If you’re anything like me… your friends threaten to cut down a tree every time you give them “the look.” Perhaps the look was meant to go unnoticed but you and your friend both know you have cold, filtered water in the fridge. And that plastic water bottle is bound to end up in the stomach of a whale that happens to beach on the world’s last coral reef when it starves to death.
That look means there is already a lecture running through my head. I know it and so does everyone else.
I’ve been having difficulty lately having a conversation with my friends about anything sustainable. Choosing not to have that water bottle, turning off lights, recycling those cans, taking the trolley instead of your car. Especially when those friends think it’s all just a bit much.
What’s worse is feeling like a hypocrite– especially when I can see myself making decisions that are different, but certainly no more sustainable. For example, this past semester I did Semester at Sea (which I hope to blog about in the future) and traveled across the globe on a ship. In those 4 months on a ship, I alone used 10 years of fossil fuels in 4 months (a professor estimated that we used the average of over 6000 years worth–based on the average American– total). And, according to this: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/ … I would need 5.5 planets to support my lifestyle even without SAS.
But here’s the thing: every time I mention sustainability, I know somewhere deep down, my friend is thinking about it. And I want to live up to my own recommendations. When it comes time to make a decision between what is best and what is convenient, each time the decision becomes better.
So, I’ve decided to write myself a few tips (and perhaps request a few in return?) for future conversations:
- Remember that being sustainable isn’t about being perfect all the time. It’s about moving toward a lifestyle the world (and all of its plants/animals) can support. Even when someone decides to have their meal in a plastic container wrapped in a plastic bag with plastic utensils, you don’t have to be the person who points it out.
- Let someone like Bill Nye the Science Guy explain things for you. Why should you have to be the bad guy?
- Ask them to do quizzes so they know you’re not the only one in on this.
- Mention something you read. Don’t direct it at anyone in particular.
- Talk about your own flaws.
- Talk about why it matters to you. Mention babies. Babies are always an important part of being sustainable.