The first time I got this question it really confused me. I did always get a few bored looks when I went on my ramblings and even some of my friends were a bit confused that in my late twenties and early thirties I was filling my evenings and weekends doing sustainable courses with University after University. But no one had asked me ‘why should we care?’ Until last year. I was at an event about developing businesses in today’s market, the guests were a mixture of business owners and young entrepreneurs. I was chatting away, probably reeling off random sustainably focused facts about women’s empowerment in the supply chain, when a guy in a suit says. “but why should I care?’ He went on to say that his business is doing well and his only concern is his bottom line, he’ll be dead before anything terrible in the world happens. People around him actually nodded along with him, clearly not wanting to question me on their own but now they had someone else questioning they too didn’t really know why they should care. His business was a factory in Africa, 70% of his labour force was women, his main raw material was cotton and his customer was a fast-growing high-street retailer. The interesting thing about this case which I did draw his attention to was that his business solely relayed on the environment and people, especially women.
“his business solely relayed on the environment and people, especially women. “
Women in Africa in employment are in great risk of exploitation due to very low wages and lack of freedom and basic rights. However, that aside, business only, factories are only as good as their production line. Their workers quality of work and in fast fashion cases, their speed is key to peeps in suits getting their paycheques. Any production line is at risk when workers are sick or don’t come to work, it has a ripple effect on the production output and can massively affect the delivery dates, if these deliveries are late, the factories are fined from retailers. So, if this business man isn’t treating his workers correctly, this will inevitably heighten the risk of sickness outbreak and therefor empty seats, this then impacts his output and his income will reflect that. So even if you claim not to give a crap, its good business to care.
For the rest of us that do have a conscious which I do like to believe is most of us, and I’m sure the ones reading this do. Caring, is the main ingredient we need to actually make change.
One of my favourite pieces of writing is by E.O. Wilson,
“We, Homo sapiens, have arrived and marked our territory well. Winners of the Darwinian Lottery, bulged-headed paragons of organic evolution, industrious bipedal apes with opposable thumbs, we are chipping away the ivorybills and other miracles around us. As habitats shrink, species decline wholesale in range and abundance. They slip down the Red Line ratchet, and the vast majority depart without special notice. Being distracted and self-absorbed, as is in our nature, we have not yet fully understood what we are doing. But future generations, with endless time to reflect, will understand it all, and in painful detail. As awareness grows, so will their sense of loss”
This piece haunts me and inspires me, makes me feel disappointed but also fills me with fight. We have been bullies, to the earth and to our fellow humans.
We need to care, for change to happen.
“As awareness grows, so will their sense of loss”