Covid-19 is not the only pandemic we should be worrying about.
Historical records show us that the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century was between 2009 and 2010. Followed by the Covid-19 pandemic that we are experiencing first-hand at the moment.
There are no other significant pandemics documented in between these time periods, but maybe that’s because most of us fail to realise that even before Coronavirus took centre-stage in our lives, we were living through a pandemic that originated sometime back in the 1930’s depression era.
Unfortunately, this pandemic was human-made, and designed to profit businesses – yes, I’m talking about the “throw away” lifestyle in which we were encouraged to throw away products that are used once.
By the 1950’s, the “throw away” lifestyle pandemic started spreading like the infamous Australian bushfires of 2019 and 2020 and the promise of the “convenience of single-use disposable items” burned down man’s capability to think of the consequences.
Maybe we missed making a big deal out of it and continue to live under the mushroom cloud of the deadly “throw away” lifestyle virus because it was not fatal to humans – in the short run. You didn’t see people collapsing every time non-biodegradable plastic bottles make their way into our oceans, or mortality rates shooting up every time landfills overflow with consumer waste.
Of course, our planet’s fauna suffers – sea turtles and baby seals choke on the non-biodegradable plastic and wild animals are poisoned in heaps by the toxins released from landfills. But, that’s not really our primary concern, is it?
Why Did We Let This Happen?
We’ve been told that one of the greatest differentiators between men and animals is man’s ability to think analytically and arrive at logical conclusions.
I say it’s man’s greed – greed for more, better, and faster. More resources, better lives, and faster change.
You can sugar-coat human greed and call it an instinct for survival. But, then, animals too have an instinct for survival which is perhaps even more pronounced than ours, but they do not take greedily and needlessly from our planet.
Industrialisation paved the way for businesses to bloom and thrive across the globe. The employment rates got higher, the lifestyles for a chunk of the population improved, and unfortunately, our consumer mindset also started spreading like a global virus.
We wanted more of everything, the best of everything, and we wanted it immediately. So, we built more factories, pumped more lead into our water resources, and toasted to our conquests over the dead bodies of our helpless counterparts on earth – the wild animals and flora that paid the heavy price of our rapid industrialisation that soon became augmented with the help of globalisation.
Extinctions did not matter to us. I mean, why should it? We weren’t going extinct anytime soon. We had so much more to take from Mother Earth.
As the thickness of the Red Data Book increased, so did the padding of our wallets, so we looked the other way. So convenient. And, after all, isn’t life all about convenience?
How Convenient is Too Convenient?
But, how long do you think we can keep going this way?
The planet is already showing the wear and tear of our transgressions. We all know the facts.
The earth is polluted from debris of industrial and consumer waste.
The water is polluted from the toxins we so casually and callously release into the marine habitats.
The air is polluted from the tonnes of carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere.
Our souls are polluted by the blatant disregard we show for any life that isn’t human.
We even have new types of pollution coming up such as light pollution to accommodate the need to name the consequences of our atrocities!
So, What Now?
Now that we know the facts, let us use another quality that supposedly separates men from animals – introspection.
Let us introspect about how we are damaging the planet with our carelessness and our consumer mindset.
And then let’s use what mankind is famous for: finding solutions to our problems. Because, trust me, the world crumbling is definitely our problem too. If not for the sake of the planet, find a sustainable solution for the sake of humankind.
Or, we might as well pen ourselves into the Red Data Book too.
What Can We Do?
There are a lot of things we can do as individuals.
We can switch from plastic to more sustainable alternatives. We can learn to wear the same dress to two different functions (gasp!), and we can try to slowly and systematically eradicate our consumer mindset that has been reinforced into our skulls by the marketing wings of big businesses.
As businesses, we can actually do even more.
A business taking a sustainable approach can actually be a bigger harbinger of change than an individual trying to turn off the water faucets and lights when not in use. I don’t think I need to explain the amount of influence a large business can exert on its business processes, its consumers, and ultimately, the planet we all need to try to protect and serve.
To know more about the same, you can check out this interesting video.
It shows that businesses definitely do need to invest in our planet and that one of the best ways to do so is to invest in paperless digital business processes.
Think about it. The less paper you use, the more trees get to live out their lives in peace.
Our air will be purer. Our wildlife won’t be forced into extinction by needless destruction of habitats. Less of our soil will erode away.
And, maybe, just maybe, our conscience will be a little clearer too…
As always, there are two sides of the coin, but overall, digitalisation seems like a more sustainable alternative to the reckless way we are endangering the planet with conventional ways of growing businesses.