This Changes Everything documentary will be shown at the Phoenix on the 26th March at 6pm (£5 for the entrance). The documentary sets out to show how the current economic system based on capitalism is affecting us and our environment and potential inspirations to change everything. It inspired Footpaths to formulate the following question 'How my relationship with capitalism is impacting my carbon footprint?'. Marie from New Parks is the first sharing her reflection on the question . If it all inspires you, do not hesitate to send your own reflection to Footpaths.
Capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. My carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of my activities. My activities serve capitalism. They serve private owners for profit at the expense of natural resources and human beings. I am trapped and enslaved by capitalism, this is my relationship with it and it impacts dearly on my carbon footprint but also on my wellbeing and sense of belonginess.
I am striving to strip myself away from capitalism. I refused to work for large corporate organisations. I refuse to consume excessively. I shop in charity shops, buy in bulk from the Wholefood Coop in Leicester, cycle to work, do not travel by plane. I try to save for some solar panels and an electric car, I try to repair what I own and try to engage others in changing behaviour through campaigning and community building.
I try, some other people try too, everyone has to try but not everyone does. Many believe that money is something we should all strive for. I am a dreamer and believe that we should all strive for social justice, equality and environmental preservation. I am being stigmatised for my beliefs. I am being called a ‘green freak’, a ‘green loony’, a ‘green warrior’, I am being asked ironically ‘whether I managed to save the world today?’
I often want to respond ‘I did not save the world today and keep failing because you did not help me’
I fail all the time. The capitalism system is strong and I am often too weak.
I chose to dive into research studies for the transition towards a sustainable system but even the research community I serve is funded to benefit directly private organisations that have economic growth as a priority. I spend my day behind computers writing. I enjoy writing but sometimes I am thinking that I should be growing food in my garden to reduce my carbon food footprint. I go to work every day mostly on my bicycle. Recently I have been travelling with my partner by car more. It is an easy thing. We would love to buy an electric car but it is so out of our means. We would like to work closer from home but the market is not meeting our expectations. I want some solar panels but in the same way it is out of reach. If I decide to earn more I will have to work for large corporations and slave myself away to them. I do not want to. If one organisation come along and purchase me at the right price, I will have to interview them first and ensure that they meet all the criteria of an organisation that strive to help others and protect the environment. As so far, I haven’t seen one that uplifts me. My relationship with capitalism is too often tinted by loneliness and a feeling of awkwardness. My refusal to earn and consume like everyone else create a feeling of despair from the ones I love. It happens often that I fail to reduce my carbon footprint because I want to belong and be accepted by those. So I shop new clothes to look as nice as the expectations, I put make-up on my face too, I eat meat cos there is no vegetarian options. The list goes on.
Solar panels and a green car keep coming back in my writing as something I really want. As my friend read my draft, she pointed out the following which I am paraphrasing with my own word ‘isn’t it to want solar panels and a green car only for yourself an individualistic way of thinking? An emanation of what a capitalistic system want us to do to reduce our carbon footprint? You could join community energy and public transport schemes; wouldn’t it be an aspiration for a fairer and more sustainable system?''
I want to ask ''where are those community energy and public transport schemes?'' I want to shout out: ''you have solar panels on your roof, I don’t''. ''I am too busy with work to create those community energy schemes''. ''Public transport schemes are really not convenient''. Then I remind myself that it is what capitalism does. Divide us, trap us, make us feel awkward, impact on our carbon footprint. I cannot help my neighbours because I am too busy helping myself and the current system. The current system is not helping me and neither my neighbours. They destroy every single bit of our environment and affect the lives of billions around the planet, the have-not first. The haves hide away in their golden castle.
Enough! Enough with the despair, There is a way to feel better and inspired,. For me it is volunteering. I give my times to others and try to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint with the little that they have. I get new allies with whom to work to create a sustainable system of production and consumption. I receive smile and love. They kind of know how capitalism affects me as a person as much as my carbon footprint because they are affected too. They cannot really help me to meet my individualistic goals. But together we can help all through a slow and thoughtful design.
So what can you do to lessen the impact of capitalism?
Join me with your dreams, I’ll share with you mine, we will help each other, we will become friends, we will collaborate and we will change the world. Alone, I can’t, you can’t, we can’t but together, everything is possible, everything changes.
This Changes Everything documentary based on Naomi Klein’s work will be shown at the Phoenix at 6.00pm on the 26th March. I invite you to join me and maybe together we will change everything in Leicester