Updated: Jun 24
Being a so-called environmentalist comes with a lot of ups and downs. Here's what it feels like to care about saving our planet, and how to get around the negative sides of understanding climate change.
When I was five I was first inspired by my first grade french teacher to care about the health of our planet. We built and planted a sunflower garden, watered these beautiful flowers, and watched them grow over the course of my elementary school education. Each year we would play games, plant trees, have "outdoor classroom" and relax in the beauty of what we had created so many years before.
I spent a lot of my childhood playing outside, swimming, camping (probably more like glamping), and enjoying all of nature's beauty.
It wasn't until I went vegan (over 2.5 years ago- woah!) that I truly realized how passionate I was about protecting the place we all call home. Following that spark and realization, I quickly enrolled myself in Environmental Management and Sustainability Leadership certifications through college and university.
And let me tell you, it has been a roller coaster ride of emotions.
Let me mention that the reason I went vegan was because I was truly scarred by a video called Earthlings. I absolutely recommend watching this video to understand the horror movie that is the life of a factory farmed animal.HOWEVER, this movie is a literal horror scene. Please do not watch this unless you are fully prepared to see how gruesome and disgusting factory farming is. (I'm not pressuring or even suggesting anyone reading this goes vegan, but I do think it's important to understand and educate yourself on factory farming and how truly sickening it is for the lives of those animals, but also the detrimental effects it is having on people and the planet).
That being said, Earthlings really opened up my eyes to a lot of things and my education sparked so much more curiosity in me to truly understand what the heck is happening to our planet because of the everyday choices governments, businesses, and humans make. Through school, science, the internet, and travelling I feel like I have a pretty decent grasp on how humans are impacting the planet, and how I want to stop contributing to that negativity.
Being an environmentalist (to me) means that you are doing everything within your capabilities to protect our home. Now some days this is way easier than others. (If you're reading this during Covid-19, you know that waste is basically unavoidable, transit ceases to be an option for most, carpooling is dead, and life seems like- "how the heck am I ever going to be able to live how I did before"). Understanding the science of climate change and the impacts it WILL have on our planet can be really daunting. It is scary to see the lack of action being taken by governments and businesses, and it can be so overwhelming as I sometimes feel that I am just one person, I can't make a difference. But then I remember how many of you, my friends, and my family members have made changes because of Earthy Sisters and other influences. So that keeps me grounded and moving forward.
But I stay hopeful. I encourage myself to do what I can even when times are tough.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to each individual situation where you have to make a decision like "okay, my ride to work is a 25 minute bike ride, or I can drive there in 7 minutes. I know what's right for the environment, but do I put my own needs before the health of the planet"? If you can walk through life and decide when and where you think it feels right to put the environment first, and when (as it WILL happen), your own needs/convenience/ability needs to take priority.
There have been many times where I'm in a position where, yea, I buy plastic, I turn the A/C on, I didn't buy second hand or organic. And THAT'S OKAY! Or at least it is for me. Life is a game of balance, and it really helps me to not beat myself up over specific choices I make when it comes to my well being, my health, or sometimes just my preferences.
What does keep me balanced is doing what I can do when I can. Whether this means sparking a conversation with someone about environmental policy, the business case for sustainability, picking up trash while I'm out for a walk, running Earthy Sisters, making my own self-care products and avoiding plastic where I can. There are hundreds of little things I do that make me feel like I am creating positive change for the health of myself, animals, the planet, plants, and other human beings. It can be so easy to get stuck on the negative things that I do, but I really try to focus on all of the things that I AM doing.
Here are some tips on how to bring environmentalism into your life (aside from things like reduce plastic, buy second hand, DIY, etc).
Stay educated (take an online course at a local university or college)
Subscribe to online eco-magazines like Circular Economy, Eco-Connect, Verge Weekly, and Curated Consciously
Grow your own vegetables (you can see how I feel about this here)
Do an audit of your energy consumption and see where you can reduce it
EAT LESS ANIMAL PRODUCTS (girl, I'm not even going into this but just do it)
Participate in community activism for climate policy
Talk to your MP or local politicians about climate policy
PROTEST HONEY! Get out there and preach for what you believe in
You have power. You are a powerful being who can make amazing things happen if you put your mind to it. If we all put a bit of spark and determination into saving our planet, I just know that the rewards will be worth the effort. So let's do this together guys.
Lexi Teufel Earthy Sisters