Week 3

This week I was introduced to David Suzuki, an environmental activist. He highlights the need for a perspective change to our relationship with the environment. This notion is also highlighted in the Earth Charter and adds to the question about the importance of science education in primary school that was raised in lecture 1.

“The way we see the world shapes the way we treat it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the veins of the lands, not potential irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are our biological kin, no resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity – then we will treat each one with greater respect. That is the challenge, to look at the word from a different perspective”

David Suzuki greatly stresses the importance of caring for others, both intimate and distant, care for other species and care for the physical environment. Demonstrating that only once we see the world and all its inhabitants with this unique beauty will we be able to enact mass change to a sustainable future.

Often when doing the readings and exploring some of the concepts for this unit it can become a bit depressing, facing the ingrained exploitation humanity commits on the earth and all its inhabitants. That’s why the video by Paul Hawkin was very uplifting in seeing that there are people all over the world that are going about enacting change in our care of the environment. Presenting the environmental movement as widespread and diverse and non-ideological. It proved to me that although humanity has a lot to improve we can incite change. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkz2OjMOg88

The reading this week was the video “The Story of Stuff” which explores the process of creating goods that work though a system of extraction to production to distribution to consumption to disposal, collectively known as the materials economy. It emphasised that this process is a linear system but we have finite resources and thus this process cannot go on forever. I think what really stuck with me was the mass exploitation of the third world that is essential to the system. That we are not meeting the forth centre of care, care for distant others.

From this I became interested in the notion of ethics in the fashion industry and how the clothes I buy have an effect on the environment and other humans. I watched a documentary called “The True Cost” by Andrew Morgan which explores the links between consumer pressure for low-cost fashion and the use of sweatshop workers. I learned that in the 1960s America was making 95% of their clothes but today only make 3%, with the 97% outsourced to developing countries. Essentially the fashion we have is at such a low price as the production is outsourced to low cost economies, where the workers get low wages. Meaning that most of the clothes on the market that we have access to comes at the cost of quality of human life of those in developing countries. It just served to highlight how removed we are from the process and don’t think of the effects our consumer choices have. Yet also tracked some fair trade fashion companies that follow the triple bottom line business model.   https://www.netflix.com/watch/80045667

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