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[column] To the rat mode

Earth Overshoot Day fell on July 29 last year and this year – “thanks to” the corona crisis – “only” on August 22. One simple virus and the human being is completely upset and has to make all kinds of impossible turns to survive as a species and Mother Nature wins three weeks to recover. High time that we change our behavior and relate to the earth differently, however difficult that may be.

Marketers at the forefront
Marketers are uniquely capable of seducing people. So they should ideally be at the forefront to find an answer to the question: how do we adjust our behavior to ensure that we do not all go to rat mode? It is important not to approach this issue too grandly and too abstractly, but rather to get it close by and make it concrete. Not only big words, but also concrete activation, in which consumers and entrepreneurs can participate themselves and which strengthen your brand.
For example, look at the plastic problem. The Plastic Soup Foundation reports that of all plastic produced today, 9% is recycled, 40% controlled landfill, 14% controlled incineration, and 32% ends up in the environment (this includes uncontrolled incineration). More than 1.13 trillion packaging was used in the European Union in 2018 and more than 600 million tons of plastic will be produced annually on Earth by 2025. Recycling systems are unable to capture that amount. The only thing that helps: produce and use much less plastic. How do you make that concrete and feasible? Fortunately, there are more and more good examples of this. This summer I saw the Plastic Free Terrace initiative on the beach. Catering entrepreneurs, who work together to single use to combat plastic and thus position itself in a special way in relation to the competition.

World Cleanup Day
Preventing use is of course also the most difficult task and only possible if people really understand the extent of the problem. An initiative that is precisely based on awareness World Cleanup Day. In the Netherlands it is organized by Nederland Schoon and the Plastic Soup Foundation. In its own words it is the largest clean-up action in the world. To be honest, I had never heard of it, but I am immediately enthusiastic about the idea. People in no fewer than 180 countries set to work to clean up clutter. Creating awareness of the magnitude of the plastic problem is important and helps to boost the prevention of the use of plastic. Will you participate next year?

Sources: plasticvrijterras.com, worldcleanupday.nl, plasticsoupfoundation.org.

Earth Overshoot Day is the day on which we collectively have consumed more of nature than the Earth can renew in one year.

Header photo of Miriam Espacio via Unsplash.

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