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My Freedom Day – the case for positive choices.

Tomorrow, 11 March 2020  is  My Freedom Day  and this year it is  a student driven event to raise awareness of modern slavery.  The objective is to highlight modern slavery and celebrate freedom.

What does freedom mean to you?

Whilst we cannot understate the importance of human slavery, which is what My Freedom Day is about, we could also examine our ‘slavery’ to other negative things such as plastics and plastic packaging! 

When we choose between the plastic and eco-friendly packaging are we exercising positive or negative freedom in our choices?

Try warping your head around these profound freedom ‘sayings’:

  • Freedom to choose but not free from the consequences.
  • I am free to choose but am responsible for my choices.
  • Freedom is not the absence of commitments but the ability to choose and commit to what is best for me.
  • It is not your freedom to choose that makes you free but what you choose in that freedom that makes you free.
  • Freedom means never ever taking it for granted.

Do you agree and subscribe to any of the above?

Even in our modern times, freedom can mean things many of us take for granted:

  • to a woman in a middle eastern country, simply  being able to drive a car;
  • to the Rohingyas, to live freely in the country they have called theirs, their whole life;
  • to a Syrian child, to play under a blue sky without fear of being bombed.

To us at Element Packaging UK, freedom means having the freedom to choose – fantastic! But it does not end there.  Our choices can have consequences that often have far-reaching effects.
Hence freedom to Element Packaging UK means having the freedom to choose to live in harmony with the environment in a sustainable manner. And this is evidenced by our compostable and biodegradable carbon friendly foodware made from plant-based materials whose primary ingredients are from renewable resources.

Positive vs. Negative Freedom (Charles Taylor)

Positive freedom is the freedom to choose, control and decided one’s own life and destiny – to act instead of being acted upon. Taylor calls positive freedom an “exercise concept” of freedom because it involves discriminating between all possible opportunities, and exercising the options that are most in line with your real will and what you truly want in life.  You are your own master.

Negative Freedom
Negative freedom is freedom from external interference that prevents you from doing what you want, when you want to do it. Taylor calls negative freedom an “opportunity concept” of freedom because it gives you access to a range of desirable opportunities, regardless of whether you decide to take advantage of those opportunities or not. You are slave to no man.

Plastic vs. Eco-friendly Disposables
Let’s look at one everyday common pervasive choice we make – choosing between plastic packaging and eco-friendly sustainable ones.  We can choose either as there are no restrictions and both are available in the marketplace. But are we exercising positive or negative freedom in our choices?

More often than not we gravitate towards using plastic foodware instead of eco-friendly ones. This is negative freedom. No doubt there are no laws to prevent us from using plastics but it would mean contributing to plastic waste in our environment. It is our habits and nonchalance towards sustainability that drives our choice and in the long run we face far-reaching negative impact.

On the other hand, knowing the harmful impact of plastics and choosing to reduce or altogether avoid using plastics, we are exercising positive freedom as we consciously make choices that will protect our environment and ultimately impact us in a positive way.

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