Why we launched Viable.Earth

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Four months since our launch, we’ve learned a lot and surpassed many internal milestones at Viable.Earth. As we introduce our new look site design and celebrate the appointment of our first full-time writer, we thought it was time to share with readers why we set out on the journey to create Viable.Earth. 

In the space of four decades of writing as a career, environmental issues have evolved immensely. Once spotlit by the passion of a minority of well-intentioned individuals and organisations who used protests and often flimsy theories to promote specific causes – albeit most of them worthy – most consumers would express sympathy with the causes but stopped short of changing their lifestyles or behaviour in a way that made a difference. A minority – usually from farming or business backgrounds – would write off the views of the agitators as fringe, disparagingly labelling them “greenies”. 

Now, it is 2021 and the world has changed. Sustainability, climate change, the oceans full of plastic rubbish, recycling, and the horrifying destruction wrought by wildfires are things that worry the vast majority of people in developed countries. 

But the constant message of doom and gloom about what will happen to our planet if we do not urgently address the human impact on climate change, together with the evolution of a whole new climate vocabulary that many people struggle to understand (even our own team at times!) a sense of desperation, confusion and helplessness has evolved in parallel. 

At Viable.Earth we have adopted a profile description that you’ll find on some of our social media profiles: “Unbiased news for those curious about sustainable fashion, food, packaging and energy – and plant-based foods. No preaching. No militancy. Every step counts.”

We chose that because we believe that addressing sustainability issues needs to be inclusive. Greener cites research from Forbes showing that 88 per cent of consumers want brands to help them live sustainably. That level of interest demonstrates that having an interest in reducing your impact on the environment by embracing more sustainable products and solutions is no longer shaped by age or demographic – if, indeed, it ever has been. 

Sustainable lifestyles are all about the journey, not the destination. While we admire the small few who have managed to convert their entire presence on the planet into a zero impact, non-consumerist lifestyle, that is not for everybody, and nor does it need to be. 

Telling people that they need to revolutionise every aspect of their life overnight – as the militants might – will not win favour or acceptance among the majority of the population. And it is true: people do not need to act that dramatically to make a difference. If a million people on Earth embrace a more sustainable lifestyle, that will have much more impact than 1000 people adopting a completely sustainable lifestyle. Every step counts.

Viable.Earth has been created to highlight concepts, products and initiatives which can help people reduce their environmental impact. We strive to be unbiased. Sure, we publish content from scientists, and we are not afraid to cover stories from time to time that may disturb people because a lot of the damage being done to our planet is disturbing. So, too, we may call out greenwashing – those occasions when companies or brands try to pass off something they are doing as something it is not. But there will be no preaching on our site, or telling people how to live their lives. 

No one on the Viable.Earth team is vegan, although most of us are flexitarian, one or two are mulling a move to vegetarian lifestyles and all of us are eager to experiment with the growing smorgasbord of exciting plant-based foods. We are all at various stages of personal journeys to reduce waste – of food and single-use utensils, especially – and we actively seek out brands that boast sustainability credentials or sell upcycled or recycled products – but not exclusively. 

Being on our own personal journeys underlines our ethos at Viable.Earth to help people discover ideas and solutions, to understand issues and to enable them to take steps they are comfortable with – one at a time. We hope to celebrate great designs and innovations in a way that encourages and uplifts people – not derides or shames them. (Spoiler alert here: we might make some exceptions for the odd corporation or politician along the way!) 

We also aim to minimise the jargon and lessen confusion – both by watching how we write and providing explainer articles every now and then to help people understand the context of broader discussions. 

So that’s why Viable.Earth exists. We hope you’ll join our journey. Remember, No preaching. No militancy. Every step counts.

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill

Robert Stockdill is a content writer with more than 30 years of experience in five countries. His style has built upon award-winning success in news and features in the print media to leadership in digital communication, spanning news websites, social media, magazines, brochures, and contributing to books. Recognising the devastating impact of consumer behaviour on the planet and wanting to help make a difference Robert launched Viable.Earth as a platform to celebrate positive contributions by brands, companies and individuals towards reducing environmental impact and improve sustainability – especially in the fields of fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle, and transportation.

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