Episode #1: you might be an environmentalist if

     

There are more environmentalists out there than you might think—and you may even be one of them! We’ll look at 3 myths surrounding the label “environmentalist” and how they lead khổng lồ the negative stereotyping that keeps many of us from feeling like we “qualify” as environmentalists.

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Transcript

Hi! Welcome lớn The Everyday Environmentalist podcast, a show dedicated lớn helping you cultivate simple, smart, sustainable habits for a greener future.

I’m Rachel, và this is episode number 1: You Might Be an Environmentalist If…

Introduction

So before we begin, allow me to lớn introduce myself. I’m Rachel, & by all accounts I am a fairly regular person. On the outside, I live a very average life with a husband, two small children, I have a house & a yard and a cat và all the things.

But on the inside, I am an environmentalist at heart, & I have positioned my very real and deep concern for the environment as sort of a touchstone in my life that tends to lớn drive a lot of my actions và decisions.

So, although no one I know would probably điện thoại tư vấn me an environmentalist, they do, I think, see that I bởi things a little differently, & either they are inspired by it & want khổng lồ talk more about it—which I am super excited lớn do—or maybe they, like, scratch their heads a little bit and just go on, thinking, “Oh, that Rachel character, she’s a little quirky.” That’s OK. I don’t mind either way.

And even though I’m not your stereotypical environmentalist—Like, you know, I haven’t sold all of my possessions to lớn go live off-grid in New Zealand or anything like that—I am still an environmentalist. I’ve just decided khổng lồ be an environmentalist while still enjoying a lifestyle that mainly conforms khổng lồ modern Western standards. And if you’re interested, I’d like to show you how you can bởi the same.

And that’s pretty much what this podcast is all about. We’re going to lớn talk about bringing environmentalism into the mainstream. & we’re going to vày this by looking at the little shifts we can make in our thinking và in our habits lớn live greener every day. We’re going to giới thiệu ideas for solving common environmental conundrums that kind of crop up in our life from day lớn day, we’re going to take a second, third, & fourth look at our patterns of consumption và try to divorce ourselves from the toxic relationship with consumerism writ large. We’re also going khổng lồ empower ourselves with the knowledge & skills we need khổng lồ make our homes a center of production rather than consumption và also lớn feed our basic human desire to lớn be creators. Meanwhile, we’re going khổng lồ encourage each other lớn keep moving forward as we each write our own green-living story.

So, I know those are some lofty aspirations. But I truly believe that it’s possible to marry green living khổng lồ whatever lifestyle you desire for yourself—that might be one that’s intentional in its simplicity or it could be spontaneous in its multifaceted abundance. The real important thing is just khổng lồ see environmentalism as a part of your life và not the whole enchilada.

So really quickly, a few disclaimers: I’m not a scientist. I’m not a climatologist. We are going lớn reference some of the problems facing our environment from time to time because they provide the subtext for our efforts khổng lồ live more green, but the problems aren’t really the main focus of this show.

The main focus of the show is on how to lớn take kích hoạt to address those problems. So in that vein, I am also not an expert in hardly anything. Most of my skills and habits have been self-taught, but at least that means if I can do it, you can vì it. Please don’t ever take my advice as law. Everything we are going to discuss here is a suggestion & a framework for thinking through our green-living aspirations & then putting them into action. But please be responsible & consider your own situation và particulars before acting on anything I say.

Overview

Alright, so, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about what is in store for you in this episode!

Today we are going lớn answer the question: What is an environmentalist.

We’re also going khổng lồ discuss the term “environmentalist,” specifically, và I hope to lớn debunk a few myths that have turned it into such a stigmatized label in our culture.

We’re going khổng lồ consider how the practice of an everyday environmentalist differs from what is expected from a stereotypical environmentalist & why that shift is so important.

And, then, at the end of the episode I’m going to nói qua with you one incredibly simple but powerful thing you can vày right now lớn position yourself to lớn lead a greener life.

Content

So let’s start by acknowledging the not-entirely-serendipitous-but-nevertheless fortunate timing that this podcast is debuting today—on Earth Day!

And it’s not just any Earth Day. It is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

So, in case you didn’t know, Earth Day happens on April 22 of every year. It is marked as a day of awareness and kích hoạt on behalf of the health of our planet. & it has actually become the largest secular observance in the world, with over a billion people marking the day in some way. A billion people! So just for perspective, that’s about 1 in 7 people worldwide.

And even though we’ve made so many strides since the first Earth Day in 1970, we still really need some kích hoạt on behalf of our planet these days!

Now I know you’re probably already aware of the problems:

climate changeenvironmental degradationdeforestationwater pollutionshrinking biodiversity

The danh mục just seems lớn go on & on và on. Và it can be scary. It can be depressing. And it is most certainly overwhelming.

These are macro-level problems without easy solutions.

