Monday, October 15, 2007

Individual Actions - Blog Action Day post

Today is Blog Action Day, and although I hardly consider myself a “real” blogger, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon.  I like to be trendy, you know…  The focus of this year’s BAD is The Environment.  Environmentalism is the latest “trend”, right?  Let’s take advantage of that!  Green looks good on everyone…

According to the BAD organizers, BAD is all about mass participation, but for my part I’d like to focus on individual action.  What can you do, as an individual, as one little person, to save the planet?  Lots!

Look at individuals such as Colin Beaven (aka No Impact Man) – living a year in what many people would consider poverty-stricken conditions to reduce his impact to the environment.  He is just one person.  Why does this one person’s lifestyle change make a difference, you may ask?  Not because he is necessarily reversing global warming though actions such as shunning cars and elevators or washing his clothes in the bathtub.  No, while these acts are impressive, he is doing something much more critical – he is serving as an example.

Almost every action you take can be observed by those around you, whether it is something as simple as tossing your pop can in the recycling bin instead of the garbage can (or on the ground!), or leading a protest against the use of Styrofoam in your school cafeteria (uh, yeah I did that once…), other people see you and remember what you do.  Later, when these same people have a can of soda, they will hopefully think back to your action and choose to recycle rather than dispose.

I was reminded of my early “activist” days this weekend.  My mother, who still teaches at my former elementary/high school (yes, our town was that small), told me that people are still talking about the day I led a raid on the trash cans in the lunch room to “rescue” all the Styrofoam from the garbage.  I was 11 at the time – how are people still discussing this incident?  No matter – the important thing is that I made an impression on someone!

You can too – through small everyday actions, like bringing your own reusable bag, taking advantage of the recycling programs offered at your work or school, bringing your own reusable water bottle (or just asking for tap water), buying local food, riding your bike more (and driving less), etc.  All these things are easy enough for one person to do, but highly visible and therefore influential on those around you.

So think of the example you are setting – for your friends, your significant other, your children, your coworkers, your neighbors, etc.  Seeing you take actions that are positive for our planet reminds them that they should do the same.  Everyone likes to be trendy – let’s make Green the new black…