I couldn’t be more happy to be introducing this month’s challenge ‘Green Please.’ Of all our challenges, this one speaks most directly to my heart. As Meagan said to me on the phone the other night while we were discussing the blog, “Kyla this one is your baby!” She’s right: environmentalism is my greatest passion (you may remember me saying so in my bio), and I try my best to live my values as someone who is deeply concerned about the health of our planet. Yet, like many of us, I struggle with feeling overwhelmed by the daunting news reports and wonder where/how to begin. I cannot count how many times I have heard a news story on the radio or watched one on television and asked myself questions such as:
- “How can I actually make a difference?”
- “How can a regular person make more of a positive impact on the environment?”
- “Why isn’t the government stepping up?”
- “How do I keep an optimistic outlook in the face of scientific research that repeatedly points to continued environmental decline?”
- “Is it too little too late?”
I can’t even pretend to have the answers to many of these questions, but I do somehow find a way to keep trucking along on my mission to a greener world. I simply cannot ignore the reality and look the other way. And, it’s not just because I have a kid that I’m all of a sudden concerned about the world. I have felt this passionate (and yes, sometimes I get riled up about this topic – my apologies ahead of time!) since I was in elementary school (just ask my parents). Work colleagues regularly witness me picking recyclables out of the ‘garbage’ cans at the office, and neighbours see me stooping down while muttering angrily to myself as I pick up other people’s litter. To be honest, it takes great restraint for me not to reach over and take recyclables out of kitchen trash cans when I’m visiting various friend’s homes! (The only thing that gets in my way is my fear of being rude!!!)
The truth is this: like this month’s picture demonstrates, we hold the planet’s wellbeing in our hands, now more than ever. We have the knowledge and awareness – and we’re quickly obtaining the technology – to do something about this growing problem. (Does this sound too preachy???)
I’m going to put my perspective out there right now: I don’t think environmentalism has to be all or nothing. In fact, it is my opinion that it is precisely this all or nothing thinking that gets in the way of everyday people making a change. It’s simply too overwhelming. I am going to invite you to consider approaching environmentalism in moderation; perhaps view it from a harm-reduction perspective.
I’ll share an example: about 10 years ago I came to the conclusion that I was using too many products in aerosol cans. As such, I decided that I needed to reduce my consumption of aerosol packaging. After trying numerous non-aerosol hairsprays and discovering that I hated them all, I realized that I had a choice to make: keep the aerosol hairspray or keep the aerosol shaving cream. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I enjoy a good hairstyle. Thus, I have been using the old fashioned soap and water to shave my legs for over a decade now. It’s not perfect. But, it’s 50% less aerosol cans in the landfill from me.
My challenge this month is to re-aquaint myself with my passion and to push my own environmentalism forward. I also want to demonstrate small, manageable ways to make a difference. I am excited to take this journey with you!