So, the decade is drawing a close. It’s been a blur of political division, raging technological advances and beloved celebrities dropping like flies. As we emerge blinking from the 2010s, a bit more mentally and physically haggard than when we went in, it may seem as if there isn’t much on the horizon to look forward to.
But just because good news doesn’t get as many views, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. You don’t have to look far to find the emerging fruits of positive change in the world, or the individual bright sparks championing their communities and the environment. Here are just a few reasons to help you step into 2020 with hope and motivation!
1. We’re fighting planned obsolescence
This decade has seen a big increase in the public awareness of planned obsolescence. France in particular has been leading the cause, passing a law in 2015 making it illegal to purposefully design products with a limited lifespan - and they took Apple to court! In 2017, the EU accepted a resolution to tackle the issue, to make products more repairable, have longer warranties and to state their minimal life expectancy as a rule. This is a really exciting time for BuyMeOnce, and tells us that people have had enough of the increasing disposability of the stuff in their lives!
2. The rise and rise of renewables
Renewable energy has seen incredible growth this decade, with records in the UK shattering year after year. Sunny weather in May this year caused solar power to reach all-time highs, and offshore wind hit a renewable energy record this month when it provided more than 40% of our power. Renewable energy projects receive double the amount of investment compared to fossil fuel, and what’s more, 12 out of a total 18 coal-fired power stations closed in the UK this decade.
3. We’re turning away from stuff
There’s no doubt about it - growing numbers of people have stopped looking towards material goods for happiness, and are spending on experiences instead. Today, 65% of adults say they would rather spend money on experiences than possessions, rising to 72% of millennials. Not only is this a departure from wasteful consumerism, this can also encourage money to stay within communities as people invest in local restaurants, theatres and other real-world activities.
4. Single-use plastics are on the decline
Since David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II aired in 2017, single-use plastics have been catapulted into the public consciousness. 53% of consumers report using less single-use plastics out of environmental concern, and hundreds of companies big and small have signed up to public pledges to cut their use. This is a fantastic example of public outcry making a real difference, showing what a force for change we are capable of being!
5. Second hand is no longer second best
The second hand clothing market is booming, with people choosing pre-loved to save money, find higher-quality items and help the planet. Studies show the stigma around second hand goods is diminishing, and a high proportion of people are even comfortable giving and receiving used items as gifts. Our growing love of vintage clothing, as well as other goods like refurbished electronics, is a great sign that we’re moving towards more conscious consumerism.
6. Incredible eco innovations
As we’re battered by news detailing the climate crisis we’re facing, we can find hope in the innovators taking matters into their own hands. Just one exciting example of green technology making a real difference is the development of tree-planting drone tech. By hugely speeding up the process of reforestation, ambitious planting targets could be within our reach. Trees are cheap, natural carbon-capture machines, and planting billions of them may well be the most effective way to combat climate change. It goes to show that technology doesn’t have to be at odds with nature, and that human creativity and innovation may be the key to our survival.
7. Rewilding is go
At times a controversial topic, worldwide rewilding projects - where biodiversity is encouraged back into habitats where it has been lost - have been hugely successful in recent years. Though more well-known for the reintroduction of lost species such as bison, wolves and beavers, rewilding focuses more broadly on restoring the balance of nature so that ecosystems can thrive by themselves. The UK has seen a plethora of rewilding projects both big and small achieving great success, demonstrating clearly that given half a chance, nature can bounce back!
8. The success of social enterprises
Social enterprises - businesses which put people and planet before profit - are on the rise in this country, with over 100,000 now operating in the UK, and 42% of them less than five years old. These innovative, ambitious groups are tackling issues such as homelessness and structural inequality, by creating jobs for those most marginalised. New research shows social enterprises are even outperforming traditional businesses on turnover growth!
So, we hope we’ve inspired you to keep your chin up and see the good still flourishing in the world. Make 2020 your year to do more for your community and the planet. The world is full of positive people with a passion for change - after all, sinking into despair never made a difference!
And of course, whilst it’s important never to give up, we realise that we all need to take a rest once in a while. The BuyMeOnce team have been off thoroughly recharging and getting inspired over the holidays - have a look at what books we’ve been reading here. You can also see which were some of our most viewed articles of 2019 here.