I sat there with tears streaming down my face...
Because I was seeing such devastation. Because I was feeling such terror. Because humanity has caused this heartbreaking situation.
I was seeing corpses of killer whales, rotting on the shoreline. I was seeing koala bears, frantically trying to run from bushfires. I was seeing anteaters, on a tiny island of forest, surrounded by speeding cars and acres of cleared land. I was watching BBC’s Extinction: The Facts. Have you seen it yet?
The legendary Sir David Attenborough is spending the final years of his life, warning us that we must act now to save our planet. Extinction is now happening 100 times faster than natural evolution. The growth of humanity over the past four decades has wiped out 60% of the world’s wildlife populations, according to the World Wildlife Fund. These statistics are utterly horrifying. How can we have let this happen?
For many of us, our day to day lives are so removed from nature. We buy products in a supermarket, with no real idea of all that happened, for those products to land on the shelf. We eat that hamburger, without realising the vast environmental footprint of meat production. From deforestation to biodiversity loss, to land and water degradation. We put money in banks, investments and pensions, without realising we could inadvertently be funding things like fossil fuels, arms, deforestation and more.
Much of our society is shaped so that we don’t realise these things. So that we don’t see where things come from. So that we think that consumption must endlessly grow – at all costs. But you know what? Once you scratch the surface of the devastation we’re causing our planet, you can’t look away. You can’t ignore it. Because this is the future we’re leaving for our children.
Do we really want to be the generation who ignored our connection to the natural world? Who chose single-use convenience? Who didn’t want to be an “outfit repeater”? I’ve always steered away from writing anything like this. Scared to offend. Scared to frighten people away. Scared to be too much. I’ve been building a sustainable fashion business, carefully crafting messages about all the value we offer our customers…treading ever so softly on the “sustainable” side. For fear of losing people. Because life is busy. And messy. And full. And overwhelming. And how can people possibly fit in caring for our planet, on top of everything else life throws at us? But you know what? It’s too important to stay silent. Maybe we all need to be shocked into action. Maybe we all need to spend an hour in front of this devastating documentary.
It’s damn hard to watch – and as upsetting as you might expect. As David Attenborough says, “what happens next is up to every one of us”. We have to act now – and give nature a chance to bounce back. We must change the way we consume – and move to a greener, circular economy. We must stop deforestation – and use the extensive lands already cleared. We must take climate action – and step away from fossil fuels. We have to inspire our kids to be little eco heroes too. Here’s three of the best ways to do just that.
Build a love of nature through nature play, outdoor activities and time with animals. Role model eco behaviour, starting with small, imperfectly green steps Engage your kids through stories about nature and young changemakers We can either be the generation that secured a future on earth for our children – or the generation that failed to act. The choice is up to all of us.
Words: Sally Giblin, CEO & Co-Founder, Pure Bundle