2020 has been far from an ideal year, with waves of COVID-19 and the forecast of a massive global economic regression. Yet compared with the prognoses of the scope of the global ecological crisis, 2020 seems tame.
Quarantine with a twist
Despite all the negative aspects, the last months of the COVID-19 imposed quarantine have been surprisingly nurturing.
Back in January, I was forced to step out of the never-ending circle of my hectic life in the bustling metropolis of Shanghai. Hastily catching a plane to escape the horrors of the unknown.
And this is where my confession hits in.
I confess, COVID-19 opened my eyes.
As Warren Buffett would probably say, it gifted me with the most valuable commodity, with time. Time to slow down, reflect on my past and future life choices, decisions, and the impact I can create.
Surprisingly, it led me to the recognition of how much power I have as a customer.
I realized my capacity to change the world. Jointly. With millions of people who have been similarly awakened and eager to lead a more conscious, sustainable lifestyle. Utilizing the time to take action in time to prevent the real horror of the unknown; the unknown scope of the ecological crisis.
Even though it hurts me to realize that we have been
- living in the world of 24/7 consumption,
- tricked into believing that only consumption boosts economic growth,
marketed to accept as truth that the brands we buy determine our self worth,
- fooled into believing the low-quality products are the new black…
I understand there’s a little point in blaming those who tricked us. In the end, it is us who allowed ourselves to be fooled.
To my own astonishment, COVID-19 pushed me from the grey-zone of powerlessness. Instead, I started to clearly see that my choices do matter. My impact will create a difference.
Finding empowerment in the powerlessness
So, I decided to take an active approach and acknowledge the responsibility for my actions. We all share an equal right, the right to choose. And that is, ladies and gentlemen, our power.
I am starting with myself. From now on, I take responsibility for my choices, which brands I support with the money I earn. Purchasing a product does not just represent a cash-flow and fuel for the economy. It represents an active decision about what kind of life I choose to lead, what set of values I decide to support, and what kind of future I invest into.
Especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were given a phenomenal opportunity to rebuild the base stones of our global economy and society. By creating healthy values built on the principles of loving-kindness, mindfulness, and solidarity.
Blindfolded by the unequal individualism
Now is the perfect opportunity to swap consumerism for sustainability, quantity for quality, fast- for slow fashion.
We strive to be perceived as individuals whose lives matter. I agree. But we all are individuals. Let’s strive to see the individuals behind the clothes we wear, the electronics we use, the cars we drive. Let’s make their quality of life matter, too.
But can we change the world?
You can call me a naïve dreamer, but I believe we can rebuild the world to be a better place. We need action to achieve that.
Taking action can be overwhelming, as following the sustainable-life gurus on social media can be pretty intimidating. They seem so unreachable, with their perfect vegan, waste-free lives. Let us remind ourselves they began just like us, individuals awakening from the consumption-suffocated living.
Let’s just start where we can, at our own pace. Small things count.
- Making conscious slow-fashion purchases
- Lowering meat consumption
- Taking trains instead of planes
- Being as much plastic-free as possible
- Cooking at home
- Opting for eBooks, books swaps
- Supporting smaller, fair-trade, ethical, local brands…
I am grateful for the COVID-19 imposed quarantine for opening my eyes. Back in January, I could escape the pandemic by jumping on a plane. But I cannot escape the horrors of the unknown scope of the global ecological crisis. No planes fly to such a destination.
Wishing you a happy, meaningful, and healthy 2021.
xx, curious being