MAKE SMTHNG Week – the global movement drawing together a colourful, chaotic community of makers, upcyclers, ethical designers and waste free bloggers – has come to an end. So the big question is, what now?
All across the world an amazing array of commemorative days, weeks – even months – exist to celebrate and resonate on key global issues. I’m talking about World Refugee Day, International Womens Day, World Oceans Day, Movember, Mental Health Week, Plastic Free July… The list goes on!
These events are all fantastic at highlighting the plights of the world that most need attention, and – judging by the season of crazy moustaches tackling uncomfortable conversations on men’s health- are often critical in initiating drastic changes in cultural perceptions. Given the power of people, these singular events have the potential to set a movement on course, cause great shifts in mindsets and inspire a social awakening.
And this is what we need.
Because drawing focus to a problem for a single day (or week, or month) is simply not enough. Homelessness, cancer, climate change, plastic pollution does not take a day off, and therefore neither should we.
If we look at the statistics on global refugees, the number of people forced to flee conflict zones, persecution and human rights violations is estimated to be 65.3 million. While World Refugee Day (20th of June) is a key moment to show solidarity to refugees, on any other day we cannot be apathetic towards the gross number of people struggling to navigate political and social stigmas in their pursuit for safety.
Similarly, the plastic free trend cannot be confined to July alone. NASA’s analysis of garbage patches captures the harsh realities of overconsumption and environmental destruction, showing how the 8 million tonnes of plastic in the ocean converge into enormous garbage islands, devastating marine life.
The solution? Care enough to change the way you think, act and participate for good. Not to radically deconstruct your life but to make thoughtful adjustments to better the world we live in. Something as seemingly small as taking your re-usable coffee cup helps reduce the 3 billion disposable coffee cups Australians throw into landfill each year. And as you do this, you are joining a widespread network of like-minded people cheering you on.
So whether it is fighting against plastics, over-consumption or fighting for people with no voice (or an amalgamation of them all!) pick your battle and fight it fiercely. You have power and you have autonomy. We are gifted to live in a country where we can share our values and our voices to create change, be that tackling the wasteful nature of fast fashion, recklessly growing moustaches to facilitate on-going conversations around health stigmas or by pressuring our government to aid refugees on Manus Island.
The very premise of MAKE SMTHNG Week was to challenge the way we think about production and inspire a continual, growing movement of mindfulness and minimalism. In the spirit of keeping the ball rolling, and the movement growing, we’ve put together a free Green Christmas Guide to help inspire new ways to think about giving and celebrating, this season and the next. Enjoy your holidays – and every day after! – in ways that are mindful to our people and our planet.