Tag Archives: waste

It’s Time to Save the World

“Is my English OK? Is the microphone on?” asked Greta Thunberg, in one of her most recent addresses. “Because I’m beginning to wonder.”

Laughter from the audience.

It wasn’t a joke. No one seems to be listening.

Nine years ago, when I was Greta’s age, I wasn’t aware. I wasn’t politically, globally, socially, environmentally aware. I wasn’t aware of what our biggest problems were–or that I, as a kid, could do anything about it, even if I did know what was happening in the world.

Nine years ago, I was LARPing (live-action role playing). For those who don’t know, LARP is a game wherein you create a character for yourself, dress up in costume, and run around in the woods at night, fighting faux villains with foam sticks. It’s like playing make-believe in the backyard when you were little, but on a larger scale, with maybe a better production value.

LARP comes in a number of forms, but the game I played was mostly like Dungeons & Dragons. It was a fantasy game. Swords and sorcery. Lightning bolts. Storming the castle. All of that.

While I knew that the events in the game weren’t “real” and that the character I played wasn’t “real,” they always felt important. They felt bigger than the small “reality” I actually lived in. I often felt that my character was better than me. She was stronger, prettier, freer. She had more goodness in her; more to give. I wanted to be like her in real life.

This disconnect–the idea that my character was false and somehow separate from me–affected my growth in a number of ways. I could write a book on it. There’s a lot to unpack. But the point here is that even after I managed to quit the game, I had a hard time developing an idea of who I was without that character.

Recently, with the changing of the seasons, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia. It would be the start of LARP season now, if I was still playing.

I’m still sorting through it, but one of the things that finally occurred to me was that I could be like the heroic character I used to play. I already was like her. She came from me.

But there were still situational differences, systematic differences between that character’s world and mine, dragging me down.

I posted this on Facebook:

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And, only days later, the sentiment was echoed by somebody else:

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I’ve been flailing for a solution. Something I could do to help the environment, and reconcile the reality of my apparent helplessness with the idea of once having played at being someone courageous and able to create change.

In this video, Jane Goodall advises people to act locally. “Quite honestly,” she says, “if you think globally, you get depressed.” Break it down, then. Start with what you know you can do. Do something. Even if it might seem small. “We’re all interconnected.”

I’ve been worrying myself sick. I woke up today with a sore throat, and a headache, presumably from my newfangled teeth grinding habit. In an anxious, somewhat dissociated haze, I drove to the store for some groceries, just to get out of the house. Everywhere, meat and dairy. Things packaged in plastic. Delicious things that I only felt bad about craving. I bought one of those chocolate bars that claims to help endangered species, and felt doubtful about its impact, but I hoped.

On my way home, it seemed like all I could see was trash. Scattered along the side of the road, accumulating in the ditches, washed up along the curb. Plastic bags blowing in the wind and caught up in bushes.

Enough is enough.

I found a metal stick–one of those garden hooks for hanging bird feeders or little candle pots–and I filed the end to a point on my dad’s bench grinder. I walked across the street to the park outside my house, and I attacked the garbage in the rain garden. I chased it through the foliage, piercing it with my makeshift rapier, collecting its remains.

Maybe this will help.

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Photo by Robert Stuart Lowden

I’m an adventurer. It’s my job.

And for all the shitheads out there who consume without thinking, and leave their trash lying around; for the people who continue to make a mess of the world, I have just one message:

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Healing Nature by Becoming Mindful Consumers

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Even though we know something is inherently wrong why do we continue to do these things? Finding a cohesive resolution for dealing with humans negative affects on the environment can leave many feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated to take action since the scope is vast. We’ve all seen videos of Arctic ice melting around a baby polar bear left to its demise. We know that this is a result of global warming and that all of those consequences are due to human’s disregard for the environment. Constantly showing people the penalties of their actions often times desensitizes their abilities to see past the issue which in turn will hamper their ability to even begin to deal with resolutions. We must modify the narrative by displaying opportunities for people to take responsibility with simple solutions they can adopt in their daily life. Teaching a dog a new trick through punishment of a whip will leave behind a battered spirit afraid to show affection. Take the same dog and apply a different method involving an incentive such as a treat and you’ll get the same results and an ally for life. Let’s use this in relation to how we speak to people about changing their ways on how they interact with environmental issues to encourage motivation not fear. The United States Environmental Protection Agency coined a motto “ reduce, reuse, and recycle”. This slogan has created a movement that promotes individuals gaining knowledge on how they can take action with simple solutions to help them, their community and the environment by saving money, energy and natural resources.

Here are a few simple choices you can make that lead to a better planet:

  • Do Meatless Monday, you can save 2,400 gallons of water, which would save more water than you can by not showering for six months.
  • Reusing clothing instead of trashing last season’s threads will not only save you money but you’d be happy to know your not supporting an industry that uses 16% of the world’s pesticides.
  • Recycling food waste by using left over scraps to fertilize your garden not only cuts down on your trash bill but also can reduce your carbon footprint and give life to your plants.

There’s a ton of ways that one can alter their day in a positive way to contribute to healing humans stamp on Mother Nature. With the preceding examples I aspire to suggest an alternate to the punishment versus reward method to reframe our approach to how we solicit responses to environmental issues through narratives. Simple actions individuals make can lead to a snowball effect of others adopting the same habits, which can create a vessel for a socially conscious movement towards legislation and regulations supporting environmental healing. To elicit change one must sacrifice the comforts of their privileges. Your individual action directly affects industries that are notoriously costly to the environment. Consumer choices will drive the market in a different direction, which in turn makes companies change their products to ensure they’re meeting the demands of their consumers. Ask for what is right by putting your money where your mouth is and become a Mindful Consumer.