We Can Do Better Than Zero

I applaud the zero footprint initiative. In many ways, it gives people real-life, measurable goals to achieve. I’m heartened by the fact that institutions and municipalities are joining in on the initiative. I wonder though, if it’s a bit short-sighted and even negative in it’s goals. Surely we can do better than “zero”. I think we definitely have to try to have a positive impact on the earth, rather than a “less-negative” one.

Striving for “zero” (and incidently likely never reaching it) simply means that we’re working within existing structures to drain our resources less quickly and poison our earth more slowly. If you read William McDonough & Michael Braungart’s 2002 book “Cradle to Cradle” (mentioned in a previous post), you might see what I’m trying to get at. As a race, we have to take positive action to do more than slow environmental degradation, and more than use more recycled products. We need to create a new way of thinking, living and creating. We need to make our environment better and healthier. To borrow an idea from the book, we need to be eco-effective, not just eco-efficient.

The zero footprint does a great job to measure how lightly we tread, but to be truly effective, it should also measure and promote how we can make the earth better.

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