Half of all the plastic produced in the world is designed to be used only once. The accumulated waste from these plastics amounts to 300 million tons per year, nearly the weight of the entire human population. We spent generations in the modern world without these terrible pollutants. It’s time to end their use.
We’ve added 500 gigatons of CO2 to the atmosphere in just the last 20 years. Scientists believe we will hit a tipping point, from which there will be no repairing the atmosphere, if we add just 335 more. At our current rate of 36 gigtons per year from fossil fuels, that’s less than 10 years away.
People love their stuff, especially people in the US. Americans spent $14.8 trillion on consumer goods in 2019. Much of what we buy is designed to be used once or for a limited amount of time. It’s time to look for quality goods, upgradable technologies and timeless fashions to reduce our resource consumption.
Arctic Arts Project
Committed to a sustainable world
Climate chaos has wrought great change in the Arctic and in other parts of the world. The Arctic Arts Project visually documents that change, using the current science as our structure. We seek to help the world understand what is happening and we hope to help people forge a commitment to living in a way that is in harmony with what our planet can provide. In the words of Ed Millband “The requirement now is for dramatic changes to how we live, how we move, what we eat and how we use our land.”
The last 50 years have help profound shifts in the way people view consumerism. We buy more that we throw away. Even expensive goods are made with planned obsolescence in mind. Our connection through technology has given us more appetites and a tolerance for less quality. We’ve become a voracious species and our consumption of resources and production of waste has come to be vast. We can live well with far less stuff. We can care for the earth, respect its limits, reduce our pollution of all kinds. If we don’t, the changes on the planet will simply force us to. This process will bring us into systems of weather and changes in landscapes that we have not yet in encountered in our time on the planet. We have a choice of how to move forward. Each individual has a role in this tide of change.
The Big Three
Join us in committing to reduce our personal Carbon emissions by 20% in 2020. Individuals can make a difference.
Travel & Transport
Emissions from automobiles and airplanes, along with the damage to the environment and emissions in creating fuels, make this a critical area for change.
The production of red meat and current, industrial farming practices account for 13% of greenhouse gas emissions. Food waste and shipping are also huge contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Changing your diet can change the future.
Plastics are the most persistent pollutant on the planet. They account for 16 percent of oil demand and 50 percent are designed to be used only once.
What can you do?
Your guide to Incremental Sustainability
• Ride a bike
• Use public transport
• Buy an Electric vehicle
• Reduce daily vehicle trips by 20%
• Offset your car and travel emissions with a carbon offset program
• Buy green power for your home where it is available
• Consider airlines that offset carbon and have newer, more fuel efficient airplanes
• Reduce your red meat consumption
• Buy organic and local produce
*Reduce your food waste
• Eat fresh food with little or no packaging
• Plant a garden so you can grow your own food
• Eat seasonal produce to reduce the number of miles your food must travel
• Use the Seafood Watch List for choosing fish
Commit to avoiding single use plastics:
• plastic bottles and cups
• plastic bags
• packaging-A tough one. Buy larger containers when possible and avoid packaged produce
• Carry re-usable bags, a cup, a straw and utensils
The Bigger Picture
Start using your voice
- Vote for politicians who understand climate and are committed to mitigating human impact.
- Encourage your city and national government to build public transportation and intracity train routes to reduce airplane and automobile emissions
- Lobby for a local, city or statewide ban on plastic bags
- Lobby to require that companies producing technologies heavy in resources like computers, phones and cameras take their product back at the end of its life span and recycle the materials
- *We need to encourage the development of wind and solar power generation. Government has a role in making these projects easier and cheaper to build
- Write to businesses and tell them you want less packaging on their consumer items.
- Tell companies you want your technology to be upgradable rather than having to replace it with another resource heavy item
- Let’s get petroleum companies on board with electric cars. More and faster power stations are needed to ease movement in electric vehicles
- Big, internet based companies, like Amazon could pick up their boxes from previous shipments to re-use them. Re-use is far better than re-cycling.
- Support the green power program at your local utility
- Choose to do business with companies that care for the environment. Healthy ecosystems pull far more carbon out of the atmosphere.
- Teach your children about climate change and how they can help reduce your impact
- Buy with quality in mind. The clothing industry alone produces 1.7 billion tons of CO2 each year and this number is rising fast
- Support the organizations that are working hard to combat climate chaos
- If you have money to invest, consider an impact investing firm. These companies screen investments for environmental sustainability, human rights, and government practices to make sure your investments are aligned with your priorities. They use your ownership in companies that need to change through shareholder activism. Investing with your values doesn’t mean you lose money either. We love Veris Wealth Partners, but there are many companies to choose from.
The resources you need to start now
Support climate change education and mitigation
Donate to the organizations fighting the good fight
Our lives are complex. People today are busier than ever. We are deeply connected through technology. The internet gives us more information at our fingertips than ever in human history. It also gives us appetites we’ve never had. We see what is out there and we want it. The ease with which we can have it is also new. Amazon will deliver almost anything within 48 hours to most places in the US. Instant gratification is at our fingertips.
All this has made us consumers of goods and resources at an unprecedented level. For the planet and for future generations of people, we will have to learn to curb our appetites and think about the things we buy, the places we go and what we eat in a different way. Our brains are wired so perfectly for the kind of instant reward novelty and comfort bring, that it can be very difficult to change the way we live. But change is not optional. We can decide how it will look, or the planet will decide for us.
Incremental Sustainability is about mindfulness. We recognize that doing things differently takes practice. Our perspective is that every small thing helps and larger things become easier with practice. We encourage you to consider the information above and commit to becoming aware of your choices on a daily basis. When you can, make a choice that is sustainable. When you can’t, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just consider your options and choose sustainability as often as you can. Over time, you’ll find that it’s easier than it seems. Riding your bike or having a vegetarian dinner can be a wonderful way to expand your world a little at a time.
The Arctic Arts Project Commitment
The team of collaborators at The Arctic Arts Project is committed to incremental sustainability. We cannot always make perfect choices. The inherent hypocrisy of traveling the world to document change is not lost on us. Our knowledge of how much climate has altered the systems in the Arctic has made each of us very conscious of the choices we make that impact the planet. We want you to know that for all of our travel for project expeditions and presentations, we buy offsets with Greenland Trees, Native Energy and Cool Effect. These organizations directly support projects that reduce carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. We buy green power for our homes where it is available. We use public transportation, ride our bikes or use an electric vehicle near our homes. We eat less red meat and have found some incredible new recipes in the process. We try to buy clothing that we will keep for years instead of months and we repair clothing and goods whenever possible to avoid buying something new. We also eat very little processed food, buying organic, local produce whenever possible. We’ve committed to eliminating single use plastics in every context we can. Our use of technology is significant. We hope to encourage companies to make our cameras and computers upgradable rather than having to replace them as the systems improve. We see the world through the lens of climate chaos and we work to make our lives more in line with a sustainable future. We hope you will join us in that commitment.