“Doing ‘X’ for the earth is easy!”
“Doing ‘Y’ for the planet won’t take extra effort!”
Having worked in environmental education most of my life, I have often witnessed—and participated in—the act of “selling” people on environmental action with these promises.
But as we kick off 2022, I suggest we need to say more often:
“Doing ‘Z’ is NOT going to easy, but our environment desperately needs all of us to make the extra effort. Right. Now.”
I’m not suggesting that our “green” resolutions must involve moving off the grid and growing our own food. But we can all do at least one thing we don’t find easy or effortless, and that we may not enjoy doing.
Personal confession time.
Before our daughter was born, it pained me to imagine adding to the mountains of disposable diapers already filling global landfills. These images clashed violently with my environmental identity (putting aside the internal conflict of adding another human to an already overpopulated world, but that’s a whole other subject). So my partner and I decided we would reduce our diaper waste by acquiring an armoury of reusable ones.
They are so cute, and come in countless colourful designs! And we felt so proud of ourselves for taking this environmental action!
It’s easy and fun to choose whether you want more of the polka dots or bumblebees to cover your baby’s butt. The real action and commitment begins when you actually start changing your child multiple times a day, and try to make scrubbing poop off cloths easy and effortless.
I want to say that it’s easy and effortless and that I enjoy doing it. Maybe I just haven’t watched the number of YouTube videos necessary to unearth the secret to all of the above.
But the truth is, I find it a pain in the butt (pun intended). And that’s okay. Sometimes doing the “green thing” is going to be harder and take more of our effort and time, and that shouldn’t stop us.
The world has serious environmental challenges that are going to take serious hard work to solve. The easier and more effortless environmental actions have their place, and it’s great to adopt as many as you can. But we also need to do some heavy lifting.
So as we kick off 2022, what is at least one environmental action you will include among your New Year’s resolutions, even if it’s a pain in the butt?