How to be a gentle activist

COP26 has started in Glasgow. The noise surrounding the event is very loud. You may want to make a difference but feel overwhelmed. Daunted even. But there is a quieter and gentler way if all the noise is too overwhelming.

A baby lay on a changing mat wearing a Baba+Boo nappy

 

I'm not an expert on climate change. I'm not a scientist. Nor am I an economist. But I read a fair bit and like to try to understand ideas and concepts that seem complicated. I'm just a mum who wants to cut through the noise, to see the issues in simple ways, so I can understand how they will affect my children's future and humankind. 

COP26 is the UN climate change conference. COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and the summit will be attended by the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is the 26th meeting, which is why is called COP26. 

This is when people in power will report back on progress since the Paris Agreement, where countries pledged to keep temperature rises below 1.5 degrees. This Ted Talk explains it clearly and simply. 

To avoid a food supply crisis, we have to keep warming temperatures below 1.5 degrees. We have to reduce emissions, we have to change our habits of consuming, we have to eat less meat. We have to cut global emissions to zero fast. The people in power have to create solutions and act on them, not just make pledges.

But the economic system that dominates the world is based on growth. Ever increasing extraction, production and consumption is how we measure a countries wealth. Otherwise known as GDP. Under this economic system, GDP needs to grow 3% year on year. This means doubling the size of the economy every 23 years. And the only way to grow, is to extract, produce and consume.

According to industry research £647 billion will be spent in 2022 on advertising next year. This is advertising telling us, mainly through digital algorithms, that we need to consume more That those things will make your life easier, quicker, simpler.  Whether it be a digital or physical product, adding more stuff to your life can lead to more stress and more anxiety. But it also leads to more GDP, which is the economic global marker for health of a nation. 

To reduce emissions, we cannot continue to use GDP as a marker for health of country. Growth is harming our planet and our mental health. GDP is not measuring our growth as people. Only growth of the economy. And it is speeding up climate change.

Climate change can feel like an abstract concept. Overwhelming even. It's hard to know how to make a difference on something so huge. The majority of the work has to be done by the people in power, by ways of global taxation and giving money to developing countries that are already suffering from the effects of climate change. But there is a way for us to make a change.

By slowing down.

Slowing down is a form of gentle activism. 

Convenience products were invented to make life easier. But only, in my humble opinion, to speed us all up. So we can all work harder. Be 'on the go'. Working harder to pay for the next thing we 'need'. 

But what if we were to slow down. Just a little bit. In short spurts through the day or week. Being more mindful is proven to be beneficial for you and better for the health of our planet. Slowing down means more time to connect with yourself and your family. It means consuming less, needing less convenience products (which are pretty much always single use) and being able to be a more conscious consumer. We hear this from our community all the time - how stuffing nappies gives them a chance to pause and be mindful.

Taking a pause before you buy something new to check whether you need it is a form of activism. Having a day away from social media is a wonderful way to slow down and reconnect with yourself is another way. Add pauses to your day. Take a breath before you walk in a room. Before you pick your phone up.  Walk when you can. 

Climate change anxiety is a real thing and pangs of guilt hit all the time. But know by slowing down, means you are doing something to make a difference.

A big one. And its not too overwhelming.

There is a reason there is a snail on our logo. And a snail label on our nappies. It's there as a reminder to slow down. 

 


2 comments

  • Such a lovely read! Thank you for the explanation Of the snails, I’ll be reminded to slow down and take a breath every nappy change

    Henrietta
  • Love love love this. Life in general often feels too big at the moment and this is so true. We’ve been so inspired by you seeking slow we’ve adopted the phrase. All we know is convince we as a family are trying to slow down and re programme our now brains

    Laura gc

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