Reflections on MLK + Sustainability
I want to begin by first wishing you the very best for a healthy, happy and more sustainable 2019. For me, reflecting on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Jr. (MLK) always begins on January 15th. Not only is this MLK’s actual birthday, but it happens to be my birthday too and I cannot think of any other person in history who I would rather share a birthday with. Indeed, MLK has always been a towering figure in my life and I have long aspired to live according to his example.
In honor of MLK who we celebrated earlier this week, I wanted to share with you some of my reflections on his words of wisdom, including what is probably my favorite quote:
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”
There are a couple of insights in here that have profound personal meaning for me and which help guide our mission at Cleanyst.
First, MLK observed that “all life is interrelated,” or interconnected, and that “whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” I believe these words are true on a number of levels, but especially in the context of environmental sustainability. How we use our resources affects the natural world around us and all life in it. Our culture of consumption and endless need for plastic packaging is harming our planet, and in turn ourselves, in ways we are only beginning to understand. See my earlier blog post, titled “Plastic in Your Poop,” for more about what I mean. However, just as we have the power to harm, we have the power to heal and sustain. Therefore, all of our choices matter and have an impact on the whole. Although the choice of whether to reduce our carbon or plastic footprints on a personal or household level might seem small and inconsequential in the grand scheme, positive changes add up and are infectious.
This leads me to MLK’s insight that we are all “tied into a single garment of destiny,” which reminds me of another quote of his:
“We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Once again, I find myself thinking about this quote in connection with environmental sustainability. In other words, the arc of human progress is long, but it bends towards sustainability. Although there will be setbacks along the way, and although the pace of progress may not always be satisfactory, I believe the future will be a more sustainable one and that this is part of our shared destiny as human beings. Whether we’re talking about cars, light bulbs or laundry detergent, the trajectory of innovation is towards greater efficiency and a smaller environmental footprint.
At Cleanyst, we passionately believe that our system represents an evolutionary leap towards greater efficiency and less waste in the home and body care product industries. Similarly, we believe that mixing these products at home, or at the point of use, and reducing and reusing the packaging required to deliver them, are necessary, if not inevitable, steps along the path towards a more sustainable future.
Although our system cannot solve all of the environmental challenges we currently face, we know that Cleanyst is a step in right direction and that we are part of a broader movement in the consumer goods sector. This movement recognizes the need for meaningful change, and is responding to the growing demand among consumers for products that will help effect this change. As consumers, we have the power to shape our destiny and, if MLK were alive today, I believe he would have a lot to say about our responsibility to make the right choices to safeguard our planet.
CEO + Co-Founder