Just. Say. No. Simple right? Well we all know that it isn’t that simple a lot of the time. When we think about how to build a regenerative economy – a circular economy, we should be looking at whether Refusing should be our natural starting point when we need to make a decision. This should be step one.

So what do we mean? Well – saying no feels a bit negative, but what if we say ‘no’ to the plastic bag in the store? Saying ‘no’ to travelling everywhere by car? Saying ‘no’ to eating meat and dairy once a week to improve our diet and reduce our carbon footprint? No can be a positive.

If we Refuse something, we may be saving resources and very likely to be saving on the amount of carbon we are creating in our daily lives. To stay anywhere near our global target of reaching Net Zero Carbon by 2050 (ie the amount of CO2 equivalent in emissions is balanced equally with what the Earth can safely and naturally absorb), we need to limit our outputs. Personally, institutionally and through the companies we support with our wallets.

We also need to think about whether our default answer of ‘yes’ is coming at the physical detriment of our planet and people – through an exploit of our natural resources, natural habitats, or workers trapped in poverty.

Refusing something, or refusing to stay in the status quo is more important than ever. To build a circular economy we all need to say no to exploitative rubbish and say yes to products, practices and people that do not put profit first.

So, what could we Refuse…?

  • single-use anything. Take a look at Reuse.
  • throwing something away should be the last resort – could it be Repaired?
  • don’t support administrations that support any kind of exploitation. Vote with your vote.
  • don’t support companies that support any kind of exploitation. Vote with your wallet. Take a look at Retail.

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