The simplicity of power to the people. 10 simple solutions to difficult global problems

-Disclaimer- do not take this article too serious

Climate change, low wages , inequality….. These are just some of the issues we are confronted with in these days. You cannot avoid these issues and topics these days. You see and hear it everywhere: traditional media, social media & office coffee corner chats. Celebrities and influencers voicing opinions and doing what they can to promote change and make a difference. I think most of us are aware of the problems too and willing to do something about them. But it is sooooo hard: “What can I, a simple person, do. I don’t have celebrity, wealth, money, influence”. People often feel they are powerless “victims” of the current issues & systems. Corruption, profit-greed, corporations are bigger than us.

Is this really true?

Articles and coverage of the unfair behaviour & lies of countries companies and some people make me angry, I admit. But then, I catch myself still showing the same behaviour enabling all of this. I am a consumer after all.

As a marketeer, I analysed all these things in my head for a long time. How would I turn all of this around and bring forth solutions? It dawned on me that it is quite simple. “power to the people”. In most cases, if applied by enough individuals, this can have a huge effect. So, here goes. My shortcut to positive activism, revolution, or whatever the kids call it these days. In the famous words of one of the largest corporations in the world : Just (don’t) do it!

My top 10 list of easy solutions to difficult global problems.

  1. Problem: Big tech companies are stealing and mis-using data. Solution: Stop using these social media (I quit Facebook, but still use Instagram and WhatsApp, so I am still part of the problem)
  2. Problem: Amazon is mistreating employees and the owner is getting too rich in an unfair manner. Solution: stop buying via amazon. (I don’t buy via amazon, so there…..I am part of the solution)
  3. Problem: Negative effect on climate change by travel/transportation industry. Solution: Travel less, use energy efficient transportation, don’t take that weekend city trip every month. Enjoy the comfort of your own home, which you re-design anyway every year with “cheap” fast replaceable products from the likes of a.o. IKEA, Target etc. (I work in the travel industry and still travel a lot. I should use more sustainable transportation. I do however, feel in increase urge to enjoy my home and city more (staycation). It’s not that bad to spend the weekend there)
  4. Problem: Negative effect of fast fashion on climate change (in perspective: fast fashion pollutes more than all the global Airlines put together). Solution: Wear your clothes for 9 more months than originally intended. Buy more second hand clothing. Don’t believe the greenwashing marketing of “cheap” fashionable clothing brands. (ZARA, H&M, PRIMARK) (I have shirts that are 10 years old, my wife has a fit every-time she scans through my closet; But the shirts are still good, they have no holes in them; I also bring my shoes to the shoemaker to get new soles rather than buying new shoes)
  5. Problem: The FIFA Worldcup in Qatar is unethical because of the human rights issues when building the stadiums. Solution: Don’t watch the FIFA Worldcup and don’t buy any merchandise. (I always say I will not watch, but end up watching last minute anyway. I do not buy merchandise though. So I have done my part….partially)
  6. Problem: deforestation due to mass cattle farming for meat production. Solution: Eat less meat. I am not saying everyone has to turn vegetarian or vegan. But a more conscious consumption of meat will have a big effect on the aforementioned problem. Just try to think about where the meat you are eating actually came from and what the production process was. You will enjoy a genuine organically produced piece of meat much more. Bon apetit. (I am a vegetarian now for 2 years. I do eat fish however, and try to really confirm if it has been caught in a sustainable way; I also eat dairy and eggs, which are still dodgy, so I am still part of the problem)
  7. Problem: Up and coming developing countries abuse human rights and are not very sustainable in producing products we like and love. Solution: Stop buying those products. (I try to buy as little as possible of these products; It is not easy, I know)
  8. Problem: Oil companies (Shell, BP, Texaco etc.) are massively using greenwashing marketing to claim they are leaders in sustainable energy and products. Solution: Stop buying from them. (I have a car that runs on Gasoline…….sorry guys. I dislike their greenwashing as much as you, but still need to fill my tank there)
  9. Problem: Single use plastic. Solution: Stop buying bottled water and stop buying coffee on the go in disposable cups. (I have a re-usable water bottle by Dopper. And a re-usable coffee cup by KeepCup. I am doing my part….BOOM)
  10. Problem: The 1%gets richer while the 99% gets poorer. Solution: Stop buying the products and/or services with which the 1% make money. (It’s not easy, but if you really feel passionate about this issue, by doing some research, exercising discipline and courage, you can reduce the flow of money to them; I try on a daily basis…..I’d say I am halfway there)

I admit that talk the talk and not always walk the walk. Therefore I cannot blame anyone else. It is my own courage, discipline and creativity that I need to bring forward to make a difference. Stay strong, together we can…..power to the people.


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