This past Sunday 400,000 people marched through Manhattan demanding that international leaders take substantial action on climate change, instead of the floppy, anemic measures that have amounted to little more than talk. 2013 saw the highest emissions ever. 2014 was the hottest summer globally ever. Clearly nowhere near enough is being done. Now the public has made it clear that they are ready to do the walking, and will walk until our leaders make it a part of their agenda, too.
When I say that the public is ready to “walk” I don’t just mean walk march in the climate march. From where I was standing, it was hard not to feel a humanitarian paradigm shift taking place, as the public shifted from becoming passively concerned about climate change and the environment, to becoming active agents of change. Passive citizens hope someone else will get it done, active citizens get it done themselves.
This was a tide-turning step forward, to be sure, but there is still much room for improvement. Alex mentioned to me her disappointment that so much trash was left behind after the march. Of course this morsel of hypocrisy was devoured by certain media outlets grasping at straws to find anything negative about the march. But they were right on this count (not so much on their continued and embarrassing efforts to deny or diminish climate change!).
Going forward, those who have decided, really decided, to be a part of the solution need to be accountable on every level. This means changing everything from our patterns of consumption—really assessing what it is we actually need and finding sustainable ways of obtaining those things—to getting involved on a political level. It means shaking off dependencies and complacencies. It means working hard, being uncomfortable, being consistently mindful, and investing in the future.
This is something we have to think hard about at na2ure. The challenges we need to undertake as a company that manufactures, transports and sells products are very much like the personal challenges I mentioned above: working hard, being uncomfortable, being consistently mindful, and investing in the future. While we are still in the first stage of our journey as a company and there is still plenty of room for improvement, we already know these challenges pretty well. Manufacturing our board game locally, which sets it at a higher price than your average, China-made game, has required that we work extra hard to prove that it is well worth the investment. It’s uncomfortable to be taking this approach when the majority of companies still produce for less abroad but the environmental and social cost is just too high. We’re counting on the conscious consumers who are reversing the trend that “Europeans buy for legacy, Americans buy for the landfill.”
The mindfulness factor is easier, because it has to do with the little decisions that we make in production, and it’s actually fun for us to figure out smart tweaks of the current system. The challenge of making our production cradle-to-cradle is one that we enjoy. Games made from seed paper? Biomimetic materials? There’s always a smarter way, so why not?
As for investing in the future, that’s the whole ethos of the na2ure line. What potential would it unlock for the world if the next generation of children started out in life with a deep appreciation for and understanding of nature and science? More than ever, we need smart people who know science and biology, who will be able to help us navigate the changing landscape of our planet. The Climate March began with a segment titled “Front Lines of Climate Change,” including indigenous peoples, climate-impacted (climate-damaged) communities, and children. Children are the ones inheriting earth, so we’d best give them the tools they need to live well on and with it!