Global temperature is rising quickly. Deserts are expanding. Polar ice caps and glaciers are melting fast. Record breaking fires burn on every continent except Antarctica. Oceans are rising, acidifying and heating up. Alarmingly, as many as 50% of all species face extinction within the next 35 years. Around the world, coral, bees and birds are dying off. With these extinctions and collapsing populations, the ‘glue’ that binds life is coming unstuck. Humanity’s complete domination and vandalism of all the air, water, land and all other life forms, our ‘success’ as a species, places the human future in imminent danger. While the most dramatic storm-like climate disasters are always newsworthy, it is the relentless, compounding pace of species elimination, melting ice, and record smashing temperature increases that causes so many to rest uneasy.
Why is this happening? Because we burn far more fossil fuel than our atmosphere can tolerate, and daily we make, consume and discard many billions of products made from fossil fuels. Our excessive dependence on fossil fuels, especially petroleum and its many derivatives is poisoning life. Carbon and methane emissions are destabilizing our entire climate. The weight of evidence is so substantial, scientists world-wide repeatedly raise the alarm. They have declared direct human impact on Earth’s environment to be so extensive, we have entered a new epoch, the Anthropocene: humans dismantling Earth’s climate so rapaciously, human extinction, caused by humans, is now a cogent scientific topic.
We repress this awful knowledge of widespread self harming behaviour by avoiding it or denying it; consuming and quickly discarding petroleum based fast fashion; purchasing plasticized clothing and polyurethaned furniture; shopping around the clock; obsessing over mobile devices; worshiping money, power or celebrity; over eating; consuming pharmaceuticals; gambling in casinos and online; fearing the other; buying a house in a gated compound; or a gun. Many don’t bother to vote, but enough voted to outsource politics to self interested egoists who obscure or deny the greatest danger threatening humankind, Climate Breakdown. Regarding our past we suffer amnesia, regarding our future we suffer anxiety. Presently, the subtext of our culture is deep disquiet.
How we have been living and what we have been valuing intensifies the precariousness of our circumstances. As more people come to this realization, what, how, and why we consume, have become consuming questions.
In starting this new venture, I have asked myself hard questions. Can introducing yet another new product into this world really reduce consumption? Can I create a truly better bed for humans? That is also truly better for this planet? Can a major product category found in every home be weaned off its plasticized oil addiction? Can the example of this venture motivate other entrepreneurs and existing businesses to follow suit across many product categories? Can my new venture inspire significant behavioural change in others? Not just changes to their nights, but to their days also? Does this sound too grand? After much reflection, I don’t think so. I have the tools; my knowledge of natural materials, my marketing arts of persuasion, my ecological convictions, my allies. Anthropologist Margaret Mead nailed it, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”.
Author’s Note: All facts and information referenced in the Why Now? series, including facts and information about chemicals and their impacts on human health and environment, have been drawn from previously published sources in the European Union, United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and India. Sources include national and state government documents, government funded agencies, national and international corporations, peer reviewed research from universities, the industrial safety industry, material data safety sheets, worker’s compensation board records, articles published in major newspapers, articles published by national and international news reporting services, published authors respected in their fields, and reports and studies published by reputable nonprofits and environmental organizations. Len Laycock