While the COVID-19 lockdown proved a trying time for human beings (to say the least), the environment enjoyed a bit of a respite. Studies have indicated that with fewer people milling about and carrying on life as usual, water, air, and noise pollution levels significantly decreased in cities throughout the world, which also greatly benefited the ecological system. On the other hand, our production of waste greatly increased, due to a surplus of single-use medical supplies, as well as a huge uptick in online shopping and restaurant take-out. Now that the severity of COVID-19 is gradually lessening, and many of us have begun to establish a “new normal” for living our everyday lives, it’s imperative to refocus our energies on finding approaches to combat climate change that are both meaningful and long-lasting.
It’s true that we, as a society, have a big mountain to climb when it comes to our environmental problems. But there’s good news: There are many ways for you to personally make a difference.
In this article we'll take a look at:
- Zero Waste: The Cycle of Conservation, Production, and Reuse
- The More You Know, the More You Can Help
- Your Voice Makes All the Difference!
- A Few Ways to Get Started
- More Helpful Resources
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world” — and his words remain relevant to our task: Many heroic journeys begin with one voice, and that voice can be yours. You can be the one to tip the scales in favor of the entire world by proactively being an eco-friend and contributing to the environmental movement.
Zero Waste: The Cycle of Conservation, Production, and Reuse
Zero waste means using our valuable resources to render them sustainable through reuse, recycling, and conservation. The aim is to consider the entire lifecycle of your products, processes, and means of use.
And here's where you come in: By using your unique talents, you can become an influencer who inspires others to become influencers who inspire others to become influencers and so on…until the whole world is uplifted!
The More You Know, the More You Can Help
With so much false information in the world, it’s hard to know if you’re helping your cause or hindering it…unless you do your research. For example, the concern over paper and plastic waste bags led countless well-meaning people to start shopping with cloth tote bags. Ironically, a recent New York Times article reported that “an organic cotton tote needs to be used 20,000 times to offset its overall impact of production, according to a 2018 study by the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark. That equates to daily use for 54 years — for just one bag.”
That news can be somewhat crushing to those searching for ways to incorporate small acts of environmental advocacy into their daily lives. Where, then, can you find verified information that you can pass along to help the cause? Consider starting with resources such as Planet Aid’s blog; galvanizing movies, including Woody Harrelson’s award-winning film “Kiss the Ground” and the documentary “Fantastic Fungi,” which features mycologist Paul Stamets and best-selling authors Michael Pollan and Andrew Weil, and Vandana Shiva’s heralded film, “The Seeds of Change”; or continually updated climate news sites, like Environmental New Network.
Your Voice Makes All the Difference!
Our global community is filled with individuals, each offering unique talents — special ways to spread good, useful information that can save our planet. At TheLittleLabs, we love telling stories through motion, so we’ve put our talents to use and created this little video about sustainability and zero waste.
See more about the process of making this video on our portfolio.
It’s our hope that teaching others about our cause in an accessible, uplifting way will encourage others, like you, to join us on this journey. See how it works?
A Few Ways to Get Started
- Use your voice: Share your values, skills, enthusiasm, and actions in everyday conversations, on social media, and in your community. Make a real impact on the ways other people think and act just by using yourself as an example. Encourage others to bike to work or take public transportation with you, tell everyone about your favorite sustainable businesses, or promote sustainable forms of energy — and be prepared to explain why these actions are so impactful. Enthusiastically telling as many people about what you’ve learned is not only interesting but inspiring! Enthusiasm is contagious, and everyone wants to feel like they’re making a difference in the world around them.
- Use your skills: We all have a special skill set. Whether you’re good with your hands, artistically gifted, great at teaching, or something else, chances are you can put your talents to good use in saving the planet!
Love gardening? Learn to xeriscape, then pass along the knowledge to your neighbors! Passionate about surfing or scuba diving? Build a community of like-minded people who get together to clean up the oceans! Help your neighbors install solar panels, organize clothing swaps, start a program at your children’s school to teach kids about endangered animals and plants! The possibilities are limitless!
- Join other people/organizations: Plenty of inspiring people have been working on big solutions to environmental issues through sustainability, permaculture, ocean clean-ups, zero emissions vehicles, energy storage, saving coral reefs, and so much more. Network with these kinds of organizations, and you’ll exponentially increase your influence over cleaning up the earth.
- Get out and vote: By supporting environmental-advocates at the ballot box, you’ll create powerful allies, representing millions of voices like yours, whose job it is to fight for protection of our planet and an infrastructure that takes our fragile earth into consideration. Read about the power of public opinion in pushing for environmental legislation, as well as the one-woman powerhouse Shiva Vandana, whose tireless environmentalism is dramatically making a difference worldwide.
Curious about how the next generation has entered the movement? Read about environmentalists from age 13 to 25, including 21-year-old hip hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez from Boulder, Colorado, who’s using his art and music to inspire people to make a difference for the planet. Martinez is the youth director of Earth Guardians, an organization that inspires and trains youth to be more environmentally savvy. Martinez has served as a plaintiff in the Colorado fracking lawsuit, which seeks to put a stop to this damaging practice, and has sued the US government for failing to act on climate change.
More Helpful Resources
If you find yourself getting discouraged (we’ve all been there!), remember that a quick look around the internet can pick your spirits back up — you just need to know where to look. As you move forward, just remember one heart-warming thing: There are millions of good people in the world who are on your side, and we’re all working together to make a difference!
How to be a global citizen:
Lowering our carbon footprint:
35 Ways to Reduce Carbon Footprint
How Communities Have Defined Zero Waste
Saving the Planet:
Save Planet Earth