October 19th, 2009
Climate Counts is thrilled to be supporting No Impact Week, a new campaign launched by our friends at the No Impact Project with support from the The Huffington Post. Our Executive Director Wood Turner was featured on last night’s No Impact Week webcast with “No Impact Man” Colin Beavan. Tonight, be sure to catch the 9 pm Eastern webcast with 350.org’s Bill McKibben.
Consumerism. It’s a term that, like it or not, defines our culture. And to an extent, it should. So many of our basic needs are tied to consumption; we need food, we need water, we need oxygen, we need basic clothing and shelter. For that reason, the concept of “living without an impact” doesn’t really assume we’re opting out of all consumption completely. Instead, it’s about being more thoughtful about how we consume and considering whether we might be able to consume less and, as the No Impact Project suggests, whether that change in consumer habits might actually contribute to a happier, more connected way of life.
Yesterday’s No Impact Week challenge was for us to think differently about the way we shop. For some of us, that means finding alternative options to buying items that are brand new and honing in on what it is we truly need. Today’s challenge focuses on part two of that process: reducing our trash. I like to think about Day 1 and Day 2 of No Impact Week in terms of our own personal input/output: if we input less into our lives (stuff), we have less to output (trash).
But, back to those basic consumer needs – the things we need to buy to get by. Some of those things will result in trash, in the form of packaging or food wrappers. (Check out NIM’s helpful list of ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle here). Our weekly trash might be a negative output, but what if our negative output could also have a positive impact? Meaning, what if we could use our necessary consumer choices to send a message to companies that we care. We care about our impact, and we want big business to care too. We’re working to reduce our own impact on climate change and the natural systems that support us. Certainly, corporations can do a better job reducing theirs.
Climate Counts scores companies on their climate action – what the world’s largest corporations, which own and operate thousands of the brands we interact with on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, are voluntarily doing about the climate crisis. The scores let you see which of the biggest companies are doing the most to lead their sectors and the marketplace on this issue. So when it comes to those necessity purchases, you have the power to use your dollars to support those companies that reflect your own concerns about climate change. Climate Counts gives you the power to “raise your voice” directly to these global corporations through e-mail and Twitter. (Visit company pages on the Climate Counts site to start e-mailing or tweeting about the choices you’re making).
So while you’re evaluating your weekly purchase and disposal habits, deciding where and how you can reduce your impact to improve your quality of life, remember that paring down your daily pile of trash is really the first step in your high-impact “no” or “low” impact life. If we’re all committed each day to doing one thing, collectively we can do so much more when it comes to influencing better corporate citizenship and more sustainable public policy.