People Hate Sustainability.

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Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Unsplash

Don’t get angry with me. Just hear me out.

If a sustainable lifestyle was easy**, we would eliminate issues such as: CO2 emissions, global warming, and habitat loss.

** “Easy”, meaning low effort and comfortability.

As of now, a sustainable lifestyle is challenging. With the United States immersed in capitalism, being sustainable in this society is like swimming upstream in a rocky river.

And, in order to partake in sustainable methods, it seems like you have to maintain a certain level of income. People do not want to spend money if it's something that won’t benefit them.

This is why people have a really hard time adopting eco-friendly practices.

I hear this statement a lot:

“It’s not the individual damaging the environment. It’s the wealthy corporations that destroy our planet whilst putting the responsibility on us.”

This statement is very convincing. If it’s not my problem, why would I even try?

Humans love finding other things to blame. It’s within our ego that keeps us alive.

As someone drowning in environmental academia, big industries are always the antagonists of environmental literature.

Although Exxon and Shell are emitting the most out of any other investor-owned company (Alter 2020), there are companies (such as government-entities) that are emitting more: through selling us the energy needed to power our homes.

Robert Ayers, an economist and physicist states, “the economic system is essentially a system for extracting, processing and transforming energy as resources into energy embodied in products and services.”

Your dollar is your vote. When we consume energy products from these companies, we are also responsible for output of energy that these industries create.

The previous statement might make people uncomfortable. It surely makes me feel guilty about my air conditioning use.

However, this shouldn’t discourage us. It should enlighten us to make personal changes to help the betterment of society and its future.

We have saturated the word ‘sustainability’ to the point where people associate it with reusable straws and brown paper bags. Sustainability has so much more meaning behind it. Respecting the earth and its biomes is conserving the present to help the future flourish.

We want our future kids to have a stable life, clean air, and good relations with their government. This can’t be accomplished if we don’t protect what’s in front of us.

Alright, Claire. Enough of the preaching. Tell us how we can be sustainable.

Sure thing.

I am a firm believer in consuming less. This simple switch of sustaining the things you have now will help you not only be environmentally friendly and anti-capitalist, but you will also see your savings increase!

A couple years ago, I bought a new pair of All Birds, an eco-friendly shoe that fights for the well-being of Mother Earth. This purchase empowered me. However, years of tear and tater wore out the front part of these shoes. There are two holes where my big toe is.

My first instinct was to purchase another set. It’s a sustainable purchase, right?

Wrong. I never want to hear the words ‘sustainable’ and ‘purchase’ next to each other in a sentence again.

Every time you spend money, there will always be an environmental transaction. Production, processing, and shipping is the holy trinity of emissions.

I’ve decided to keep my old pair of All Birds and simply sew the front up with a cute thread.

Additionally, I am on a self-journey to no longer purchase new clothes. I partake in free clothing swaps with my friends to have that excitement of a new piece to wear.

These examples show how cost-effective and easy it is to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. Don’t be fooled by greenwashing: almost everything you buy goes into the pockets of companies exploiting a third party.

People hate sustainability because it's hard to give up things we love.

This does not have to be the case.

I still use my AC, my lights, and my water. But I change the way I view these resources. They are finite materials that I should treat with respect. For example, I turn off my AC when I leave the apartment, I turn off the lights that I’m not using, and I take 5-minute showers.

If we all make these small changes together, we will start to see some big change in the long term.

Trust Me.

Best,

Claire

Article I referenced:

Is It True That ‘100 Companies are Responsible for 71% of Carbon Emissions’? (treehugger.com)