Greener living from the 2010s, into the 2020s and beyond…
To kick off a whole new decade, the Greenredeem team are looking back at the green success stories of the last ten years, looking around at the big eco-developments happening right now, and looking ahead towards the next generation of sustainable change.
2010s: Minimalism and the joys of tidying up
When Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, was first published in English back in 2014, the seeds of her work fell on wildly fertile soil. Suddenly everyone was discussing the ins-and-outs of efficiently folded clothes and how to tell if a knick-knack “sparks joy”. Collectively, it seemed, we embarked on a national decluttering: selling, giving away and donating the unused or unloved stuff from our homes.
We embarked on a national decluttering: selling, giving away and donating the unused or unloved stuff from our homes.
The simplicity movement, brought into the mainstream by influential blogs such as The Minimalists, had prepared the ground. We were encouraged to “live meaningful lives with less” to “make room for more: more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom”.
In the 2010s, we began to realise that buying more stuff isn’t ever going to be a substitute for a life well-lived – and started to redress the balance.
2010s: Hundreds of thousands switched to renewable energy tariffs
It’s been a very quiet revolution, but a very powerful one, nevertheless. Across the nation, we’ve been switching to green suppliers for our gas and electricity in our hundreds of thousands, preventing millions of tonnes of polluting, climate changing emissions in the process.
We can now choose from more than a hundreds green energy tariffs, with those supplying 100% renewable electricity and 100% ‘green gas’ offering the best environmental protections for your pound.
With the price of offshore wind energy now set lower than that of gas power plant and nuclear energy, if you didn’t switch to a renewable energy tariff during the 2010s, it’s well worth considering the move now.
2020s: Sustainable wooden skyscrapers?
The big noise in architecture for the 2020s is engineered timber. The development of this light, immensely strong and fire-safe material has laid the foundations for the world’s first wooden skyscrapers.
Using trees instead of concrete to build new homes could simultaneously address our desperate housing shortages and help to slow climate change, since each tonne of timber scrubs 1.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it grows. What’s more, timber grows fast enough to more than meet our needs.
The forests of Europe take just seven seconds to grow enough timber to build a three-bedroom apartment, and just four hours to grow the volume of timber required for a 300-metre wooden skyscraper.
2020s: Consumers working together to create change?
As the environmental and financial costs of our waste grows too high to ignore, consumer pressures will lead to single-use products being phased out across the world and we’ll finally dispose of disposables.
Modular, endlessly upgradable and easily reparable products will grow popular. Consumers will become both more tech savvy and less willing to put up with planned obsolescence and unnecessary e-waste.
Collectively, we’ll demand ethical changes from polluting businesses, boycotting where necessary. Trends will be towards buying more selectively and for the long-term.
2030s: All products become services?
Can you imagine not needing to own anything? Instead you simply borrow what you need on demand: transportation, housing, appliances, clothing, gadgets, tools... Shopping is completely obsolete, replaced by giant repositories of shared stuff.
How would you feel if the world became your library?