"Our systems will shape us until we decide to shape our systems."
Starbucks serves out an estimated 4 billion disposable cups each year. That's a lot of trash. But we love coffee. And the environment. So we complain about Starbucks and wait for them to do something. Meanwhile we continue to leave our collection of reusable coffee tumblers at home.
My friend TheBlessedNaturalist pointed out the other day our dependence on paper towels. Why do we use so many? Because they are there. That's the system. Something gets moist, we reach for the nearby paper, tear off a sheet, wipe and dispose. Damn those paper towel companies. But what if we stopped buying them. Grabbed a dish towel instead. Would the companies adapt their behavior to our system?
Ikea made a bold move a couple of years ago and stopped offering plastic bags. This change in system changed our behavior. We now had to remember our own bags, be forced to hand carry or buy a reusable bag. Should we ban plastic bags? Sure. Support environmental legislation? Obviously. But another way to make them go away is to stop using them.
Economy is about people. About our choices. Let's stop putting our future in the hands of corporations or letter writing activists and take some initiative ourselves. Begin with our friends, neighbors and communities.
If you see a better way, live a better way. Chances are others, and change, will follow.