Green startups or simple solutions with great impact: how to make a meaningful contribution to a better world?

Yesterday I attended a wonderful event Convergences World Forum that promotes Sustainable Development Goals and the development of a world “Zero Exclusion, Zero Carbon, Zero Poverty.”

Sounds like a great idea towards a more sustainable human impact on the environment, but let’s see how the reality looks like and how can we make it better.

The part of the event, I would like to write about is a Media evening that highlight their commitment to a positive journalism spreading solutions around the world to make the world a better place. Spark News is a fantastic example of such initiative that I actively encourage you to check out. Through their program Solutions&Co they have already influenced Mass Media all around the world to be impact oriented instead of underlying problems and generate fear.

The second part of the evening aimed to show a few examples about circular economy. Let’s take a look on them and see if we can find a better proposal.

 

EcoMégot – solution for butts recycling by setting up special bins, collecting and recycling the butts, educating people throwing them to an appropriate place instead of throwing them on the floor. This project was the most appreciated by present public. Understandable, as we all don’t want to live in a smelly trash can with 12 years degradable butts. But let’s look at it from another angle.

Why create new factories making new products, giving new jobs for a harmful activity we want to eradicate? To create more pollution, make more trash, giving a work nobody wants to do? There are wiser solutions!

Once being in Seoul, I saw school students were cleaning a public park area. One day dedicated to this activity helps to keep places clean, educate people since a very early age, develop personal responsibility. It will have much greater impact on the problem’s source by educating new generation, to terminate causing the problem and providing an example to the current generation as well as to stop littering. There is a much lower chance to give intention to throw garbage in a perfectly clean area than in a dirty one.

Another example is a political decision in Singapore to fine a person who have thrown a butt in a public area.

 

TIPA-CORP – high quality compostable packaging with plastic properties, such as transparency, durability, printability and impermeability.

It is better than plastic of course and will probably be a good impact. But let’s see if there are other solutions who are good to improve the root cause. Here are some:

La recharge is a grocery store that serves a great variety of goods with no any single packaging. You just come with your own and serve yourself.

Supporting local farmers daily markets is another centuries proven great idea. Markets in France or Belgium are fantastically attractive, but working hours are horribly limited (once a week), but those in Russia, for instance, are opened 7 days a week from 7am to 6pm which is an important criteria for convenience of usage. In Taiwan and Thailand there are night markets where, more that just buying local food, you can even eat a vaste variety of prepared meals.

 

Lemontri – recycling machines for drinks packages. It helps to recycle. But for that we need to install complex machines that demand resources to produce and maintain them. Are there more impactful solutions? Install public drinkable water fountains in the city using reusable containers for liquid. Like in Paris fountains and Lemonade kiosks in USSR.

 

Conclusion: Treat sources of a problem more than results of a problem. And be conscious of supporting initiatives that solves the source, not just create “sustainable business” polishing the problem’s consequences and often creating even more damage.

What if instead of promoting and investing in fashionable “green startups”, we would support education, local food production, comfortable public transportation, change the consumer behavior, better use local natural resources, etc.?

Thanks to the Media we can increase incredibly the impact of such simple, but powerful initiatives. Seeing others succeed inspires us and giving example ourselves, we create a global positive change.

Act for greater impact with a simpler solution.

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