But, again, we’re not really here to talk about the problems. What we want khổng lồ focus on is finding ways khổng lồ take responsibility on an individual màn chơi to be a part of the solution. Because I truly believe that if enough people seek micro-level solutions lớn everyday environmental conundrums, we can make progress toward creating a greener world.

That’s why we need those 1 billion environmentalists who celebrate Earth Day every year khổng lồ think & act as environmentalists every single day of the year.

But let’s pause there for a second, & consider the label that I just put on Earth Day observers. Can I really label anyone who plants a tree on Earth Day as an environmentalist?

Yes. I can. And I’m going to lớn tell you why. But first, let’s talk about the term “environmentalist” for a minute.

If the label of environmentalist feels a little uncomfortable khổng lồ you—a little scratchy—maybe you even bristle a little bit when you hear it, you’re not alone. Somewhere along the way, the word “environmentalist”—at least in some circles—has developed a negative connotation.

Just for example, the other day I Googled “environmentalists are …” và I let the auto-fill make some suggestions for how to lớn finish my statement. & here’s what came up:

Environmentalists are wrongEnvironmentalist are hypocrites…enemies of development … communists … insane …

and then, finally, at the very bottom of this list—environmentalists are important.

Now, I don’t think environmentalists are anything but important, but somewhere along the way the label of “environmentalist” has become so loaded with the imagery of idealism và in a lot of cases with extremism, that I think it’s hard for most of us lớn see ourselves in this role.

So let’s take a minute to dispel some of the myths about “environmentalists” that might be leading lớn such a negative stereotype.

Myth #1: Environmentalists are all extremists

So I know, that for some people, there’s this image of an environmentalist as someone who hand sews her entire wardrobe, bikes everywhere, và eats a vegan diet, and happily spends her free time picking garbage up from the side of the road. I know that some of us think of a protestor chaining themself to lớn a tree. Or some of us can visualize a family that keeps all of their trash for a an entire year in a teeny tiny jar in their kitchen. Or it can be something like a survivalist going off grid.

Whatever mental picture you have of what an environmentalist needs to look like, is most likely loaded with some idealistic or extreme imagery.

If being an environmentalist means you have to lớn adopt a completely carbon neutral lifestyle và spend all of your waking hours engaging in activism on the part of the planet, then true environmentalists are going to be those rare unicorns in the world—and I can tell you that I, for one, am not one of those people.

But if we can drop this preconceived notion of what an environmentalist needs lớn look like or what she should or should not do, then I think we’ll see that there are more of us out there than you think.

So the dictionary definition of environmentalist is simply a person who has concern for the environment. That’s all.

So, you can have concern for the planet, và you can act on that concern, without letting it be the one thing that defines your every move in life.

Identifying as an environmentalist does not have khổng lồ be all-encompassing. You can be an environmentalist và still be a business owner, you can still be a travel enthusiast, và you can still be a foodie, or you can be all of those things all at the same time.

Just think of it this way. Like, how many people in the world consider themselves to lớn be athletes?

And then of those people, how many of us are professional athletes? and do athletes spend every waking moment dedicated lớn nothing but sport?

No. Of course not.

You don’t have lớn be the best at being green lớn think of yourself as an environmentalist. You don’t have lớn tirelessly dedicate yourself khổng lồ nothing but environmental activism khổng lồ be an environmentalist.

We are all a lot of different things. We play many different roles in this life, và we all wear a lot of hats.

So you don’t have khổng lồ define yourself solely by the title of environmentalist if that’s a role you choose lớn claim for yourself.

Alright. Moving on to Myth #2: Environmentalists care more about animals and the planet than people.

Now, I know there are some environmentalists are very vocal about the problems humans create for other creatures or the earth. And they sometimes come across as being intolerant or inhumane toward fellow human beings.

And that can be a little off-putting.

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So then, when we “catch” these environmentalists doing something that we classify as a green living no-no (like using a plastic bag or leaving their oto idling), we are just too eager lớn jump to lớn the conclusion that all environmentalists must be hypocrites.

So let’s just address a few things about that line of thinking.

OK. First, as a human being, you are allowed to take up resources. You are allowed to lớn enjoy modern conveniences. Owning a car, or even two, does not mean you don’t care about the environment. Eating meat does not mean you don’t care about the environment. & flying in an airplane does not mean you don’t care about the environment.

Everything in life is a tradeoff. & you are the only one who can decide what your body, mind, & soul need lớn live your best life.

And you living your best life has value in và of itself.

Consuming resources that fulfill you và help you grow as a person and enjoy this life is not intrinsically wrong. Và calling yourself an environmentalist while not living up to someone else’s definition of what that should look lượt thích in your life does not make you a hypocrite. It makes you human. It’s a gray world, gang. Not black. Not white. Gray all the way.

But what does matter, if you are an environmentalist, is that you recognize that your actions bởi have an impact on the global community—meaning, people, animals, planet—And then you bởi your best khổng lồ strike a balance between the three by making informed, intentional decisions about your activities và patterns of consumption.

