Why it's important to be imperfect
Imperfect Actions and the Environmental Movement.
Action is action and doing the best you can is 100% valid. Absolutely no one should be cast out of the environmental movement.
Helping the environment can seem overwhelming, theres so much to think about so much change needed. Theres veganism, zero waste, minimalism, buying second hand and ‘thrifting’. You also need to stop driving everywhere, buy an electric car, shop locally, recycle, use less energy, not use planes, and of course plant lots of trees.
Talk about overwhelming, you want to help the environment in some way but how do you start? How do you make a meaningful difference? Social media is a fantastic tool but it also tends to put a golden haze over everything, make everything look perfect or easy. When the reality is nothing is perfect, and all change is difficult.
Today I wanted to talk about imperfect environmentalism, and the importance of individual actions.
Granted theres a lot that needs to happen to improve the sustainability of society and theres a lot which needs to come from government, but that doesn’t mean that the small actions we can take and individual change aren’t important.
No action is too small, we just need action. Climate change is threatening the health of our planet in unprecedented ways, COVID certainly shook us up and stole our attention but climate change remains the most critical issue of our time.
We can’t save the world with a few people being the perfect environmentalist, but we can make a difference if everybody takes action, any action is better than no action.
That being said I don’t find it easy to act imperfectly, the environment is what I stand for, I am passionate about it and I believe that change needs to happen now.
I get the internal criticism, the Eco-angst, the thoughts that what I am or can do is insufficient or insignificant. I often feel too small to be fighting such a huge battle.
And then even if you can block out the internal criticisms, they are still lurking round every corner. Apparently in our society we think its okay to tear each other down, to pick on others for putting themselves out there and for standing for what they believe in.
We have way too many insecurities…
Those who put themselves out there as vegan, zero-waste or minimalist are a subject of scrutiny, comments from other environmentalists who put people down saying what they’re doing isnt the best way. That they are not ‘eco’ enough.
The zero-waste movement for example is very much in trend, but practicing zero-waste does not litterally mean you will not produce any waste in your life, it does not mean your suddenly some perfect human incapable of mistakes, and it does not mean you aren’t constrained by the area in which you live. I for one would find it almost impossible to be zero-waste in the area and situation I am in currently. There just isnt the support, the whole food stores and zero-wastes stores are non-existent, I am not saying its not possible, I am saying it would be extremely difficult.
Earlier this year the Extinction rebellion protests happened. People attended from all over the country, participants were criticised for driving there, slatered for buying food in takeaway food containers, for drinking water from plastic bottles. Extinction rebellion activists are often told they are too radical, yet others say they are not radical enough.
It seems that many of us feel criticised by the environmental movement, for not being green enough, that your actions are not enough to be a part of it.
But let’s be real, none of us are living how we should be, none of us are perfect, we are all restricted by the societies we live in.
We just all need to do something, everyone needs to do their bit, one small individual change will be the start of many more.
Your individual actions matter a great deal and being as sustainable as you can personally be is hugely important to help make the difference we need.
This might mean someone starts on a zero-waste journey whilst someone uses public transport to get around. You might turn vegan and someone else might eat local and organically. You might be able to buy an electric car but have no solar panels. Or you might have solar panels and not be power hungry, yet you still have a diesel car on the drive.
These actions aren’t all perfect, but action is action and doing the best you can is 100% valid. Absolutely no one should be cast out of the environmental movement.
Eco choices need to be become easier, it shouldn’t be harder or more expensive to preserve the planet for future generations. We need to all do what we can, we need to put pressure on the government to instil better policies and rules so that these sustainable actions become as easy for everyone to take on as possible.
We have the potential to achieve great things, stop blaming everyone else, or feeling guilty for not doing enough.
Just do something.