Winston Churchill said once, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” If we do not reset our lives and life patterns now, we are going to miss the one global reset button our times have offer us.
In these drastic times, there are important life lessons to be quickly learnt and applied to our lives in the ‘post-whatever-we-wanna-call it‘ world.
Being indoors and introspecting, I have come up with three pathways of change I am going to explore
Buy and consume only what is needed
As someone aligned to minimalism, this I thought should be my starting point. Here is how I plan to go about doing just that.
I am going to analyze what I consume, where it comes from and what damage it does to our ecology. In the past few weeks of lockdown, most global ecommerce giants have hit a pause button. Miraculously, I have survived without ordering random stuff with same day delivery option. I have also NOT spent that money and hopefully that will come in handy on a rainy day. I also survived with limited withdrawal symptoms as I was unable to scroll down merchandise listing on these ecommerce apps. Wow, I made it this far.
If I am still craving for everything to go back how it was before, I need to rethink.
I need to ask myself, what will it take for me to open my eyes and mind to the fact that I have been programmed to want more, buy more and ruin more.
Convenience has a huge price tag that I confess I often ignore. The GLOBAL MARKETING message that we all need everything and we need it immediately is leaving behind a world that will be hard to repair.
A high-end electric trimmer or that cool Bluetooth speaker that needs to travel via air cargo from a warehouse in Haryana to Bangalore overnight leaves hundreds and thousands of kilograms of carbon into the atmosphere. Then the plastic product packaging clogging up our drainage system is another challenge and of course the fact that it may take a couple of hundred years to decompose.
I am going to keep my gadgets for longer, not buy every darn upgrade that comes into the market. Importantly, shopping will not be the void filler of my life. It will be my experiences and relationships – with self and those that matter.
Support local businesses
The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed.Mahatama Gandhi
If this crisis has made one thing abundantly clear is the power of the local community, as the large global supply chains lie broken and the ‘big ecommerce boys’ making calculated retreat, the ‘little grocery guy’ in my neighborhood is servicing me while putting his lives at risk. The time to thank him and many others will come and that will be when things open up and I prefer to engage with local businesses and increase their share of my wallet.
Let us understand what does global supply chain with global behemoths do to our world? It creates integrated and co-dependent systems across the world. A high-risk ecosystem wherein the dominos once they start falling are difficult to stop at a global level. A shock wave from China is felt all the way across the Pacific and back through the Atlantic. More importantly, these global economic systems create a world of unequals, with disproportionate wealth distribution.
The game is rigged. The rich continue to get richer and the poor continue to devolve into poverty. There is enough credible information online to make this abundantly clear through theory and global data.
In simple words, when we transact with or through global giants, we are more likely to fund the fifth Ferrari or the sixth luxury Yacht or even a private island for a limited few big bosses of these corporations.
But if we chose to change our transaction mix and start including the local and native businesses then we are more likely to fund a child’s education, someone’s basic healthcare or simply help someone come out of poverty. Our world needs less of the charity from those who have billions to spare but true wealth redistribution through a sustained and relentless wave of distributed local and small entrepreneurship initiatives. It can happen. It will take time and it will take you and me to play our part.
Give Travel a long and hard thought
I must confess, this one is going to be the most difficult.
Somehow world travel has caught the imagination of my generation and the next one. Little did I realized what my benign and innocent travel did to the world.
- Firstly, there is the carbon footprint. Unless I am planning to go Greta Thunberg with my travel plans.
- Secondly, what travel propagates is swift eradication of local cultural nuances including cuisine, costumes and general way of life.
The fact that I can walk into a restaurant in Ooty and order Shahi Paneer or Cheese Pizza (at least before I turned Vegan almost a year back) without giving it much thought is less to be celebrated about globalization and urbanization but more to be mourned about the death of the local cultural vibrancy. It may be impossible now to hunt down a food joint that serves the local Toda or Badaga cuisine in Ooty — both these are the indigenous inhabitants of the beautiful hills. I find sustainable tourism to be an oxymoron.
- I am pledging to buy only what I need and try to source it locally through small businesses to the extent it is practical. I believe it is going to be a start. With me, my family and a few of my friends I can influence. You can make a small difference too. Your choice is important, so choose wisely.
- I do not know where and how I will deal with the travel conundrum but I will find my peace and place. I do promise whatever I decide it will progressively make the world better. I will do my part.
Live long and prosper!