During this era of climate change awakening and a realization of what is going on in terms of climate change and environmental destruction around the world, it would be very non-kaizen not to individually contribute to increasingly much sustainable economic development. Kaizen is Japanese, and can be recognized as one of the basic ingredients for the success of Japanese products on the world market. Not only the term, kaizen is actually a life and business philosophy of continued improvement, personal development, and efficiency.
Implementing kaizen into one’s personal life, and business, is simple. Since radical change is often challenging for anyone, methodologies such as kaizen can be implemented as a part of both personal life values and core business values. Leading an increasingly much sustainable life both in business and privately does not mean that we have to give up on everything or drastically change our consumption habits. We can, however, contribute by reconsidering our consumption and through changing some habits. For many businesses worldwide, sustainability already is a competitive advantage and at the very core of the brand.
Environmentally healthy choices are in fact often better for our health too, such as biking (exercising) more, using public transportation instead of sitting for hours in traffic jams (which is very stressful), eating less red meat, eating less cheese and so on. Many people today go vegan and protest all animal farming. It is up to each one of us to decide how far we are willing to go. Even small changes matter. Instead of eating beef every day, why not just once or twice per week and consider some other options, such as having one vegetarian day per week, or replacing beef with chicken or fish. Letting go of old habits can be extremely difficult, especially if the change is forced upon us or if we are unwilling to change.
The bigger the change, the more important it is to take baby steps and not to force yourself or other people to change. Guilt-tripping only makes things worse.
Nevertheless, considering the fact that the vast majority of world population cannot even afford buying meat, it may be helpful in understanding that to many people, meat is in general a luxury product that they cannot afford. And while overweight has become a larger problem worldwide than hunger and malnutrition, millions of people in this world actually go hungry every day and do not get all the essential nutrients such as proteins and different vitamins.
Except for Europe and North America, the whole world has been eating insects as a part of culture. Not until recent years have insects made their way to European tables, supermarkets, and restaurants too. Food is one of the biggest single anthropogenic factors worldwide contributing to an increase in CO2 and methane levels.
Some people and sources claim that it is too late to plant trees and vegetation to stop human-caused climate change and to prevent CO2 levels in the atmosphere from increasing.
Now, more than ever, do we need to plant more gardens, more trees and more vegetation to save this planet from toxicity. Trees and plants play a significant role in the environment, absorbing large amounts of CO2, helping the environment to stay cooler than it would without any greenery or trees, and helping the environment to prevent for instance erosion.
In his book “*Puukirja: puut osaratkaisuna maailman nälän ja ilmastonmuutoksen ongelmiin” (1997, Ympäristö ja kehitys), Finnish author Risto Isomäki writes about the importance of various trees not only as a source of protection for our Earth, but also as a source of food and nutrition to population all over the world. [Note:*”The Book of Trees: trees as a part of the solution to world hunger and the problems caused by climate change” (1997, Coalition for Environment & Development). The original text is in Finnish, and I have not found an English translation of this book].
In terms of climate change and sea levels rising, the numbers for sea levels rising are announced very moderately and optimistically by mainstream media, meteorological institutions and research institutions perhaps since it is a) unsure how much sea levels will actually rise, if global average temperatures rise by more than an optimistically calculated three degrees Celsius (six degrees Celsius in certain regions on this planet can be more realistic unless global warming is stopped); b) the media or any scientific institutions do not want to cause panic which is understandable although the purpose and goal of quality journalism is to produce reliable information and stick to realism rather than to paint overly optimistic pictures to an audience wearing rose-colored glasses.
Rising sea levels are a threat to hundreds of millions, or even billions of people worldwide. A vast majority of the human population live in densely inhabited coastal areas, and coastal cities around the world are already preparing for rising sea levels. One of the main problems is that no one knows for sure how much sea levels will rise, and how fast it will take place. Due to a number of scientific factors, sea levels may rise in different proportions in various locations around the world.
The consequences of human-caused climate change are real and felt all around the world, in all industries and by every human being and animal.
For instance in Finland much of specific crop was lost due to excess rainfall in 2017. A year later, in 2018, up to 40% of all crops was lost due to drought. Similar problems are being reported from many geographical regions worldwide. I saw with my own eyes how the environment suffered from drought just within a few weeks of time. Dead plants, trees and vegetation in forests and everywhere in nature. This is something you cannot see if you never or rarely spend time in nature, but the difference was huge e.g. in comparison between 2017 and 2018. To understand the effects of human-caused climate change and destruction does not require much more than common sense, but it is of course helpful to be interested in what is happening to our environment.
If climate change is already endangering food security and food availability, imagine what will await us within a few years from now, if this development continues. The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) emphasizes in its updated strategy from 2017: We have a window of opportunity to act in terms of food security, but we must take action now.
Sustainable economic development is in fact no longer simply a choice, but a necessity, around the world. The sooner this is realized and concrete actions are being taken by ALL citizens, all governments, and all businesses worldwide, the better will we be able to cope with what this world will turn into in the upcoming decades. Although some people think it is too late to do anything, there is always hope and we can always do our best in terms of contributing to sustainable economic development on this only home planet that we have.
Anne-Maria Yritys 11.2.2019
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