December 2018: I made a pledge not to read the news anymore. I was paralyzed with fear and loathing. Irreversible climate destruction, a decimated insect population, starvation, excess, poisoning; all hiding behind a heavy veil of grimy politics. The important issues pushed to the sidelines; the main stage hogged by those clinging onto their greedy illusions. Screw everything else.
It was sending me insane. This literally could not be the situation we were occupying. Yet it was/still is. “Time to panic,” said the New York Times recently. Yes, indeed. But panic only sends us into a tailspin; it’s destructive and ultimately solves nothing.
But what to do? Mope miserably around with our heads pointed at the pavement, content with the notion that we don’t deserve to occupy this wondrous earth; that we will never stop raping the resources meant to sustain life; that we will reap the rewards of our hard labor when mother earth tips up her rug and shakes us out?
This worked for a while. But I happen to love living; and I happen to have children and a family whom I also love. Both were being negatively affected. So, a change of plan was needed.
Like many others I speak with, when I asked the question ‘What can I do?’, I didn’t know. Not many people do, it seems. But a revolution is happening; the tipping point is coming, and we can all participate.
My solution was to recognize that while I may not have the power to shift societies, I do have a voice, I do have opinions; and I do have a job, and a kindergarten that my children attend. So I will use these tools to spread my message: at work launching a campaign to change the way we operate internally and how our clients operate externally; and at the kindergarten in the form of a sustainability group involving both parents and children, and which will hopefully spread through the community and beyond. If all of us who want to drive change believe that these are enough – a starting point at any rate – then we could all make a huge difference. OTHeR LIVES is a sideline; an attempt to gather the information I have gleaned over the last eight years working in the areas of solar and sustainability, and in the last 12 months researching the concepts of cradle to cradle and the circular economy, and share it with whoever is interested.
My mission is to create a lifestyle blog that moves beyond zero waste, to embrace a perspective where waste can actually be viewed as positive; where consumption is good; where we can live guilt free.
The cornerstone of this is the cradle to cradle concept, designed by Michael Braungart and William McDonough, which touts the notion of creating products and services that don’t just have a positive economical impact, but that can also provide constructive benefits ecologically, ethically and in terms of equality. It operates on the Hannover Principles, and employs two lifecycles: technical nutrients and biological nutrients.
The idea is not just to take resources from the planet, but to work in symbiosis with our natural resources. Products are not, therefore, just designed for one use, but for ease of being disassembled and reused endlessly, “for all the children of all the species for all time.” There are numerous case studies from big businesses like Nike, C&A and Puma, to small startups, which have very successfully employed these principles. We have a responsibility to do so too.
This blog aims to be a cooking pot of true sustainability, calls to action, advice, interviews, product reviews, beauty and fashion ideas, recipes, lifestyle, and much more.
OTHeR LIVES refers to the other lives that we can personally lead, to the recognition of the other lives of all the species across our home planet, and to the possible other lives our products and services can live.
It’s time to stand up and demand more!
*Side note: I am in the process of setting up a proper website; however being as technically challenged as I am, it is not happening as fast as I would like. Thus I have started with this basic layout until the next stage is ready! Please bear with me!
Image: Berlin globe, Credit: Flickr/ Werner Kunz