On Environmentalism

What kills me is the “but we need this and you use that people” Yes, we currently rely on fossil fuels for many things. Yes, there may always be instances where we will need them. There are things that will be harder to change, medical equipment for example, BUT humans are innovative. Why make excuses? What is that you’re clinging to? Look at all of the things we’ve created and how they’ve changed over time. Imagine the good we could do if we put our minds to it. The fact is that corporations control the money. They HAVE to be part of the solution. They are motivated by money. WE give them the money. It’s sometimes that simple. The more vocal we are about what we want, the more corporations will cater to those wants. That’s one thing we can do.

For (a very simple) example: When I was growing up everyone used static cling sheets in their dryer. You threw it in, you threw it out. Wasteful, unnecessary, trash. People don’t want to hear that they “can’t” so someone pointed out alternatives. Did you know a couple felted wool balls will get you the same results and when they’re worn out they can be composted? Some clever person out there did and they spread the word. Newspapers condemned us. “Millennial’s are destroying the dryer sheet industry!” but low and behold, you can go into many a box store now and find silicone or wool dryer balls that will last you ages and get the job done! We demanded a change and they were forced to course correct. It’s a small change, but it’s a start, and we have to start somewhere. There are many industries we can apply this tactic to.

I hear so many older people (not all, obviously) claim innocence because they got their milk in glass bottles and wore cloth diapers as a baby, but let’s be clear , our generation didn’t invent the alternatives. There’s did. For their convenience. Even the oldest of Gen Y (your Geriatric Millennials) are in our mid 30’s. WE were raised on milk cartons, disposable diapers, dollar store slap bracelets, and dryer sheets. But as children we consumed Captain Planet and The Smoggies on Saturday morning tv. Our elementary schools rolled out the first Green programs that taught us about reusable water bottles, littering, and water waste. We have not been afforded the “luxury” of not knowing about these issues our entire lives. The newpaper headlines have changed, global warming, mini-ice ages, holy ozones, acid rain, but the root issues remain the same. We’re trashing our most precious resource. Our home. Our humanity. In the 60’s Hippies were looked down upon and criticized, but in our time they were revered and idolized. The rose coloured glasses of historical romanticism made them stronger and the ones still out there trying to be heard’s message became stronger too. And yet there seems to be a gap in the worlds collective memory. The world we grew up in wasn’t the same one our grandparents did. There’s an entire space in between where innovation in the name of convenience was king. The “gadget” industry was in a boon. How many people ran out to grab that electric carver, get that clear phone installed in their very own bedroom, buy that time saving frozen dinner, or that long lasting can of waxed beans? So to pretend you didn’t see this change coming is to plead absolute willful ignorance.

We were born into this time. That doesn’t mean we have to settle for it.

” We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it”

Billy Joel released these words to the world in 1989. Seems like not much has changed since then. We’re still fighting, but momentum is growing. It’s slow, but it’s happening. I look around and I see these kids out here picking up the mantle. They too haven’t the luxury of growing up in a time when “people just didn’t know”. WE DONE KNEW, y’all. It is what it is.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t always make the best choice. We won’t fix this overnight. We’ll never be perfect. We can, however, try. We can TRY. We can use our voices and our dollars. We can raise our kids to be bold, to be brave, to be loud, to be kind. No, we didn’t light the fire, but we’re trying to fight it.