7% longer

I was listening to a podcast episode of the Ideas at the House talk series. This one in particular was titled How to Save the World. One of the guests was environmentalist Jonathan Drori, whose challenge during the talk was to provide ideas on how to save the world. In the 8 minutes he was given, Jonathan Dori offered his opinion on global systemic changes that could “save the world” such as the education of women in developing countries as means to control population growth, the sustainable financial growth of nations focused on the emotional fulfillment of the population as opposed to a consumption focused fulfillment, among other ideas. One of the concepts he introduced during his talks, and that was completely new to me, was the Tragedy of the Commons, a concept used in social science to describe a resource that nobody owns, is unregulated, but everyone has access to and uses it for their own self-interest. An example would be the ocean or the atmosphere.

As we know, we as a population of the world have exploited the tragedy commons in many ways, making the exploitation of these resources unsustainable. Drori suggests the answer to this problem is ownership and sensible taxation. By giving someone ownership of those resources, the owner would have an incentive to ensure sustainability.  If the resource they own depletes, their business is over. Sensible taxation involves ensuring that the users of resource pay for all of the consequences of its use. I know, sounds controversial, doesn’t it?

Drori, also offered some more practical ways we all can change the world in our every day lives. These four ideas are based on collective efforts, which means if we all do it, we all have the power to transform the status quo:

  1. Reduce our meat consumption. The meat industry a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions. By balancing our diets to incorporate more produce and reduce our meat consumption, we are contributing to lowering gas emissions.
  2. Understand climate change. Those who deny climate change use mass outlets such as social media to spread information that’s not based on scientific consensus. It is our responsibility to ensure media, including social media, is regulated to ensure scientific literacy and stop the spread of incorrect information.
  3. Consume less.  If we make everything we own last 7% longer,  and we add 7% every year, rather than it happening at once,  our society can gradually  migrate towards using less stuff, instead of  doing it all at once, causing unemployment and financial crisis for some industries. For example if you have owned a cell phone for 3 years and you want to get a new one, hold on to it for 2.5 months more. This can be applied to almost everything we own. If we collectively apply the 7% rule, we will collectively consume less, which will result in a more sustainable society.
  4. Everyone should learn gardening and horticulture. Communal gardening has proved to be socially trans-formative by creating a different perception of nature that involves respect for it.

Our experience transforming our home into a zero/low waste household has been gradual. It is unrealistic to live completely zero waste. It’s also unrealistic to migrate to a low waste lifestyle from one day to the next. I understand the practicality we’re used to when it comes to consumption, but it’s gradual steps, such as the 7% concept that will help us create habits in order to achieve to a low waste life.


Tiny Earth Warrior

Instagram: @wastelandiatheblog


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