The only thing I’ve ever won was an eco toilet cleaner in a raffle.
So no wonder I was in a dreamlike state when they announced my name as the winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year at last week’s PEA Awards (People and Environment Achievement Awards).
Here is the speech I never had a chance to deliver while collecting my trophy on stage:
I am over the moon - I can’t deny it. This is probably the most meaningful moment in my life so far. But hang on… WINNING an environmental award is an odd concept. Until sustainability becomes truly mainstream, we are all big-time losers!
So beyond these 15 minutes of glory shared by all winners here tonight, however positive and amazing these projects may be, we all need to have a collaborative global goal to fix the mess we have put ourselves into.
They say global warming is what we need to combat, but perhaps we need to fight against the real life-threatening pandemics called Apathy and Greed first of all.
We environmentalists are likely to loose the battle to maintain the Earth’s habitability and will remain a minority - UNLESS environmentalism becomes a duty for each and every one of us, rather than a choice.
We have become totally addicted to a lavish and uncaring lifestyle our planet cannot sustain. And how bloody hard is it to cure addiction? How could we possibly divert people’s perceptions and priorities?
Beyond consumption the problem lies with accumulating bad habits— we've been used to making stuff the wrong way for too long (many thanks to the The Age of Stupid, which I assume you’ve all watched).
So WHY BOTHER changing the way we produce stuff if they ‘do the job’?
“Check out these super cool trainers, WHO CARES if they’re made in a sweatshop with a nasty blend of harmful substances?”
“NEVER MIND that the cotton used for this lovely dress has been soaked with toxic pesticides, it’s so flattering, and too cheap to resist!”
“I must have this designer handbag! Well TOO BAD the leather has been tanned with carcinogenic substances, I must have it anyway!”
Maybe the intensity of life is already too hard to bear and we are already stressed enough to ALSO care about such ‘minor details’ or ‘imperfections’...
Life is full of compromises anyway!
And NOBODY is perfect, right?
We fail to grasp the sheer scale of our problem and picture the global impact. It is all adding up; just multiply your own unsustainable consumption by a few billion. And to make matters even trickier, many of the harmful products appear to be deceivably inoffensive!
I was thinking it would be really cool to have a harmful-substance reader App in our smartphones, in a similar vein to those Geiger counters being popular back in the 80’s when people were concerned with the radiation from microwaves.
We self-obsessed creatures tend to focus on our own personal life, and in any case why can’t the ‘authorities’ do something? And isn’t this the government’s ‘job’?
If THEY don’t care, WHY SHOULD I ??
- Pause -
I want to conclude by paying a special tribute to the tremendous and inspirational work of Polly Higgins who just won the best Environmental Campaigner Award! Please follow and support http://eradicatingecocide.com/ as this is one of the few campaigns out there that CAN make a real and major difference.
Much love, and thank you all x