a more mindful world, a less throwaway culture
We believe in a way of living that is thoughtful, rooted in kindness and gratefulness. We believe that the practice of mindfulness is at the core of both sustainability and happiness. So we set out to explore how we can create a more mindful world, where each element, figurative and abstract, is worth caring for. In practice, this results in a less throwaway culture, in which people share more resources and spend more time focused on having meaningful experiences in our beautiful planet.
What's currently happening?
We are living in a doomed fossil fueled society.
Excuse the dramatic start, but it's true. Over millions of years, the ecosystems on Earth have developed based on the water cycles that traverse the planet. For the first time, a species has disrupted those water cycles: it is not just that sea-levels are on the rise; it is that each time the planet warms by one degree, the atmosphere sucks 7% more precipitation from the ground. This results in more concentrated precipitation, more violent water events and more droughts. Climate change is changing our water cycles at an exponential curve, meaning that the freak weather events observed in the past few years will continue to increase in gravity and occurrence. Our ecosystems are unable to adapt to the change in temperatures and water cycles at the rate they are occurring, and we are now witnessing the 6th Mass Extinction Event on Earth. It's impossible to say at this point if the human race will survive it.
Part I of how we got here was by dramatically changing the face of the planet. In the pursuit of improved living conditions and technological advancements, we inadvertently messed up. The entire industrial revolution that we've gone through is dependent on us digging up the burial grounds of the carboniferous era to remove the resulting carbon deposits. We have in fact been so fascinated with these carbon deposits, that we've created for ourselves a way of living completely dependent on what lies there. If you think that fossil fuels are simply used as a source of power, think again. Our building materials, transportation, clothing, cosmetics... all made out of fossil fuel. Even our food industry is reliant on it, as fertilizers and pesticides are fossil fuels. We then package our food in fossil fuel products. And when we fall ill, we rely on pharmaceutical products made with this stuff too.
Part II pertains our misguided views of what a good life looks like. In the last century, an image of what it means to be successful has been created for us, and we consumed it. From where we lived to where we vacationed, from the way we bought to the way we ate: we forgot to ask questions and gave in to the mentality that 'the more (and more expensive) the merrier'. At the expense of the planet, we've made the built environment the number one cause of global warming emissions, with the meat industry in second place, and transportation in third.
We need a new economic vision for the world, one that is compelling and achievable in a short time frame.
Economist and author Jeremy Rifkin explores in his book "The Third Industrial Revolution" a game-plan to try and save the world as we know it. The first thing you should know is that all the necessary tools and technology advancements are already available to us. Secondly, we have 40 years or less to dramatically change the way we live.
The changes detailed by Mr. Rifkin focus on moving our society through this revolution as quickly as possible, by furthering the reach and use of the Internet of Things, to improve efficiency in the key areas of Communication, Energy and Transportation, therefore improving productivity. In other words, the adoption of greener technologies with low marginal costs in these 3 areas, when combined with smart analytics, will allow us to use less of the Earth while getting more from it. In short, we'll be doing more with less.
Other changes are necessary though, both in how we address other aspects of our economy and think about life.
Disrupting life as usual
We believe that the happiest people are the most mindful people.
There have been many studies into happiness, and most of them reveal that in order to be happy you need i) to be aware of reality and able to accept it and ii) to have the focus and commitment necessary to build the reality you wish for yourself. So far, so good, right?
We believe that mindful people are more sustainable people.
Wait, what? How's that? - you ask. To be aware of reality is to know what is happening in and around you. The practice of mindfulness goes far beyond traditional meditations, to be mindful is to be open to the world and one with it. When you look at it from that point of view, knowing that our planet is suffering as a direct consequence of our actions as a species, can you be completely at peace? Can you carry on with life as usual?
To be open to the world and aware of it is to be conscious of the ripple caused by each of our actions. Our actions can have positive or negative outcomes, and upon caring about your happiness, you'll develop a natural tendency to lean towards the positive. In the same way you don't want to bring someone down by saying cruel words to them, you don't want to cause the death of innocent animals by failing to dispose of your garbage correctly - you might even avoid creating any garbage at all.
What the practice of mindfulness does is it connects you to your values, so that you no longer experience a disconnect between your actions and beliefs. It might seem complicated at first, but it's really a rather simple way of living. Living mindfully is in fact to live a simpler life: it removes a number of options and clutter from your inner space, and leaves only what really matters. You can think of it as minimalism for the mind - the two are closely related (though by no means do we mean to imply that you have to live with scarce possessions).
a manifesto for change
At Be For Change, we pledge to:
- create for the mindful, kind world that we want to live in
- create using the minimum amount of resources, where possible upcycling materials and, when not possible, using recycled alternatives
- be mindful of the health of our planet and bodies in our choice of products, materials and client projects
- be mindful of the environmental impact of packaging and transportation, reducing these when possible and otherwise seeking the most environmentally friendly alternatives available to us
- remain plastic free
- support other creatives and companies with sustainability at the forefront of their work
- support the individuals and non-profits who are committed to creating a better, brighter and fairer future - both through ethical design and by spreading the messages relevant to our shared causes
- always work with makers who are being paid fairly for their work or companies who are ethical employers paying a fair wage to their employees
- create the minimal amount possible of waste, re-using, recycling or rotting our own waste when possible