I am so excited to bring you some content today from a new friend of mine Kristen Mandala. Kristen started @The.Greener.Good online platform as a means of communicating with those interested in the sustainability movement. Her Instagram account, quickly grew to produce a free e-book ‘ECO MADE EASY’ and after meeting Ani Wells, has now expanded into The Greener Good Consulting; a Toronto-based company working with individuals in the home, school or office by giving them the tools to become more environmentally-conscious through events and workshops.
So, without further delay, please enjoy Kristen’s amazing article that she is sharing with us today all about the POWER OF ONE.
The environmental movement has been at the forefront of the news cycle for the past year, with activists like Greta Thunberg inspiring over 7 million of predominantly young individuals to participate in protests across the globe this past week. It’s easy to see her speeches at the UN or pictures of her just a year ago in Sweden ‘School Striking for Climate’ all alone and feel inspired by the incredible bravery of this 16-year-old girl who has become the face of a movement. It’s perhaps just as easy, however, to feel overwhelmed by these stories and feel as though there is no possible way someone with a full-time job, bills, and social commitments could ever contribute so positively to the world.
And that is where we would disagree.
A major issue I have witnessed with the environmental movement is people feeling as though they do not have a right to contribute unless they are behaving like “the perfect environmentalist”. Whether this means an electric car, eliminating animal products, going zero-waste or anything in-between, this idea of what it means to be truly “eco” is a fallacy. Perhaps this is borne of social media’s ability to exclusively share one’s highlight reel, allowing people to make their lives seem curated, waste-free and perfectly unattainable within a more conventional daily structure. Whatever the cause, it is the root of much of the apathy and inaction plaguing the climate crisis movement.
The climate crisis itself is quite complex, with intersections across industries, government agencies, and continents that will have a growing impact on each of us. The solutions, on the other hand, are much more simple. Yes, we must exercise our democratic right to vote in elections; yes, we must put pressure on our representatives to push through green legislation… But, we also have incredible power as individuals and as consumers to make our mark every single day.
It’s rare for an individual in an urban setting to go an entire day without purchasing anything. Whether that something is a coffee on our way to work or a bottle of wine on the way home, it’s almost unavoidable and ingrained into our routine. This can be seen as problematic, contributing to our convenience-driven culture that thrives on overconsumption OR it can be an OPPORTUNITY to create change through a previously inconsequential action.
By understanding and using the power we have, we create a ripple effect that is both positive and far-reaching. By buying a coffee on our way to work with a reusable mug we may remind someone to bring theirs the next day, all without engaging directly with that person. By ordering take-out food and bringing our own container we may inspire another to do the same next time. These small actions are a simple but empowering means of being the change we want to see in the world.
An example I use often is the ‘Pick-up Three’ rule. Whenever I leave my home, whether it’s to a meeting or a social event, I try to find at least three pieces of litter and dispose of them properly on my way. Although these three individual pieces don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, I know that I am putting energy into making the spaces I care about cleaner, while also inspiring others who see me to consider the power of their actions. I have received nothing but positive reactions, from people giving me a silent thumbs-up, applaud as they walk by, or a kind smile, it’s a beautiful ripple effect that takes no time away from my regular routine!
When talking to others, I often mention the fact that we work so hard for our money, but are often quick to put it into companies that have no regard for our health, the health of the environment or the welfare of their own workers. When we vote with our dollars in a way that aligns with our values, we send a strong message to these companies that in order for them to earn our trust as customers, they must first earn ours. This can be seen across the food and cosmetic industries with the huge rise of vegan, cruelty-free, and environmentally conscious products that have flooded the market. If we want companies to care about the environment, we have to show them that we do too!
At the end of the day, no one is expecting anyone to completely overhaul their lives, quit their jobs, sell all their belongings and move to an eco-commune. We need to find ways to incorporate real sustainable changes in to our lives that last. This isn’t a fad diet, this isn’t a month-long eco-challenge. The climate crisis is real, it’s urgent and it’s something we all have the power to fix.
Here are 5 real changes you can make today:
- Reduce or Eliminate Animal Products from your Diet
- Reduce Airplane Travel
- Reduce Use of Single-Use Plastics
- Rely on Public Transportation when possible
- Try your best, with friends! We have years of ingrained social behaviour which can make change difficult. Include friends, coworkers, and loved ones to hold ourselves accountable and make the changes more fun. See any mishaps as learning experiences and keep going!
We are living in the most influential years of our humanity, let’s use this incredible opportunity to create a world that prioritizes wellness, compassion, community, and cooperation instead of accepting the world we have been handed down. We’ve got this.
Thank you so much Kristen for sharing this powerful message and I hope that you all found this super valuable. If you want to get in contact with Kristen be sure to follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and check out her website to find out more information on her and The Greener Good Consulting.
QUESTION: WHAT WAS YOUR #1 TAKE AWAY FROM THIS POST? WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING TO DUE YOUR PART?
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Your trusty, gutsy gal,
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