Before you place yourself into a particular box and select a descriptive word or an identifying trait, there is a group that everyone falls under—we all, for the most part, live on planet earth. Even the astronauts floating around happily above our colorful and protective sky have to come back down to the third rock from this solar system’s sun eventually.
I spent the latter part of 2019, and some portions of 2020 before I may or may not have inconveniently passed away from a bad case of the flu, interviewing people who wore their passion for mother nature proudly. I tried to get in contact with individuals who used their voices to help and defend the only habitable planet that we can reach within our lifetime. However, I also heard from other advocates about how certain issues are more important than others.
First of all, what issue you assume is more critical is entirely subjective. The best you can do when hearing about other societal problems is to learn more about them and do your best in your own way to help solve the problem. There is no one cause more significant than the other when lives are on the line. It’s when you put this thinking into every situation that you begin to see how listening, learning, and treating every living thing with equity in mind helps solve most of today’s issues.
Think about what happens after you throw something away or even say “hello” to someone. The implications of what’s to follow are what you keep in mind before you act. Use that way of thinking as your guide.
There is a quote that I love to think about when people ask me how I feel about being a vegetarian or a meat-eater by Vamsee Juluri, USF professor in her book, The Mythologist. “The only thing vegetarianism asks us philosophically is, ‘are you okay that something died?'” I’m ultimately at peace with my decision to transition to a plant-based lifestyle because I rather not contribute to unnecessary harm. Am I okay buying into something that can cause suffering? No, but that doesn’t mean that others feel that way. The best I can do to help solve the problem without putting a gun to someone’s head is to share credible information with those who are willing to listen and act as best as I can in my own life.
There was a reason why I repeated the phrase “think globally and act locally” in every episode of my nature podcast. I asked listeners to be mindful and aware of what’s happening all around them, and I invited them to take action in any way they could with eco-tips and baby steps. You don’t have to give up flights on commercial airlines to fight climate change like Greta Thunberg, but you can reduce your carbon footprint by opting to take ground public transportation or carpool when it’s accessible to you.
I genuinely believe that we can combat climate change and ensure a better future for generations to come by educating ourselves and listening to others when we can. We can even save the world if everyone consciously made small eco-friendly changes in varying aspects of our lives.