Generally, I like to think of myself as a conscientious person, I do what I can to preserve the environment, I try to make decisions that minimize my impact on the planet and live in an environmentally sustainable way.
The truth is, it just seems that no matter how hard I try, in all likeliness, I still have a net negative impact on the world around me. The resources needed to sustain a modern human in this day and age is staggering. When you multiply that number by 7 billion people, it is easy to see how humanity is rapidly over-consuming the limited resources we have on this very finite planet we live on. Some of these resources are renewable, others, by all intensive purposes have taken millions of years to develop into the state they are in, and simply cannot be replenished on a reasonable timescale. The latest estimates I’ve seen is that humans are consuming 50% more resources each year than the planet can produce. Even if the planet has taken millions of years to generate these resources, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this pattern is unsustainable and will rapidly deplete our planet.
So what can we do as individuals?
We can recycle, we can eat less meat, we can walk/bike to work, we can opt to fly less, we can shop at thrift stores more often and donate any goods we are not using. All of that is great, and we absolutely should do all of the above as responsible human beings, but is it enough?
I feel like as a society, we need to move past the net zero impact and actually move towards reversing some of the trends we have established over the past 150 years of humanity. If population is to continue growing, and consumption does not diminish, humanity is in for a rather rude awakening in the very near future.
There is a feeling I think a lot of us have in that we want to make a positive impact on the world but don’t really know where to start. Another feeling I have often, it feels like anything I can do will just be a drop in the ocean and will have such a small impact on the world, why even try? I often reason to myself, that the best way for me to make a change is to make a substantial amount of money and then donate to organizations that can make a difference. But what if I don’t make substantial money, or I end up needing that money to live off of? I also reason to myself that even if I made it my life mission, it would make such a small impact, it would hardly be worth it.
What can we do to make a substantial difference? I think the biggest impact we can have is in educating others. We need a drastic shift in social consciousness, and we need people to put the pressure on politicians to enact lasting policy changes at the industry level if we are to see meaningful change.
How can I do that? Well, for me, I use the skills that I have, and that happens to be video production and AR/VR development. Creating an app that can raise awareness or educate people, has the ability to alter multiple people’s perception, even by a minute amount. A few examples of projects that have made a measurable positive impact on the world include ‘Clouds of Sitra’ which was shown to members of the UN and brought several to tears, and that empathy brought on significant policy changes for the good of the world. Other examples include ‘Tree’ a narrative VR piece where you experience the life cycle of a tree, and empathize with your surroundings as you see the world evolve around you. Another one of note is ‘Across the Line’ where you experience what young women go through as they enter a Planned Parenthood facility. These are not the only pieces, and there are many others I could mention here. The point is that these are all examples of pieces that have brought viewers empathy and education, and that is a powerful combo in this world of consumerism and socially vacant g