“Going green” seems to be in revival since the 1960’s & 70’s and is the latest, hottest trend as the media bombards us with eco-friendly messages, news and marketing ploys. You may hear the green message everywhere – from cars and technology to fashion and food – it can overwhelm us from all sides. With this information overload, it may be hard to sort through everything to know how to contribute or you may even tune it out completely and not care.
As someone who has been “caring” about our environment for only a couple of years, here are 5 beginner lessons that I’ve learned through my experiences as a blossoming Earth Warrior!
#1.) Don’t be overwhelmed.
Yes, there is a plethora of resources, statistics, books and information out there to get the latest environmental news. Really think about how do you like to receive your news. Find resources that appeal to you, whether it’s reading down-to-earth blogs, more scientific studies, subscribe to major news outlets or watch YouTube videos – find a medium that speaks at your level and you actually enjoy to stay in-touch with what is going on in the green community. Education is never-ending and is so very important in being a responsible citizen of this planet.
#2.) Make a list of important issues to you.
You love our local and national parks. You want to save the rainforests. You want to stop fracking or the Keystone XL pipeline project. You want to protect animal rights. You want to clean up our water resources. You want recycle or buy organic. You are a Fair Trade advocate. Or if you are like me, maybe it’s a combination of everything! Whatever your reasons, I like to have a list of things that matter to me. Educate yourself on these issues and try to find ways to contribute to you personal cause, whether it be volunteer time, a monetary donation, or simply advocacy and awareness to your friends and family. Know the reasons WHY these issues are important to you.
#3.) Start with something simple.
How can one person save the world? Seems like a mighty big task. When it comes to saving our earth and protecting the environment, it’s hard to know where to begin. Make a short list and just start simple. Recycle at home – it’s one of the easiest things you can do that makes an immediate impact on our landfills. Invest in an inexpensive rain barrel for outdoor landscaping. Start a small organic garden next summer. Carpool to work. Take shorter, cooler showers. Use a reusable water bottle instead of a throw-away plastic one. Consider a vegetarian diet, or at least participating in Meatless Monday. These are things that I’ve included in my personal plan that are simple to undertake and really do make an impact.
#4.) Consume less and smartly.
Seems simple enough but I think people really struggle with this, including myself. It takes HUGE amounts of energy to produce new things. Clothes, toys, cars, furniture, technology, food, cosmetics – things that we purchase on a regular basis without thinking twice about. In America, we live in an extremely disposable society where if something is broke, we throw it out and simply go to the nearest big-box store and buy a new one. Really consider curbing your purchases, buying Fair Trade/local/organic or buying used at thrift stores, one of my favorite things to do! This will drastically reduce your carbon footprint and your consuming choices help protect forests, communities, and animal ecosystems around the world. You would never believe how far-traveling the impact of your purchases reach in our globalized world.
#5.) Go back to nature and simplify.
This is my life motto. I am constantly looking for ways to simplify my life. Do you sometimes feel like your life is so complicated or filled with just plain old clutter? It’s hard to think and breath clearly with so many things weighing you down, including material possessions, greed, television/entertainment and financial debt. It’s easy to get caught up in the superficial matters that our media has deemed “important” in America. Empty your life out and build it back up with things that matter. Go to nature. Take a mini-vacation to your local parks and just be. Have a garage sale or donate clothes and house goods that you never use. Start working out regularly. Create a healthy eating plan. Go outside and breath in fresh air when you find yourself stressed.
I am by no means an expert, these are just few things I’ve come to realize & want to share! I will no doubt continue learning as I search for new ways to contribute and grow as person. Is there any advice or lessons you have learned? What has been the hardest change you’ve made in your life to help our environment?