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My linguistic services involve subtitling, localisation and translation (into Italian and Spanish), with a focus on sectors related to sustainability. This is something which I profoundly believe in, encompassing the environment and other sectors which directly or indirectly affect it. These include fair trade, sustainable tourism, natural cosmetics and ethical fashion, to mention just a few, but also areas with an emphasis on people and mental and physical well-being. After all, people and their environment are strongly intertwined and have a considerable influence on each other. Unfortunately, in modern times we have mistakenly become used to treating them as independent concepts.
There are various factors that contribute to atmospheric pollution and consequent global warming. Energy produced from fossil fuels is one of the main causes, since burning these materials releases a substantial amount of climate-altering gases, which are responsible for what we know as the greenhouse effect. It’s vital that we adopt the necessary measures to reduce the emissions of these polluting substances as far as possible, implementing an energy transition which moves us from fossil fuels to renewables. For this to happen, we need to take action across the board to effect changes in multiple sectors. This includes, for example, degrowth as an alternative to capitalism (the demand for infinite growth – which is incompatible with our finite planet– is one of the culprits of the serious situation that we are facing), renewable energy, implementing a circular system for the economy rather than a linear one, waste management, environmentally sustainable architecture, agriculture and permaculture, environmental education, conservation of biodiversity and environmental protection.
Fair trade is an approach to business based on dialogue and respect for the environment and workers’ rights, which strives for greater equality between developed and developing countries, guaranteeing direct, sustainable access to the market for small-scale producers. This is a market dominated by large multinationals which often jeopardise the activities of small-scale farmers, threatening the environment and violating workers’ human rights. In response, Fair Trade organisations are actively working towards fully sustainable development by providing support, raising awareness, and running campaigns designed to secure better financial conditions and respect the rights of small-scale producers.
We often hear about human and animal rights, but very little is said about the rights of plant life or any other being, living or otherwise. We should respect the rights of every living thing that passes time on Earth (animal life, plant life and the land in general), and therefore of every element that constitutes the ecosystem, which needs protection more than ever in every aspect.
To achieve this we need to drastically reduce our consumption of meat (especially production from intensive farming), which when consumed to excess can also have a negative impact on our health. We must also select goods from sustainable sources and support vegetable produce from organic farming which is respectful of the environment (free of pesticides and committed to protecting the land and soil).
Our natural coastlines have been reduced to narrow stretches with built-up construction all along them. Tropical paradises have been invaded by gigantic resorts where tourists spend most of their time alternating between the swimming pool and the all-inclusive buffet. Meanwhile, on the outside, the authentic life of the local area is overlooked, all too often forgotten and unappreciated, decimated by vast hotel chains which, rather than benefiting the native environment, further aggravate the situation of poverty and insecurity. Sustainable and responsible tourism is therefore required so that this state of affairs is not intensified. The welfare of these areas and their local populations need to be supported, so that a state of harmony can be created between the social and natural environment, which should be protected and respected at all times.
ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE FASHION
The exponential growth of fast fashion in recent years has had a grave social and environmental impact. In fact, its “fast” aspect relies on the use of low-quality materials treated with toxic products which are harmful to the environment and to ourselves, and sewn by underpaid workers working in conditions which are damaging and unsustainable for their health and well-being. This has an extraordinary environmental and human cost, which can be avoided by supporting fashion that abides by sustainable and ethical principles. In many cases, however, when purchases are dictated by psychological factors, we need to ask ourselves whether never-ending spending truly makes us happy, or whether it is evidence of an insatiable dissatisfaction that we seek to fulfil through materialism.
Can you decipher the INCI list of your cosmetic products?
Pick up the first product that comes to hand, and have a look through its INCI list (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients). This list of contents, which is mostly incomprehensible to those outside of the industry, conceals toxic chemicals which are harmful to our bodies and the environment. Personally, I have been able to eliminate most of these damaging ingredients of petroleum origin, and move towards natural products without harmful ingredients. A general rule of thumb for anyone wanting to do the same thing, but unsure of where to start? The fewer ingredients, the better the product.
We have the most advanced and innovative technology of all time, allowing us to live in a world where everything works well and most problems can be solved. And yet, the gap between rich and poor is wider than ever. There are many cities with a critical lack of hygiene, many people in the world die every day of hunger or are without access to drinking water, and electronic waste is a serious ever-increasing threat, which is further exacerbated by deeply entrenched programmed obsolescence. It could be perfectly possible to have a situation where technology and IT are used for the good of the planet and everyone living on it, so why aren’t we making this a reality starting from right now? In the end (to quote some words of wisdom), where there is a will, there is a way.
To find out more about how technology could contribute to a more sustainable world, I recommend this publication: How Technology Could Contribute to a Sustainable World.
When choosing to live a sustainable lifestyle which is respectful of our surrounding environment, we also start by respecting ourselves and our mental and physical well-being. People and their environment are two aspects of the planet which are closely interrelated: somebody in good physical and mental health is more readily able to appreciate the beauty of natural surroundings that shine and flourish, and considers respect and protection of the environment to be essential; in turn, a healthy and nurtured environment contributes to the mental and physical well-bring of the people inhabiting it. Looking after our own body and mind, with a healthy and balanced diet, physical exercise and cultivation of our own emotional intelligence, inevitably brings about a positive effect on our interpersonal relationships and the environment.
HEALTHY MIND, HEALTHY BODY
If your sector doesn’t appear on this list, please feel free to contact me anyway. Even if I’m unable to help you directly, I may be able to recommend a professional who specialises in your field, so you needn’t keep searching without a point of reference.