All posts tagged: people planet profits

This changes everything

Naomi Klein is a pretty cool lady. She is a Canadian writer and activist, and every seven years she releases a book that becomes the defining talking point of the time and creates waves of social awakening. In her 2000 book No Logo she investigates the dark side of global unfettered capitalism and how we are all walking billboards for mega-corporations now, unable to separate ourselves from the products we buy. Combined with rising inequality worldwide and a second depression looming on the horizon, capitalism will eventually cannibalize itself when workers no longer can afford to buy the products they are making for scraps and pennies. In 2007, Klein coined the term ‘disaster capitalism’ and released The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. The book retells the story of the most dominant ideology of our time, Milton Friedman’s free market economic revolution. In contrast to the popular myth of this movement’s peaceful global victory, Klein shows how it has exploited moments of shock and extreme violence in order to implement its economic policies in …

Economy of insanity and apples

Imagine for a moment a world where the currency of choice is apples. It is something that grows freely without a lot of effort from humans. Plant a tree, wait 10-20 years, then harvest. Depending on your level of ambition you can harvest just enough or a lot. But the thing about apples is that they rot. Maybe in a temperature controlled cellar they can last a few years, but hoarding apples eventually becomes an exercise in futility because who would want your old shriveled apples when they can just pick fresh ones from outside? So, in this economy, you are left with three choices: eat the apples, trade the apples, and give away your extras because soon they will become worthless to everyone, including yourself. Are you with me so far? What do you think would be the guiding principle in such a world? Sharing, of course. Since your apples are no good to you hidden away in a basement left to rot, the most efficient use of them would be to give them …

Why ‘voting with your dollar’ doesn’t work

The fall down the rabbit hole is a long one – and often very painful. Once you start to deconstruct reality around you, you tend to alienate a lot of people. They are perfectly adjusted and don’t need your philosophical musings, thank you very much. Vote with your dollars is something you will hear well-meaning sustainability-leaning people say a lot. I used to. I still do, to an extent, but it took a long time to realize just how difficult that is. The idea behind voting with your dollars is to put your money where your values lie. If you are against animal testing on cosmetics, you make sure to only buy cosmetics that are not tested on animals. Easy, right? Not so fast. Did you know that The Body Shop (the most famous worldwide company for natural and ethically produced beauty products) is owned by L’oreal? I didn’t, and that’s when I tumbled into this particular rabbit hole.

Stupid pink bra (Being human in 2014)

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with all this knowledge about how fucked up our consumer culture is so I just resort back to what I know and I go out and I buy more stuff. Recently I impulse-bought a neon pink bra from Victoria’s Secret. It really shocked me that I did that, because mostly I’ve curbed my impulse spending and I remember standing in line thinking ‘oh shit, I’m totally just going to buy this pink bra for $25 without thinking about whether I really need it or not, what else I can use it with, or anything like that’. I almost got a rush – I was feeling so rebellious. So it’s not like I don’t get it. Buying stuff feels good. But then a few days later  while putting this pink bra on, I looked at the tag and it said ‘made in Sri Lanka’ and I just can’t help thinking about the person in Sri Lanka who made it. Day in and day out this person is making bras for pennies …

Brainstorming for Sustainability: Social media is mass hysteria?

I came across this interesting little brain nugget that asked ‘Is Social Media a new form of mass hysteria?’ and now I can’t shake that idea. Being a child of the internet the evolution of social media never seemed like a big deal to me. From 90’s message boards, to LiveJournal, to MySpace, to YouTube, to Facebook, to Instagram and everything that came and went in between, I just seized it, used it, and disregarded whatever didn’t suit me. But when you really sit down to think about it, social media has, and constantly is, changing our lives drastically. It is how we keep in touch with friends and non-friends, how we get our news, stay involved with our particular interests, share pictures and opinions, and in essence, shape our image. But we also shape ourselves.

You are not useless, but the society that tells you so is

I think what makes me the most sad to read on my Facebook feed is not the stories about how corrupt and useless politicians and corporations are. I already know that, most people know that. But to see how cruel and heartless ordinary people can be in the comment fields underneath these stories is depressing. Our society, this system, is breaking down at record speed. Environmental destruction, economic collapse and massive overpopulation that leaves the value of human life near zero. You don’t need a fancy degree to understand that a system which leaves this many people in poverty and despair is a flawed one. It is so disheartening to see so many so-called successful people call everyone else that isn’t at their level lazy and entitled. I just read an article about an immigrant boy with three degrees at age 25 cleaning toilets in a foreign land because his own country is in economic ruin due to the game of criminal bankers. And he is only one in millions. Millions. And most of the …

The embarrassing path to good coffee (goodbye Starbucks)

After spending Monday sighing over that the internet won’t shut up about Breaking Bad because it’s not really that good, I decided to catch up on Season 5 (I’d seen up to season 4 a year ago), probably because I hate feeling left out when it comes to Hollywood. That was three days ago. 14 episodes later I have re-emerged and I have pounded my fists on the bed and yelled at my computer on three separate occasions. I have also barely spoken to anyone nor seen sunlight. I’m a little confused as to what my life is right now. But I love coffee so let’s talk about coffee! My journey to appreciate coffee started, embarrassingly, with Starbucks. Now I call it candy-coffee because let’s face it, most of the concoctions they sell are 3 parts syrup, 1 part coffee and 6 parts milk but at the time I was convinced that a white chocolate mocha (WCM) was this mysterious adult beverage called coffee. And it was delicious! It probably still is but at least …

How to shop for clothes you will love. Any budget! (A guide to fabrics)

Most of us are very experienced in shopping for clothes, but few of us really know what to look for in the clothes we buy outside of fashion and trends. Through trial and error, countless disappointments and wasted money, I have come up with this handy guide to ensure you will always be buying quality clothes – no matter what your budget is. As a disclaimer, I have no background in the garment industry. These are simply lessons learned by a consumer who is tired of being sold junk. The three words to remember are: fabric, cut, and craftsmanship. Cut, which determines how the garment will fit, is very important. Too tight or too loose is never flattering. For women, you want your t-shirts to barely skim the body, to look soft and comfortable, yet flatter your curves. You want your expensive silk shirts to be loose and work appropriate, but still have a sense of femininity so you can feel confident and attractive. Same goes for men, if we can see the outline of …

Truthseeker or information junkie?

I love the internet. I really do. Before the internet our access to information was rather limited. I have given myself the challenge to ‘unlearn’ historic truths that we just take for granted because our fifth grade teacher told us so. We are, for obvious and time-saving reasons, indoctrinated into a certain world view from an early age. Here are the good guys, these are the bad guys, and here’s why and how this war was fought. Usually the good guys win and our worldview remains safe and orderly. We can even illustrate it in a nice little chart.

10 Steps to a Sustainable Life: Step 4 (Value experiences over material things)

If I could sum up my master’s degree in sustainability in one word it would be “value”. The value of something is subjective and it means the importance we ascribe physical objects, experiences and even metaphysical undertakings such as learning and spirituality. For instance, I value my family more than anything, certainly more than to put a monetary value on it. I am sure you feel the same way about yours and the people in your life. But you don’t value my family as much as you do yours, and vice versa, so the concept of value is intangible and difficult to translate into a meaningful common reality. So we invented money to make it less confusing. The only problem is we took it too far and today anything can be ascribed a monetary value, including our ecosystem and life itself. When the monetary system was invented as we know it today we forgot to put a value on nature because at the time nature – air, water, soil, plants, forests and other natural resources …