How to make environmentalism your own

Photo of a recycling sign.

Environmentalism... a little change makes a big difference. CC by chrissatchwell/Flickr

Just about everyone has heard at least part of the environmentalism message. With so many options, though, it can feel easier to just not make a choice and do nothing. If you really want to be “environmentally friendly” the first thing to do is stop beating yourself up. Choose one thing and make small changes.

Issues with environmentalism

Since the 1970s and 1980s environmentalism movement has been growing. Many people started caring about the planet. “Save the planet” started to be stressed more. Earth Day was founded as many protested by chaining themselves to trees and asking for more recycling. Somewhere in the last four decades, though, the message has gone from “reduce, reuse, recycle” to a laundry list nobody can keep track of.

It won’t help to have everything changed

The biggest problem with trying to “be environmentally friendly” is how overwhelming the change can be. It seems like there is too much to do with sorting garbage, using bags over again, driving less, using cloth diapers, stopping smog and millions of other things. It is easier to do nothing at all than try to do everything. It seems like everything has to be done at once. This causes people to think it is easier to just quit.

Start a little at a time

It is easier to not do anything when there is so much to do. It’s hard to remember that the smallest thing can be huge sometimes. Don’t do it all at once. Just do one small thing. It only takes two weeks to get a habit developed, but you should probably only try one new thing per month, or even every other month. Just start with one thing. Do the easiest change first. Here is one easy example. A reusable coffee mug in the morning would be a positive change. Take public transportation to work one day a week. Shop differently. Don’t get regular fruit, try organic. It is hard to make the large and expensive changes. You can start to live better with small changes. That is what it is all about. You will become the change easily if you just make a few changes a year.

Other recent posts by bryanh