How to change the world, a nomad’s guide
Call it a fluke of youth, but why do people want to change the world? And how can we change the world as nomads? Kind of a stretch but if you’re reading this you most likely have the intent on trying. So let’s see what we can do.
As with any disease, we must first Identify the symptoms, and then make a diagnosis.
Is the world ending?
Welcome to the Anthropocene, the newest epoche in our worlds existence. Unlike the wonderful times of the Jurassic or Cretaceous periods where dinos roamed, this one is distinctly marked by us, or our impact on the Earth. How do we know that we are impacting the earth? With Science, that wonderful class you used to sleep in.
According to the Antropocene Review, “human activity, predominantly the global economic system, is now the prime driver of change in the Earth System — the sum of our planet’s interacting physical, chemical, biological and human processes.”
They draw this conclusion based on a set of 24 global indicators, or a “planetary dashboard” that maps human activity from the start of the industrial revolution. Generally, they monitor greenhouse gas levels, ocean acidification, deforestation and biodiversity deterioration. Looking at the data, let’s just say things could be better.
Source: Anthropocene Review, 2015.
Can we save the world?
At this point, it should be made clear, that the planet will survive the epidemic that is the human plague. The better question is, can we survive our own existence here? Can we change the world for the better? And how many species will be victim to our existence? As we’ve seen in the past, international agreements and efforts can do good, and curb our impact.
Commercial whaling during the last century decimated most of the world’s whale populations. Estimates suggest that between 1925, when the first whaling factory ship was introduced, and 1975, more than 1.5 million whales were killed in total.
However, After repeated requests from the world community, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) agreed to a moratorium on commercial whaling that came into effect in 1986. Since then we’ve seen multiple species recover to healthy populations, AND a new, thriving whale watching industry that further drives admiration of these gentle giants.
Lesson learned? Over all, hunting and exploitation of wild animals has been on a steady decline, as more non for profits and public interest shifts towards preservation. This doesn’t excuse the atrocities of factory farming, but we’ll get there later.
How can I change the world?
We must become the change we want to see, said Ghandi long ago. But instead of using quotes to motivate us, I suggest the power of awareness and new habits. What do you think your carbon footprint is right now? You can use this Carbon Footprint Calculator to find out for sure. Chances are, it’s not so hot.
The main industries responsible for climate change are fossil fuels, industrial farming, and fast fashion. Sorry influencers, promoting brands and consumerism isn’t helping.
Now the little anarchist in me is more into brand shaming and public awareness. Honestly I’d love to collect a ton of plastic waste and ship to the headquarters of it’s manufacture. You, my solo reader, can take more practical approaches.
1. Live in a Soft City
What is a Soft City? The easiest way to think about it is to consider the idea of the boundaries that you feel as you move about the city, and how they can start to come down. In his book Soft City David Sim says “For decades, so much urban planning has been focused on devising ways to reorganize human activity into distinct silos, to separate people and things, and, by doing so, reduce the risk of conflict,” Sim writes. “I would like, instead, to focus on how potentially conflicting aspects of everyday existence can be brought together and connected to deliver quality of life.”
I would push it one step further and look for those cities introducing biodiversity in our urban future. Some places doing it right are Milan, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and even some Chinese cities. Though the bare a lot of the responsibility for pollution, the Chinese are at least looking to curb it.
2. Reduce your meat and dairy consumption
I realize this is asking a lot …but this doesn’t have to be an all or none game. The world doesn’t need a few people living a perfectly carbon negative life, but billions living a carbon modest life.
Now for meat, you really don’t need as much as you think. In fact, meat is the single most effective way to reduce your impact on the earth. new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.
The new analysis shows that while meat and dairy provide just 18% of calories and 37% of protein, it uses the vast majority – 83% – of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. Other recent research shows 86% of all land mammals are now livestock or humans. The scientists also found that even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing.
I can get into the painfully obvious health benefits of eating less meat and dairy, but I think you already know this. Make better decisions, your colon and the earth will thank you.
3. Stop buying cars, clothes, and things you don’t need from Amazon
Chances are, you my lovely reader are most likely from a developed western nation, and consumerism is an ingrained piece of your culture. Don’t worry, we can break these habits. If you really have an addiction to Amazon or online shopping (yes this is a real thing) then I suggest using the “if this, then that” technique in forming a new habit.
For example, IF I feel the urge to open Amazon THEN I will read 2 pages of my book on self development. Each time I create and nurture this reaction, I’m creating a new neuron highways in my head that links my behavior to a new action that is beneficial, not detrimental to my mental health.
As a nomad, we aren’t subject to this as much as we were back when we were living a stationary life. This lifestyle is more about minimalism. According to the Minimalist guys, “to be a minimalist you must live with less than 100 things, you can’t own a car or a home or a television, you can’t have a career, you must live in exotic hard-to-pronounce places all over the world, you must start a blog, you can’t have children, and you must be a young white male from a privileged background.”
They’re joking….lol…. But make a good point, the above restrictions are usually excuses for people to dismiss the minimalist lifestyle as being too difficult or just a fad. If you really want to live a life with less restrictions and liabilities, then this is something you should really look into.
“Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”The Minimalists
At that, now it’s on you. We live in a world with more than enough data and information to be aware of our impact. You have the knowledge to effectively change the world, but are you wise enough actually practice it?