Ecology Lessons from the poor

@Elena Nikolovska
Box from newspaper/ Earrings with plastic, wire and buttons @Elena Nikolovska

Rapid urbanization due to massive rural-to-urban migration of the population is a growing headache for many developing countries. Cites are expanding fast and the population numbers are rapidly increasing, and that forces the construction companies to use products and methods that release harmful pollution into the air, earth and waters. Air pollution is a major problem for most cities. And another major issue is that the city simply does not have enough jobs for everyone. The rate of unemployment is incredibly high especially in developing countries. But, looks like the people that have no jobs often lead the greenest life in the city. 

Less money = Less waste

Being jobless in the city, you have to really be creative and think of ways to live with what you have, so you think of what you can do with that plastic bottle, that tin can, how to turn trash into jewelry and other items you could sell to earn money. And I personally have crafted the most beautiful peaces of jewelry when I didn’t have a penny, all made from wire and plastic.

Simply put, poor people create less waste than rich people do, because they think twice before they throw something away, think hard if there is a way to use it somehow. As for someone with money who has the means to always buy new, so he/ she would never think twice and just throw that bottle in the garbage.

Nikola Spasenoski contact@spasenoski.com
Nikola Spasenoski contact@spasenoski.com

Less money = Greener (and cheaper) forms of transport

Having no money, means you can’t afford a car, so you travel by walking, by bike or public transport. And I am so glad that the bike has become a popular means for transport in Macedonia these days, because some 5 years ago it was still viewed as the only transport option for poor people. And I always travel by bike, so I used to feel bad how people with cars looked at me from above, feeling completely ashamed when they were pitting me for going home by bike.

Less money = Greener business ideas 

Like I said before, people with less money have to get creative. So they are forced to think of ways to earn money for a living. They make incredible items from trash. They collect herbs and other forest fruits that come free and sell them on the market. All these are green ways to earn money. As oppose to someone working in an office that prints 500 pages a day, and ends up throwing away 100 a day or more, not caring that a forest was cut down to make them, because he can afford to buy more.

Less money = Saving electricity and water

I think this one’s very clear. While the experts urge people in the city to save electricity because it’s production is polluting the Planet, I get the feeling that those who have money to pay their electricity bill, no matter how high it is- simply do not care. But, when you have no money to pay your bills, you use lights only when necessary and wash your clothes only when electricity is cheap. You also think of other ways to warm yourself in the winter- like putting on an extra sweater instead of turning up the heat.

So, I am not saying that being poor is what everyone should do, looking from a personal point of view where I always had enough just to get by- i’d say it’s damn hard. But, having no money taught me to respect Earth and be happy for it’s bounties. And imagine if things shifted and one day there were no poor and no rich- just a middle class, people with enough means to live a normal life, than we would all have to think of ways to save, we would all have to be creative with our garbage, and then maybe our Planet has a chance to survive…

E.N.

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