Is Communism Good for the Environment?

4 Aug

By: Bart Zych

The environment is a hot topic.  Dare I say a fad?  It’s debated everywhere, from politics to business and everywhere in between.  Yet to me, buzz-words starting with “carbon-” (neutral, footprint, friendly), or “green” are not only meaningless, but they sound like a part of some in-crowd joke.  Am I mocking the potentially disastrous effect that unconstrained human development has on the earth?  Not at all, but I am mocking our band-aid solutions to it.  At the same time I consider our society’s addiction to consumerism equally absurd.  Let me briefly elaborate.

I was born and raised in a communist country where everything was limited, including food.  Wasting things was not an option.  When things broke, they were fixed, not replaced with new things.  There was no choice between organic vs non-organic food because farmers couldn’t afford pesticides.  Baked goods, when available, were only considered good for a day or two because bakers didn’t have access to preservatives.  The same was true for most other prepared foods.

People relied on each other for help.  Within communities people exchanged services such as car repair for things like building materials.  Bartering, if you will, but it was done out of necessity and not choice.  People had to live with what they had.  In short I was brought up in a society that was not consumer-focused.

People ate organic food, reused as much as possible, used bicycles and transit such as buses and trains because cars were difficult to buy and very expensive.  They helped each other because social programs either didn’t exist or were unreliable.  Willingly or not, for the most part we lived in what could be called today an “environmentally friendly” society (although the impact of government and industry was a different matter).

I am not advocating communism by any means.  Personal freedom was virtually nonexistent, many people suffered, many were imprisoned or killed for speaking and acting against the regime, and the country as a whole was essentially isolated from the rest of the world.  The point I am making is that access to goods and services, the types of goods and services available, and the processes involved in making them accessible have a significant influence on a society’s way of life and its impact on the environment.  To live more in tune with our natural environment we must evaluate our addiction to consumerism, and the role industry and government play in mitigating this addiction.  More importantly, business and industry must continue to learn from and model the processes used to create and dispose of goods based on processes in nature, the only truly sustainable system that we know of.

So what can we do now as individuals, clichés aside?  Like most I’m not giving up my car, but I walk wherever I can, because I like it.  I avoid wasting things as much as possible, not only because of the environment, but mainly because I feel guilty knowing that people in other parts of the world would happily use it.  Before I buy anything I first ask myself if I really need it, because I don’t like clutter.  If something breaks or stops working, I try to fix it before throwing it away.   I live my life as a citizen of the world, not just this prosperous country.

About the Author

Bart Zych is a Vancouver, BC (Canada) based business strategy consultant ( specializing in helping small businesses to survive, compete, and succeed, and medium-sized businesses to regain and define their continuity of direction.

Bart has been a successful manager of small business, helping to define core strengths, focus, and as a result increase revenue and profitability. For over 10 years he has worked with various organizations and fortune 500 companies such as Canon Canada and Pitney Bowes, helping them grow revenues in their corporate sales divisions.

He earned his MBA from the Schulich School of Business with a focus on Competitive Strategy and Management Information Systems. His passion is combining business and psychology to not only address corporate strategy, but also the various and complex human factors that play a significant role in developing and shaping it.

(ArticlesBase SC #2953925)

Article Source: Communism Good for the Environment?


One Response to “Is Communism Good for the Environment?”

  1. Mr. Kerouac August 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Everyone should have a taste of communism. Calling Obama a communist is laughable. Unfortunately the ignorant stay ignorant and the consumers get consumed.

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