When it comes to our human impact on the environment I've always felt pretty helpless. I try to do my part by being conscious of my choices like using my KeepCup when I get a takeaway coffee (if I don't have it on me and I can't have the coffee in-house it usually deters me from getting one or if I do then I'm filled with guilt using a takeaway cup); using mesh bags for my fruit and veg when I go shopping; recycling; walking/cycling/public transport whenever I can; and making sustainable purchases (items that are high quality, long term use, ethical for both people and the environment). I know there's a lot more that I can do, and I constantly admire friends who have their own solutions to reducing their impact on the environment. The drive to do better is lost because a lot of the time I feel like we're already too far gone and people are too set in their ways to reverse the damage being done to the earth and its atmosphere.
I thought about this a lot when doing an illustration series last year called "Nature is greater than Human" where I explored our relationship journey with nature. Even though humans think we're all powerful and can control our environment as we please, nature will always be greater and more powerful than us. By working together we can bring back the deeper connection between humans and nature once again - a connection where we are conscious of every decision we make and how it impacts the world we live in.
A couple of weeks ago I watched an advance screening of a brilliant Australian documentary by Damon Gameau called 2040. This film restored my faith in what is possible for the future of the world and what I can do to help.
2040: The Film
2040 shows Damon dreaming up a world in which his now 4 year old daughter could be living in in 2040, if we implemented and supported existing solutions that would reduce our environmental impact. If we embrace these solutions and implement them on a large scale, then over time, these solutions can drastically change the future wellbeing of our planet.
One solution that fascinated me was the seaweed farms. These farms can help regenerate the ocean while also pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The seaweed grows half a metre a day (wouldn’t that make a cool time-lapse?!) so can easily be set up and also harvested as a resource for food, biofuel, fibre and livestock feed. This is something that I really appreciated about the solutions presented in 2040 - they can make a difference to so many different areas - not just global warming.
Another favourite solution was one that improved the soil on farms which would impact a host of environmental issues. At the moment, a common practice is to chemically spray crops at the end of a season to prepare the soil for the next season. One family found that through this method they were actually destroying the soil. Healthy soil always have worms galore, but their soil had none. The chemical spray was killing the soil and all the nutrients in it. Not only that - the soil was also very hard and compact which meant that when it rained the water would just run off over it instead of absorbing into the earth.
An Australian farmer had developed a solution to replace chemical use. At the end of a season, he would instead plant a variety of grains and seeds such as sunflowers, sorghum and millet. He would then let livestock roam free on the plots where they would eat the grains and turn the soil which helped refuel it. A family who had been using the chemical method tried this new solution - and after just three months it had completely restructured the quality of the soil (including a return of the worms!). Seeing the difference that one simple change can make in such a short period of time really opens your eyes to possibility. This particular solution affected a whole chain of elements - the farmer’s livelihood, the quality of the produce grown and so the quality of the food we eat, the impact on the environment and providing a place for livestock to roam free and eat quality grain.
At the screening, Damon mentioned that “We need to use our imaginations again and dream of the future we want to live in. Instead of retreating, building barriers and trying to protect ourselves, we need to go about creating and opening up to new possibilities that we have dreamt up." I completely agree. Love over fear.
2040: My Thoughts
2040 is a beautifully made film about creative solutions that can change our future and the wellbeing of this planet we call home. It is well researched and there was many years of interviews and exploration that lead to the final documentary. I love that all the solutions are based on reality and concepts that are actually already being implemented on a small scale. Most of the solutions covered in the film are unique and I hadn’t personally heard of them before but they make so much sense. With support, funding and awareness we have it in our power to help bring these solutions to the mainstream.
I also really appreciate the additional resources provided alongside the film at whatsyour2040.com The website gives you actionable steps that you can immediately implement depending on where you live and how much time and money you have to contribute. It gave me some actions that I hadn't thought of or known about that I could implement straight away. I think that being more aware of the nature that surrounds us in everyday life, recognising what things are made of and the power of our choices - makes a movement like this help us live more intentional lives.
Making choices with future humans in mind
We don't inhabit this planet forever and it’s our responsibility to keep it strong for future humans.
Right now I have a little human growing in my belly and I wonder what kind of world he will grow up in and what kinds of challenges he will face. Thinking about this really puts life and my choices into perspective and make me want to strive to be more intentional about my everyday choices and actions - considering what is actually necessary and makes a valuable contribution to the world. When you start something new - it's always awkward to begin with and you have to get into a rhythm to find what works for you. But it doesn't take long before it becomes a natural habits where you don't even have to think about it anymore.
Be willing to put up with the awkwardness for a little while to create a more beautiful and flourishing world in the long run.
I'm going to see 2040 again when it's officialy released 23rd May 2019 in cinemas around Australia. If you want to join me at a Brisbane screening let me know! And for anyone outside Australia, you can visit whatisyour2040.com to stay in the loop on when it will come to a screen near you.
Let’s open up to possibilities for our world and use our imaginations to dream of the future we want to live in. What's your 2040 dream?