Green Living: 10 reasons to be hopeful

I'm posting my end of the year message today instead of tomorrow, because we all know reading this will be the last thing on your mind. It might still be the last thing on your mind... but I'm going to give it a shot! It's been five months since I started writing for Justmeans and I am overwhelmed by the response, discussions, comments, tweets and support I've received. So thank you!

I like the end of the year for several reasons - it gives time to reflect, recollect and resolve (the 3Rs again!). It is also a time to replenish ourselves with new energy, faith and hope. When you work in the a field where the odds are stacked up high against what you do, there might be little reason to hope but hope springs eternal and here are the reasons why:

1) More and more businesses are taking note of sustainability issues and incorporating these principles into their activities. Supply chains are becoming more transparent even with multi-national brands.
2) Small green-start ups are pushing the envelope in terms of technology and innovation forcing the big guys to get their act together. Patagonia pushing Wal-Mart to clean up its supply chain is a good example.
3) Most people are aware of the fact that there is something terribly wrong with our planet and something must be done. They are changing their life-styles, getting involved in their community, asking their government to make positive choices - all excellent signs.
4) Governments are taking notice - India and China are admitting that they can do better with their policies and environmental agendas with China set to surpass the US on their quest for cleaner energy.
5) Survey after consumer survey that has been released states that Americans will pay more for ethical brands in spite of the recession. This comes even after the Congress denied anthropogenic factors contributing towards global warming.
6) Consumer awareness is at an all-time high, not only about planetary health but also of human health and these two are intricately connected. This is so clear when it comes to the way food is produced especially after this year's Salmonella scare.
7) NGOs and businesses are finally finally learning to work together and beginning to realize that they can be on the same side.
8) Everyone is talking about it! The information out there is incredible, almost to the point of overload.This is great because it hastens the tipping point.
9) Innovation is everywhere. People are reusing, upcycling, recycling in such creative ways - designers, artists etc are pushing the envelope when it comes to materials and methodology.
10) Events like the world-wide 360.org movement has provided us with moments of solidarity that has stood strong even post-Copenhagen, the Cancun conference and the Nagoya biodiversity summit.

Maybe I am being stupidly optimistic but instead of despair and worry I choose to be positive. It helps me do my job better. There are still so many more challenges to face in creating socioecologically sustainable societies but at the end of year, let us give pause and think of the work we have done.

Photo Credit: Akhila Vijayaraghavan ©