A fascinating thought occurred to me a couple of weeks back, or perhaps I should say I articulated a thought.
‘The challenge about resolving waste issues in India is that you first need to try to make people aware of the fact that they want to be aware. There are so many intelligent people in this country who can address the waste crisis but if they regularly walk passed piles of garbage and become used to it in the same way as they are used to the sun being there, then how do they become aware of the issue?... They will want to be involved and become more educated and find solutions once they realise that they can make a change- once they take stock of the piles of waste that they are walking next to on a daily basis. The first step and the greatest challenge is making them aware of the need that they want to be aware and that they want to do something to change the current situation.’
So there it is. The challenge as I currently see it. Certainly there are a large number of people already involved in promoting sustainable practices but how can we make it more? If we stick with education, where does the revenue stream come from for a business if people’s willingness to pay is low? If a business sticks with innovation and design of sustainable products, are people buying the products because of those attributes or because of other factors?
I have recently been discussing impact in an article as found in Bare Necessities Impact Report and how it is important to understand and measure these areas. Yet, the challenge is finding a way to broaden your customer base while pursuing your purpose as a business. And making a profit- sustaining yourself- while achieving environmental, social justice areas etc as a business focused on waste reduction, circular economy methodology, sustainability etc. So, how then can we start to make people aware. What tools are required? What can we utilise that is already out there? How do we speak to new people instead of people who are already with the same mindsets as ourselves?
Fortunately, having the capability to write articles like this one, post it on social media and market it across borders, languages and cultures is available. Fortunately, people in other areas such as the technology sector, the internet for example, have paved a pattern that can be used in the waste sector. Those types of sectors have highlighted how growth can be achieved. Certainly it will be different for environmental matters in ways but there are certainly areas that must be similar. Surely? Of course!
Think of the Internet in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s, no one knew that they should be aware of this now regularly used resource, but when they found out about it… well, haven’t we embraced it? Similarly, there are avenues of exploration that can be approached for businesses who are attempting to fulfill environmental purposes. We can use techniques such as promoting to people who are already interested (tech uses of the late 1990’s for the internet boom), make it accessible to people who aren’t already using or aware and are an easy market to approach (kids and students in the early 2000's embraced the internet because it was easily usable), and then expand from there (almost everyone knows about the internet now!).
There are fortunate signs that environmental awareness can, and is progressing. There are roadmaps, which can be utilised and modified to suit a business’s needs. There are toolkits, such as this platform I am using now to speak about this topic. There is a growing audience- surely they’re growing because people are talking! To finish with the parallels between the internet boom and a potential roadmap to raise awareness of environmental issues, there is reason to believe that interest is at hand because it is a worldwide issue that can benefit everyone, without leaving anyone behind. This is to say that the internet also holds those attributes and can now help in assisting to carry messages about waste because of its success.
Perhaps then, the answer to my ponderings and, perhaps to yours too, is that to help make people aware that they want to be aware, all we need is time, a clear message, simplifying processes and a worldwide benefit to what is trying to grow. Sounds like there is a fair amount of hope there to ensure that soon everyone will not only be aware of the need that you, I and they want to be aware, but they will be aware and have the capabilities through platforms on the internet along with other resources, to live more sustainably so that we can transition to a world that works within a circular economy. Sounds like a good idea, right? Let’s utilise it and ensure that this is not just a pipe dream.