“In a world of more than seven billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket.
But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.” David Suzuki
You’ve probably heard of Greta Thunberg. Since August 2018, she’s taken the environmental world by storm. She’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism. She’s outspoken and blunt. She has Asperger’s. She’s only 16. And she’s making a difference.
Greta started in her home country of Sweden, quietly but persistently protesting in front of parliament to demand greater action on global warming. Now, she regularly speaks to world leaders everywhere and has inspired millions to attend and form their own rallies. She’s not afraid to call bullshit on political and United Nations’ leaders for lack of action, like when she spoke at September’s UN climate summit: “People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?”
What I respect about Greta is that she has no hidden agenda. She doesn’t get starstruck when she’s speaking to world leaders or celebrities. She just wants everyone to recognize the urgency of climate change.
Big government and big industry aren’t happy with her, and try to dismiss Greta and her uncomfortable messages. They focus on her Asperger’s and previous “mental illness” (she suffered from depression, but her sense of purpose has helped cure that). Greta has often referred to her Aspergers as a superpower, allowing her to stay focused and see through lies. Condescending jabs, like suggesting she is her parents’ “puppet,” even though she’s clearly pulling her own cognitive strings, are meant to derail this incredibly focused young woman. And it all makes me want to stand up and clap for Greta, who fearlessly confronts the behemoths perpetuating global warming.
David Suzuki’s quote inspires me. Where Greta Thunberg is like a pro-environmental tsunami, I’m more like Suzuki’s drop in the bucket. I’m not doing anything on a massive scale, but I take small steps: turning off taps and lights, carpooling when possible, writing about this topic here, and reminding the barista at Starbucks that I’d like my order “for here,” politely drawing attention to everyone sitting in their restaurant drinking from to-go cups.
I’ve also become a flexitarian, shifting my diet to be more plant-based, after learning about the huge impact that meat and dairy consumption has on our planet. If you’re interested (and I know food can be a touchy subject, like religion or politics :0) then try watching some documentaries like Forks Over Knives (more of a health emphasis), or Cowspiracy (environmental emphasis).
And when it’s time to replace my gas guzzling vehicle, you can bet I’ll be getting an electric or hybrid.
In the meantime, let’s remember the quote attributed to Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Purely Practical (Environmental) Tips:
Always keep reusable bags in the passenger seat (not the trunk) of your car. That way they’re a visual reminder, making it more likely you’ll bring them into the store, versus realizing when you’re at the checkout that you forgot them in the car.
Ask “for here” next time you’re at Starbucks if you’re drinking your beverage in their restaurant. Otherwise, they automatically put drinks in their disposable to go cups. They don’t ask, even though Starbucks sent 3.85 BILLION cups to the landfill in 2017 alone. And nope, they can’t be recycled.
Join the Conversation
What small (or substantial) steps do you take to help the environment?
Any favourite documentaries or books on climate change?