Global Action Plan is a charity on a mission to tackle our throwaway culture and the harmful effect it has on the health of our young people and the planet.

Excessive consumption and our increasingly “throw-away” culture is a critical, yet undeserved, sustainability and mental health issue.

With success traditionally defined by what we earn and what we own, our quest for success through accumulating ever more stuff is resulting in the pollution and destruction of natural habitats all over the world. Every year we consume 60% more resource than the planet can sustain as industry tries to meet growing demand for the latest consumer trends.

To top it all off, having all of this stuff isn’t even making us happy. Mental health issues in young people have more than doubled in the last 20 years and materialistic values coupled with pressure to consume from advertising and social media have a lot to answer for in this worrying trend.(1)

With increasing resource strain, young people, will by necessity, have to consume very differently to their parents. And change is already afoot. We are seeing increasing numbers of young people buck the consumeristic treadmill and re-define what success means for them. These pioneers want healthy bodies and minds, a great social life and a fulfilling job they enjoy. (2) They are more interested in collecting great experiences than “stuff” - and new technology and growth in the sharing economy is helping them reimagine how they live and work.

If we are to radically change consumption patterns for the future, actively involving and targeting young people is key. At GAP, we are now focusing our combined expertise in activating young people and running large scale environmental behaviour change campaigns to tackle this systemic issue.

With the help of innovative partners and funders we will support millions of young people to set new social norms, re-imagine their relationship with stuff and drive a happier, healthier future for themselves and the planet.  

References

(1) Dittmar, H., Bond, R., Hurst, M. and Kasser, T. (2014) The relationship between materialism and personal well-being: A meta-analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(5), pp. 879-924.

(2) http://www.thisisinkling.com/inklingreports/2016/1/21/inkling-report-no-1-uk-millennials