POSTS BY CATEGORY
// SUSTAINABLE EXPERIMENTS //
// ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES //
// CONSERVATION EFFORTS //
// STORIES OF SUSTAINABILITY //
When I was 13 years old, I went to see the Peruvian rainforest. My middle school science teacher organized the trip, opening it to any student willing to participate in fundraisers and earn the money for airfare and accommodation. We would explore the astounding variety of flora and fauna, meet the local tribes who depend on the forest to survive, and learn about some of the issues facing the rainforest such as slash-and-burn farming and illegal logging.
I sold candybars and washed cars and manned auction booths throughout my 8th grade year, and even sent out support letters to friends and family across the country. Most people sent twenty dollars. An elderly relative of mine sent an angry letter, warning me against the secular evils of environmentalism and chastising my parents for allowing me to go to the rainforest to learn about nature. She worried I’d be brainwashed, somehow.
Fortunately, I have well-mannered rebellious streak, and this only increased my resolve to make a difference on the planet earth. In my teenage years, I experimented with things like recycling and vegetarianism. Call them gateway drugs, but those acts of conservation only led to further experiments in conscientious living such as bicycling to work, carrying reusable shopping bags in my purse, minimalism and composting.
As long as “global warming” doesn’t come up, terms like “green,” “eco-friendly,” and “sustainability” don’t rock the boat in ways that they used to, at least in my experience. The knowledge is there, the heart is there, but I often find a huge disconnect between intent and action. Perhaps because a total earth-conscious lifestyle makeover looks very overwhelming- even to me.
I’m not sure when sustainability became an all-or-nothing issue, though. One organic apple bought is better than none, as is one bicycle trip to the supermarket, one reusable shopping bag remembered, one lightswitch turned off. Small actions, when multipled by others, can make an enourmous differences. And small actions, when practiced, can eventually become habit. And better habits can, one day, reshape our planet and our societies.
These are steps. Small pieces of information, small changes, small experiments in living more thoughtfully. Because there are some who can jump straight into the pool on a cloudy day, and some who first dip their toes to test the water. The important thing is not how we get in, it’s that we try and to learn to swim.