And I think we’ll find that what is good for one is good for the other. Because nature is symbiotic by design. Và when we respect that and we strive for synergy, everyone—people, animals, planet—everyone benefits.

And finally, Myth #3: I’m not “green” enough to gọi myself an environmentalist.

Environmentalism is not a fashion. Environmentalists are not in some elitist club. Và there really is no such thing as being green enough lớn qualify.

Now, I struggle a good bit with perfectionism, which basically means that I have trouble reconciling the real with the ideal. So it has taken me a long time, a lot of experimentation, & a good bit of frustration khổng lồ realize that I don’t have to fit a specific mold khổng lồ be an environmentalist. I don’t have lớn be perfect at being green khổng lồ be an environmentalist. There is no such thing as perfect, & the only thing you need khổng lồ qualify is genuine concern for the planet & the willingness to put that concern into action.

We’ve have to lớn stop thinking of environmentalism as a designation and start thinking of it as a spectrum.

We are all positioned at different points on the spectrum based on our culture, personal circumstances, on our occupations, beliefs, và preferences. You don’t have khổng lồ be at any specific point on that spectrum khổng lồ earn the title of environmentalist. All you need to vì chưng is recognize where you are on that spectrum and then commit to lớn making teeny tiny shifts to move yourself a little closer to the green side of things.

And this is exactly where everyday environmentalism comes into play.

So, what I am calling an everyday environmentalist is someone who, first, is concerned about the environment, since that is the very definition of an environmentalist. But, the distinction here, is an everyday environmentalist takes that concern for the environment and then translates it into meaningful action within the context of their daily lives.

So this means, consciously striving to live a little greener, a little more eco-friendly each day.

And the best way to vày this is lớn cultivate habits that are simple enough lớn fold into our current routines, smart enough to lớn fit any lifestyle or budget, & sustainable, both in the sense of good for the planet & also in easy for us to incorporate and maintain in the everyday.

And this theme—simple, smart, sustainable habits—is what I explore on my website & what we’ll continue khổng lồ talk about on this podcast.

Because here’s the thing: So much of the overwhelm và anxiety surrounding the environment comes from this rotten feeling of being subject to forces outside of our control.

So, khổng lồ combat this, we have to lớn focus on the things we can control. And the one thing that is fully within our power is our own behavior.

If we want to lớn see changes in the world, then we need lớn be that change daily. We need to embrace it. Live it. Mã sản phẩm it for our friends and family and kids.We need to lớn make environmentalism a practice & a way of being. A habit.

And if we each live with a little more intentionality & mindfulness toward our role as environmental stewards, we will lead by example and drive change from the bottom up. I truly believe that.

The earth can heal. Change is possible.

But the momentum needed lớn get us there starts with the individual. It starts you và me. & specifically, it starts with us all identifying ourselves as environmentalists.

Our beliefs are super powerful things. So if we believe that being an environmentalist is an intrinsic part of who we are as a person, the we are naturally going khổng lồ begin to behave like environmentalists. Suddenly, we’re going to see the world through a new lens, và opportunities to lớn make small shifts in our daily habits that have enormous cumulative impact on the environment are going to lớn become abundant.

But the first step, the absolute first step lớn inhabiting that role is to claim it for yourself.

So, if you want to vì one thing today to start leading a greener life, look at yourself và say, “I am an environmentalist already.” và the rest will follow.

Conclusion

Thank you so much for listening today. Admittedly, this was a bit of a heady message, but I think it was important lớn lay some groundwork for our future conversations here.

If you’ve listened lớn this and are still struggling with feelings of inadequacy, I want to lớn stop you right there.

No matter where you are on this journey, you are an environmentalist already.

I know this because you found this podcast. You gave it a chance. And that tells me that you are curious about green living, you are concerned about the environment, & you are willing khổng lồ take kích hoạt to learn and to grow in your own green-living journey.

That’s all it takes lớn be an environmentalist. You’re already there.

And I’m here khổng lồ help you take the next steps. To lớn seamlessly blend eco-friendly consciousness and practice into the life you already lead. Khổng lồ help you grow as an everyday environmentalist.

An environmental practice does not need lớn be big or flashy or life-altering. In fact, I’m going to lớn posit that the most effective environmentalists are the ones who simply fold green living into their daily habits.

The next episode actually speaks to the importance of taking small steps. & the third episode switches gears a little bit more khổng lồ some actionable nội dung that’s going to lớn be a little more typical for what you can expect going forward in this podcast.

But before you get to that, I really want you to lớn embrace your role as an environmentalist. & just feel confident that the actions you take today will help lead to a greener tomorrow.

I am so honored lớn be on this journey toward a greener future with you. After all, we are all on this planet together!

If you lượt thích what you hear, please be sure to kiểm tra out the next two episodes in this debut series & then tune in again on Friday for a new episode.

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You can also visit my website at www.goodsmart.com.vn if you’d lượt thích to read more about me or everyday environmentalists generally, or if want to get a better sense of what everyday environmentalism might look lượt thích in practice.