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Eco-gentrification: Is Living Greener Getting Inaccessible?

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Eco-gentrification: Is Living Greener Getting Inaccessible?

Remember the stereotype of the "environmentalist" - the activist, who gets their hand dirty and lives with few luxuries? At some point along the way, a radical metamorphosis rolled in and that person became an unreachable being, with a perfect life and manicured Instagram feed. What happened to the roots of green life?

Suddenly it appears like you have to have all the trendy products (instead of reusing what you already have), eating and buying goods at expensive places (instead of learning recipes and making more visits to your corner store). This blogger who talks about maternity and sustainability talks about the tiny jars of a full year of waste:  "When I read some zero-waste blogs, I have the distinct feeling that I should give up. When a person tries to inspire me by showing a jar with a year's worth of garbage, I'm ready to give up before I even begin. This is so far from my reality that it discourages me from even considering the goal ". In other words, when it’s down to all or nothing, if you're not eliminating 100% of your waste, it’s better to not even try. And parents know that living completely waste free is a challenge far from being achieved.

Let's ponder over this: why would sustainability be synonymous with wealth when the poorest layers of society suffer most from the impacts of climate change? Access to a more sustainable lifestyle should be egalitarian and equal for all. It seems that the greener life has become something more "ego" than "eco."

A friendly brain tease came out of this post here, which talks about the eco-friendly lifestyle being turned void and elitist. Take a stroll through the city's most affluent neighbourhoods and you'll see green spaces, community gardens, bike paths, organic restaurants and a seemingly beautiful, clean world. But a mere few blocks away you can find a forgotten community; with limited waste collection, sanitation nor access to the most indispensable services. Could it be that bringing green spaces to certain regions of the cities could lead to the expulsion of the people whom one wishes to help? The answer is yes, sometimes it can. These improvements make the neighbourhood more attractive to new entrepreneurs, which eventually drive prices up, while simultaneously forcing low income groups to leave as they are unable to afford the area anymore. That is eco-gentrification in a nutshell.

So then, are improvements to the city bad? They are, if these improvements are superficial. What makes a city (a neighbourhood and a community, that is) more sustainable is to ensure quality of life and environmental quality - for example, bring basic sanitation to a needy neighbourhood, or ensure selective waste collection. This would be a "conscious anti-gentrification," as they mention here . 

It is because of this ‘superficial sustainability’ that many think that living more responsibly is more expensive. As mentioned here , it should not be. There is a misconception that living greener is about buying better products, when in reality being greener is buying less and being more aware. Some actions to take into consideration, such as striving to ensure proper waste collection in your home - recycling vs waste, eating more seasonal fruits and vegetables and enjoy food in a comprehensive manner.

Well, when we talk about it, we cannot leave the price of our shoes aside. We are looking for ways to bring more accessible products without undermining any aspect of our production chain. We understand how making sustainable products more accessible is a win, and this is what we are striving to achieve. ;)

We started the post talking about a new generation that makes sustainability inaccessible, but we cannot stop talking about the people who are there to help change this idea. Here and here we mention who these people are and what initiatives they’re doing that inspire us (worth reading!). Oh, and if you see the price of things as a barrier to veganism or to lead a greener life, our invaluable tip for you is to read this text that lays out the necessary information . 

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