As many of you know, I am a large proponent of living green. In fact it is one of my newest passions. Both my husband and I have been working on converting our home to a green home, one that is free of chemicals and toxins that are bad for us as well as the environment. We have also been working on saving energy by installing a programmable thermostat, keeping our temperatures cooler in winter, and unplugging electronics when they are not in use. I quite enjoy the challenge, but this last week I have found myself asking the question ‘Are my efforts futile?’
It all started with a conversation with a family member a few days ago. We were talking about my new vegetarian diet with the aim of going completely vegan. I was sharing with them the reasons why I was making this lifestyle change. Apart from the obvious health benefits and the adversion to supporting commercial farming, I am doing this to be green. Did you know that commercial farming is the largest producer of greenhouse gases? Anyways, as the conversation went on,the family member said this “Until China and India start cleaning up their act, I don’t see a point in putting forth all of this green effort. What really is it going to accomplish?” As we discussed this further, they explained to me why they felt this way. “When one third of this planet’s population is participating in non-green activities and polluting our atmosphere, what does it matter if I throw away some extra gargbage?”
These statements really got me thinking. In some ways, I can see their point of view. When over 2 billion people are creating pollution at such a rampant rate, what kind of influence do the green activities of a few hundred thousand have?
I am well aware that not everyone in Canada or the USA live an eco friendly life, so when looking at these figures and at the number comparison of 200,000 (estimation): 2,000,000,000, I can’t help but ask myself if my efforts are futile? Is it just a matter of time before this planet dies?
Do I really have the power to change the future for my children by using reusable shopping bags, by not eating meat, by turning off my lights, by making my own compost and growing veggies, etc? Are my efforts even going to make the slightest bit of change?
I guess, the honest answer is, I don’t know. I really don’t know if the small changes I have made in my life will amount to any environmental benefit in the future, but interestingly, that doesn’t make me want to stop. I like knowing that I am setting an example and doing my part. I am a strong believer in accountability and responsibility and I live my life accordingly. I do enjoy using green beauty products and green cleaners. I love the taste of organic produce and fresh homemade goods. I know I would miss those things if they disappeared out of my life. I am truly hooked on green living.
So what do you think? Are our green efforts futile or can we together build a momentum that motivates others to live as we do so that our planet actually has a chance at survival?
By no means is it futile! People like us (we share the same philosophy) can make a difference. Not only do our habits and actions help the green movement, by writing about being/living green we spread the word that doing so is a personal choice that with tangible results. Our readers, even if they only choose one of our lifestyle suggestions, helps the earth. Think of it like compound interest or a snowball affect. Keep it up Miss T!
Thank you for your encouragement. You’re right, we do make a difference it just gets discouraging sometimes when you see others that aren’t. At least we can cheer each other on and share tips. Together we can set an example that will hopefully one day go viral. Keep it up too you two.
I think we definitely have the power to talk and influence change in our friends and family to make smarter purchases and behavior changes for a more sustainable world.
Thanks Jenna for your encouragement. We do try to set a good example for our family and friends; it just gets a bit frustrating when they can’t see the positive changes they can make. I applaud you in your green living efforts. Keep it up. At least we can find encouragement from each other.
I remember in Ecology glass, my professor said that 70% of all recycled things gets thrown in the dumpster by the recycle collectors! I was discouraged after that……..
I have heard that same fact. Part of me wants to drive to the dump to see if it is actually true although the last time I was there I almost got sick because I was so disgusted by the amount of stuff people just through away that in turn pollutes this planet. I am trying to keep my chin up and remember that every little bit counts…at least I hope.
@Financial Samuari – I don’t believe that fact. In our city they tell us what is acceptable then recycle it. The issue, and likely a large part of the source of the stat you provided, is that people toss EVERYTHING into the blue bins and the garbage gets treated like garbage.
@Miss T – top article in or weekend reading. Loved this one.
I have seen both situations happen. I think the big issue is that cities have not spent enough money to get people on the conservative track…most cities have a hard enough time getting garbage and litter picked up. There needs to be a push for recycling and waste management politically before any major changes can occur.
The reduction in greenhouse gases has to start somewhere with someone – otherwise it will never happen. While individually it won’t make a difference, collectively it will. Good on you for taking the first steps.
@Jim Thanks for your encouragement. I would like to do my part and will continue to do so…I just wish there were more out there doing the same.
The only thing you have the power to change is you. And then, lead by example. So no, I don’t think it’s futile at all.
Thanks 101. This is the motto I try live by- do what I can do.