While the response to our community fridge initiative and proposal for launching community funded free zero waste care kits have been overwhelmingly positive, we have received some criticism and cynicism on how we are not doing enough. I feel compelled to address this now, as I know that the more good we try to do, the more we will expose ourselves to critics.
So I admit it and realize that we are not perfect, nor do we claim to be the end-all solution. No individual or organization is perfect and can solve the world’s problems by themselves. There is an infinite amount of suffering in the world and there is an infinite number of ways to help. Every cause has a mission, but no cause can address all the problems in the world. That’s why a variety of causes exist. Together we can reduce suffering, but no one cause can do it all.
At Zero Waste Bulk, we have a mission of sustainability and community, and that is our focus, but this doesn’t mean we don’t care about other causes or that other causes are less important. As an analogy, someone raising funds and awareness for breast cancer isn’t saying all other cancers don’t matter; it’s just that they chose to focus their time and energy on a cause they are passionate about.
By hosting a community fridge and planning other community initiatives, we’re not claiming to solve the world’s problems. We’re not here patting ourselves on the back thinking we’re the champions of addressing issues of homelessness and food insecurity. While our new initiatives aim to reduce waste while making sustainability more accessible, we do not claim to be experts on the issues of homelessness and food insecurity nor are we trying to present ourselves as charities where those issues are our primary focus. There are plenty of other organizations and individuals where those issues are the priorities, and we aim to complement those causes in a way that aligns with our sustainable mission.
Each of us has a mission and has a part in making the world a better place. Excess criticism and cynicism only discourages us and doesn’t contribute to solutions. Before pointing fingers and listing the ways our initiatives are lacking (e.g. not fundraising disposable care items, not dedicating our mission to homelessness), it would be more helpful to look inward and figure out ways you can contribute to solutions. If our mission does not align with your personal visions, it would be more productive to funnel your energy into initiatives you are passionate about or start your own initiatives. We can take different paths to different problems, but ultimately we are each doing our best to make the world a better place.
This is not to shut down conversations or discourage suggestions, but I wanted to gently remind everyone that we have our own missions and values regarding sustainability and community, and we do not claim to be an organization dedicated to solving the problems of homelessness and food insecurity. This does not make us lesser, just different - solving different problems in different ways, but ultimately we share the same goal of making the world a better place.