It's always nice to know where your peers stand on issues important to you. I posted four questions on my Instagram story for my followers to respond to - and the feedback I got blew me away.
Q1: Which environmental action have you taken that you're the most proud of?
In reading the responses to this question, I was thrilled to see just how many people are making efforts in their day-to-day lives to think and act more environmentally consciously. Actions big or small are equally important in our fight against the climate crisis.
Some of my favorite responses to this question include:
"I'm most proud of choosing Environmental Policy as my future career path!"
"I'm working on cutting plastic out of my life completely."
"Truly trying to reduce waste, plastic use, buying unnecessary things, etc."
"Reducing my waste, being conscious of what I'm disposing of."
"Influencing my family to recycle more because that'll last a lifetime and is more than just me."
"Cutting use of all transportation, almost all plastics, and encouraging others."
"General lifestyle changes in diet, energy consumption, product consumption."
"Making a shift towards buying everything secondhand unless I absolutely need it brand new!"
"A low waste life."
"Vegan and almost zero waste now."
"Cutting down on meat/dairy."
"Glass water bottle...used to use a lot of plastic."
"I've gone as paperless as possible this year for school."
"My city eliminated plastic bags...at this point, bringing my own bags has become such a habit, or asking for no bags and carrying out what I have. Also, using a reusable water bottle is super easy but reduces the plastic I use."
"Made my own products for my horse instead of repeatedly buying plastic."
"Picking up trash on hiking trails (gotta start small)."
"Reusable bags, straws, and thrift shopping!"
"Turning lights off in a room I'm not in and unplugging items I'm not using."
Q2: Is there a "green" habit you don't have time to start practicing?
The number one response to this question: composting. Another common theme: time. I've found that we live in a society that prioritizes convenience over all else, and when it comes down to it, landfills and plastic-wrapped products are the easiest and cheapest methods available to us. I believe that we must all make our goals (even the smallest ones) priorities, and with dedication, we can see them through.
Peer responses included:
"I can't compost in my building and I haven't looked for resources."
"Composting! I really want to do it!"
"Composting at school."
"I want to start composting at my mom's house but the bin we have attracts rats and raccoons."
"Vegetarian/vegan diet is too big of a change with all the other commitments that I have!"
"Buying bulk (less plastic/packaging) to home-cook all my own meals."
"I can't really go out and do as many beach cleanups and things as I'd like to."
"Finding a proper way to re-use all my supposedly disposable plastic goods."
"I need to make time to work towards becoming completely zero waste."
"I feel like living zero waste is super extreme and hard as a college student who doesn't have a lot of time/money to seek out products and methods to do that. I respect people that do it though."
"We make time for things important to us!!"
Q3: Climate change is erasing our future. Are you willing to take action against it?
In all the responses to this question, I didn't receive any "no's". In fact, every single response was positive, with answers ranging from "yes!" to the following:
"Yes, every chance I get I try to be aware of how I'm impacting our future in a positive manner."
"Sure! When people tell me about little changes I can make in my life to help I'm totally down for it."
"Yes, I don't drive a car or consume beef and would support a carbon tax."
Q4: Do you have any questions or concerns about what you can do?
In looking at the number of responses for each question, this one had the least by far. I interpreted that statistic as a good sign - many people seem to be proud of what they're doing and aware of what still needs to be done in the future. We can always ask questions, learn something new, and work together, and I believe those things are the biggest priorities of all.
"I wish I could do more."
"Always, and I'm always willing to receive advice on how to be better."
"I'm concerned that big corporations don't care about their environmental impact."
"Where can I go to start researching how to start the zero waste life?"
"How can we show profit-based institutions that going green is BETTER for business?"
To answer these final two questions, let me direct the reader right back to their own community. From activist groups to city councils, resources are abundant when you reach out and ask questions. Contributing your knowledge can be educational for everyone involved, and brainstorming ideas can lead to real solutions. And, with the help of social media and the Internet, it's easier than ever to find people with similar interests and concerns and to learn from them.
So, don't lose track of what's important. Do what you can, share your knowledge, and remember that there is no action too small.