I’m going to start off by saying that this post is not even CLOSE to what I had planned for it to be. My initial plan was to do a three day series for Earth Day, discussing the 50th anniversary theme, “Climate Action”. I had a list of topics to discuss and resources to share. I had a list of tips and facts that I hoped would inspire every person who read it to take action to save our planet. But for a number of reasons that I will not bore you all with, things did not go according to plan, and this new version feels right.
The truth is, those of you who are reading this probably are already doing many of the things I would’ve listed, and you likely already know some of the information regarding climate change and climate action. And if you don’t, I would absolutely encourage you to do some reading to fill some of your time during quarantine. There is so much to learn out there, on all topics from what climate change actually is and why it’s become a crisis, to things that governments, large and small businesses/corporations, and individuals can and need to do to slow and reverse the damage. Interesting topics to look into include:
- The difference between global warming and climate change (the confusion between the two is often why you hear people saying “it was so cold this winter, global warming is fake”)
- Government policies regarding air and water pollution, protected areas and species, and climate action (history of climate policy and what is being talked about for the future)
- How climate change and global warming are contributing to habitat loss and endangered species
- The impact that ocean pollution and over-fishing have on endangered species
- Our food’s impact on the planet, and how eating more plants/less animal products can greatly help the planet
- The fashion/textile industry’s impact on the planet
- The amount of single-use items we use globally per year, and the many easy ways that you can shift towards a more low-waste lifestyle
- How and what you can properly recycle in your city
- How to compost, grow your own herbs, etc. at home
- What the most impactful things you can do as an individual are in order to reduce your carbon footprint and to reduce your impact on the planet
I wish that I could live my life more perfectly in a way that would not only be free of harm toward the earth, but that would benefit it. Like in all aspects of life, it is easy to at times feel as though you are doing a great job, and then to suddenly feel like there is no point in trying after you look at someone else who is doing better than you. It can be discouraging looking at your efforts in comparison to the efforts of others. But when it comes to caring for the Earth (and most other things in life), it is not being perfect or being the best that is important. In fact, I don’t even think perfect is a thing that exists. What matters is how much you care and what you do because of how much you care.
We all have different passions in life, and it isn’t realistic for us all to care the same amount about each and every social issue or initiative, or to be interested in learning extensively about the same things. This is something that has taken some time for me to realize. I’ve become so passionate about certain things, and at times cannot fathom how others do not share the same passions. But then I remember that they likely pour their heart and energy into other things that I might still care about, but that might not fuel the same kind of fire in me that it does for them.
The beautiful thing about us all being different is that we all bring something different to the table. The world would not go ’round if we all had the same passions. So it is okay if you are not wanting to dedicate your free time to researching all of the topics I listed above. It’s okay if you aren’t ready to completely ditch meat, eggs, and dairy. It’s okay if you still buy the odd single-use water bottle or piece of clothing that you know you don’t need. Everyone is on their own path and has their own priorities.
But my hope is that when it comes to protecting and loving our planet, we all care at least a little bit. Because whether or not you feel the same level of passion as I do, it is our home, and we rely on its health and longevity for our own. We do not all have to be completely zero-waste, vegan, carbon-neutral individuals in order to show that we care about our planet. When we take that perfectionist approach, it becomes an incredibly intimidating and seemingly impossible way to live, and it leads to judgement, criticizing, and hypocrisy. Because no one is perfect, whether they want to admit it or not. So trying to be perfect will only drive you crazy and take away the fun and rewarding feeling of the challenge.
I feel so grateful that I have found the fulfillment that I am brought through learning and living for the benefit of the planet to the best of my abilities. In my experience, the most frustrating misconception is that making these changes is difficult, and that somehow your life will be less enjoyable if you do so. Change does not have to equal limitation. For me, not buying things I do not need has made me appreciate things I have, and with a bit of time, it has proven to be quite simple to live more sustainably. Trying my hand at growing my own herbs, and grocery shopping at bulk stores have become a source of joy, rather than inconvenience. Not eating animal products has enriched my life and my love of food, rather than creating restriction.
When you think about it, we (by “we” i mean all humans and non-human animals) are all here on the same planet with the one real goal, and that is to live happy lives that are filled with love and meaning. The rest is all noise. So whatever it is that gives you happiness and meaning, and allows you to give and feel love – keep doing that. And let’s all give Mother Earth and all of her creatures a little more love, while we’re at it.
With peace and love and lattes,