What does this degree mean to me?
Over the past two years, I sat in a room, and learned (as well as argued!) about capitalism, climate change, and the fate of our planet and what it all means for future generations.
Often times I felt overwhelmed, hopeless, and defeated.
But the take home message I want to share with you about environmental problems that we face as a Peterborough community, province, country, and globe, is that we created a problem that we have the solution to.
Critics, negativity, and cynics are not welcome. Instead, we must provide an uplifting and positive attitude to complex environmental problems.
Doom and gloom is not going to get us anywhere. It hasn’t in the past, and it won’t in the future.
Pointing out small environmental efforts as “not enough” is one of my biggest pet peeves. So is trash-talking environmental advocates who eat meat, drive cars, and go on vacation.
I am a big advocate for positive small changes, so much so that I’ve dedicated my time and efforts to highlighting them one at a time. Honest efforts matter.
Small changes DO, I repeat, DO, add up.
I look at the sustainability movement as a lifestyle commitment, much like exercising and healthy living.
If you are a dedicated gym go-er or athlete, you are likely familiar with the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy.
Exercise daily – but allow yourself a “cheat” day every once in a while, that consists of pizza, brownies, cake, and my personal favourite, beer.
Don’t tempt yourself with candy or chocolate in your cupboard. If you know you give into dessert, quit buying it.
Applying this same principle to sustainability is easy.
Drive a little less.
Bike a little more.
Take your reusable cup more than purchasing a disposable cup.
Make conscious, simple efforts to make changes to your habits.
Don’t tempt yourself with the luxury of taking your car to work if you can bike. Hide your keys from yourself!
And know that you’re not alone.
Everyone struggles with making lifestyle changes.
I do, and so does Naomi Klein, Elizabeth May, David Suzuki, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Sustainability is what we call “a wicked problem” – there is no simple solution.
What I care about most is your conscious and honest effort to make behaviour changes that benefit our environment to the best of your abilities, and share them with more people so they can be inspired to follow YOUR lead.
Don’t wait for someone else to act. YOU can start now.
Be a part of something bigger than you are and be inspired to commit #RandomActsofGreen every day. Be a part of a growing, inclusive and above all, positive community that recognizes the importance of small every day behaviour changes.
Jessica Correa, M.A. Sustainability.