem apocalyptic, surreal.
|Ci siamo addormentati in un mondo, e ci siamo svegliati in un altro. Improvvisamente Disney è fuori dalla magia, Parigi non è più romantica, New York non si alza più in piedi, il muro cinese non è più una fortezza, e la Mecca è vuota.
Abbracci e baci diventano improvvisamente armi, e non visitare genitori e amici diventa un atto d’amore.
Improvvisamente ti rendi conto che il potere, la bellezza e il denaro non hanno valore e non riescono a prenderti l’ossigeno per cui stai combattendo.
Il mondo continua la sua vita ed è bellissimo. Mette solo gli esseri umani in gabbie. Penso che ci stia inviando un messaggio: “Non sei necessario. L’aria, la terra, l’acqua e il cielo senza di te stanno bene.
Quando tornate, ricordate che siete miei ospiti. Non i miei padroni”.
|We fell asleep in one world and we woke up in a different one. Suddenly, Disney has no magic, Paris is no longer romantic. New York doesn’t rise every morning, the Chinese wall is not a fortress anymore,Mecca is empty.
All of a sudden, hugs and kisses are like weapons, and not visiting your parents and your friends becomes an act of love.
Without warning, you realize power, beauty and money are not valuable, and they cannot offer the oxygen you are fighting for.
The world keeps on spinning and it’s beautiful. Only that humans are now in cages. I think the world’s trying to speak to us: “You’re not essential. Air, soil, water, sky… They’re fine without you. When you do come out, just remember you’re my guests. Not my lords.”
This is one example of the many texts that have been going around social media in these past days. However, whether we believe or not in the theory that the Earth needed cleaning and that was the reason for the pandemic, the truth is that this lockdown hasn’t been bad for the planet at all. But, was it necessary to reach this point? Is this the only way to reduce the impact we have on the environment? And, more importantly, when it’s time to go back to our routines, are we going to behave the same way as always? Even though it’s industries that have the highest pollution levels, we can’t leave our future in their hands only. Just like with any social movement, the change starts with every one of us, and it becomes exponential.
How to Reduce Our Ecological Footprint
Right now, we don’t generate noxious gases with our means of transport, we’re saving petrol and we consume fewer products, choosing only the ones that are essential. But we’re still polluting. Even though we might think we’re only taking up space at home, our trash takes up space elsewhere. The waste we produce accumulates in massive proportions, even when we’re just sitting comfortably at home.
In intive, we’ve been working for a long time in partially “repairing” the damage we do to our planet. Only in 2019, we achieved the following:
- We recycled and donated 300 cardboard containers to an NGO called “Sumando Energías”, that uses those packages to build solar water heaters.
- We recycled and donated 960 plastic trays to a social organization called “En buenas manos” that reuses them to offer food to homeless people.
- We gathered batteries that we no longer used and delivered them to “Red Reciclar” to be recycled.
But, regardless of these figures provided by Marina Muras, who works in CSR, we can’t help but think about our individual footprint outside work. When do we start polluting?
We Pollute From the Moment We Are Born
The truth is that we start polluting the minute we’re born. Did you know that every baby generates more than a ton of used diapers? It takes between 300 and 500 years for every diaper to decompose, and one important detail: disposable diapers were introduced in the 40s. That’s to say that all the disposable diapers that were ever used still exist! That’s mind-blowing, right? Mercedes Monserrat, a sustainable mum, shared that and other pieces of information with us in one of the last talks on-site we had before the outbreak of the pandemic.
“If we want to change the world, we first have to change the way we’re born.”
Michel Odent (French obstetrician)
As we discussed with Mercedes, the way we’re born is marked by so many norms and social conventions that we should rethink how we can go back to nature, and how to break free from some capitalist pacts that stand in between us and our most primitive bonds and, on top of that, are polluting. Among those pacts, we might find:
- That’s the first moment in which a business (medicine) interferes, and ignores the individual needs of every mother and child. Nowadays, we have doulas, which might guide us in our search for a respected childbirth and stand by our side during the whole process.
- Many formula companies make money with the motto: “No breastfeeding”. The WHO recommends that children be exclusively breastfed for, at least, the first 6 months of life. This is where lactation consultants come into play, teaching us that every mother can breastfeed and helping us overcome every obstacle in this regard.
- This is a practice that is more and more common these days, but many brands profit from it as if it were a trend. They sell non-ergonomic baby carriers that can harm both the baby and the parent, as well as elements which aren’t appropriate for babywearing. Luckily, there are groups where useful information can be shared, such as “Crianza en Brazos”, a babywearing school in Argentina.
- Diapers, toys and other elements for babies. Nowadays, we have the possibility to choose products made with noble, biodegradable materials, such as cotton, wool and wood, instead of plastic. We can also reuse or give away what we no longer use at home. This option is beneficial for babies, because we reduce their contact with toxic products, and it’s also helpful for the environment.
Educating Sustainable Citizens
What happens when we grow up? What comes then? The idea is to educate every citizen so that they’re sustainable. We’re responsible to teach children and adults (it’s never too late to learn) about consumption habits that might help us live in a better world. We’d like you to make the most of this lockdown to change some habits and adopt more conscientious ones. For example:
- Let’s pay attention to power consumption at home. Now that we spend more time at home, that can also help us reduce the bill. Check that the only lights on are in rooms people are using.
- When we go shopping, let’s prioritize small entrepreneurs. Apart from polluting less, we’re helping the most vulnerable ones in times of crisis. It’s also important to check what type of packaging they use. For example, the best thing is to buy products in their most natural state (no trays, film paper or packaging). Don’t forget to wash them thoroughly to comply with security and hygiene measurements.
- If we have to buy other products, let’s look for reusable ones. For example, when choosing your mask, buy the ones made of fabric and not the disposable ones.
What place do we want to have in the world? Whether we believe or not in COVID-19 as a consequence of a planet defending itself from harm, maybe this moment of crisis comes with an opportunity. Today, we have the chance to redefine ourselves as human beings and think: What kind of world do we want to go back to?