15 Jun Owning Your Environmental Impact
At this point, there isn’t a soul on Earth who isn’t aware of the environmental issues surrounding us all. Sure, some may be in denial about the severity of these issues, or their role in them– but they’re still aware. Today’s youth are plagued with eco-anxiety. They know we have to do something to change directions but are overwhelmed at where to start, or how to spark effective change. It’s time that we all- young and old– start owning our individual and collective environmental impact. And it’s time we start doing something about it.
On a recent episode of The Darin Olien Show,
I sat down with Heather White, the founder of One Green Thing. Heather is a nationally recognized conservation and environmental policy expert. And she has more than twenty years of experience leading and advising non-profit organizations focused on environmental change. Her debut book, One Green Thing: Discover Your Hidden Power to Help Save the Planet, explores how people can get effectively involved.
Heather and I discussed the real problem of eco-anxiety and ways to get past our fears and indifference to make real changes that matter. “We can create something so much better than before,” she told me. But the first step to changing our future path is to own our role in the present.
What to Change Your Environmental Impact? Focus on the Little Things.
Now, when I’m talking about owning your environmental impact, I’m not necessarily talking about adding up your exact carbon footprint and making an elaborate graph on how you can reduce it. I mean, you could certainly do that! But, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as all that. According to Heather, “You have to control what you can control.” And that means paying more attention to the little things you do every day that you could be doing better.
For example, do you still purchase and use plastic baggies for food storage? That’s an easy fix. Just stop doing that! Go through your food storage items and focus on sustainable, reusable materials like glass, ceramic, cardboard, or paper. I’m a huge mason jar fan! I use them for everything, including packing my salads and smoothies for the day. My point is, it’s the small choices that add up to big changes over time. Control what you can control.
The Hope is With the Younger Generations
Let’s face it, I’m not the one that’s going to save the world. I’m sure as hell going to do as much as I can while I’m here. But it’s the kids that have the power to save us. The younger generations– especially Gen Z– can really make a huge difference in the future of our planet. We have to encourage them, and we have to help them! “It’s up to us to let these young people know that you can do this and you’re not alone,” Heather told me. And she’s so right. Everything I do is to encourage the younger generations to step up NOW, so that we can save our future together.
And trust me, they care, they really do. It’s a common misconception that today’s youth could care less about the climate crisis or their individual environmental impact. But my conversation with Heather helped me realize the opposite. They care, they are just so overwhelmed, they don’t know where to start. Or they feel helpless because those in power who actually have the ability and means to make changes aren’t doing so.
So, what do we do to encourage them??
We stand with them!
We break through the generational barriers and work together to get our voices heard. Knowing the urgency for this, Heather focuses a lot of her time, energy and career on doing just that. After all, they’re the ones that can save us, and our future. “Our future loved ones are counting on us to make the right decisions now, “ Heather says. And like you always hear me say, making the right decisions starts with the little stuff. The things you buy, the products you use, the companies you support– it ALL matters. We vote with our dollars. So stop giving your hard earned money to companies that only care about the bottom line. Instead, focus on companies that incorporate environmental change in every business decision they make.
That may seem like a daunting task– to vet every single company before you give them your money. But it’s a necessary task. Just by financially supporting a company that has bad environmental habits, you’re contributing to that. For some inspiration on companies that actually care, you can check out these brands I support. But I promise you, there are so many more out there. And if you love a brand that isn’t doing as much as they could, TELL THEM! Email them, call them, reach out to them on social media. Change certainly doesn’t come from remaining silent, or complacent. It comes from owning your impact, standing up, speaking out, and doing something about it.