Environmentalism has taken many different forms over the years. Recently, say the past decade or so, it’s been largely relaxed and passive. Many knew that the “powers that be” were working on policies to help our planet as with the COP 21 Paris Climate Change Conference of 2015 that ensured the U.S. and European countries would work together to minimize human impact. Even large companies were jumping on the bandwagon, with organic “this” and green “that” for mostly everything coming out.
However, that’s changed, in the U.S. at least, as there’s a new administration in town that doesn’t have the same views on environmentalism and climate change as did the previous Obama administration. No matter where you stand on politics, the last eight years were progress for our planet. They weren’t good enough, but they were a start.
Now, however, things seem to be going in the opposite direction. Trump has promised repeatedly to reduce regulations on companies, including environmental protections, while his nominee for Head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has a history of trying to block environmental regulations as well. Passive environmentalism won’t work any longer. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are plenty of ways to get involved.
Talk to Your Legislators
Given the current climate, involving yourself in legislation is increasingly more important. One of the simplest things you can do is contact your senators, governors, and congressmen. You can either tell them you support their decisions, or try and convince them that they need to support environmentalism. Keep in mind, politicians never hear the end of a bad decision and it hurts their chances for reelection. Knowing the facts about the issues is vital to making a good argument. check out watch dog organizations focused on the issue you are calling about to see if they offer a call script or summary on the facts. Elected officials represent your voice. Make sure it’s heard.
Support Green Business
Buying green products is a good way to put your money where your mouth is, or in this case, where your planet is! Businesses, in general, use vast amounts of fossil fuels when harvesting raw materials, manufacturing a product’s pieces, shipping the pieces, assembling the pieces and eventually shipping the final product to it’s final destination. Most businesses that try and incorporate green business practices and products also try to cut down on fossil fuel use or find other ways to reduce their carbon footprints. Even though a green business can be far from perfect, the small changes can add up to something big.
Try to be a Little Greener
Just buying green products isn’t always enough. Sure, “organic” and “natural” are big buzzwords, but there’s not enough regulation on “organic,” and there’s none on natural. Buying something “natural” means whatever the company wants it to mean, which could be nothing at all. It’s important to do your research and voice your concerns about issues you care about.
You can do this in so many ways! Buying green products, using less water and electricity, biking or walking, using public transportation, composting, recycling, introducing a green initiative at your workplace, harvesting rainwater for your lawn and garden are all options. Keep in mind; this is not an exhaustive list! These are just some of the easiest, cheapest things you can do.
Support an Environmental Organization
There are a ton of ways to show support for an organization. All non-profits would love to accept donations. You can get out there and volunteer, use your social media presence to increase awareness or set a monthly budget for charitable donations to environmental organizations.
If you’re interested in doing something that feels more active, there are several upcoming protests that center around environmentalism. This Earth Day, April 22nd, actual scientists and supporters of science in general are coming together to speak out at the March for Science. While the main march is in Washington D.C., there are sister marches all over the United States and in many parts of the world.
A week later, on April 29th, the Peoples Climate Movement and march focusing on climate change is scheduled to occur in D.C.. Compared to the March for Science, the Peoples Climate Movement hasn’t had as much popularity, possibly because of it’s more narrow focus, but either way, both are great opportunities to join others in solidarity for the environment.
Share Your Story
Everyone has a different reason for why the environment is important to them. Use your story to strike a chord with other people. The best way to convince people to support a cause is to listen to them and then emphasize how you agree. For conversations on climate change for example, try to understand the position of those who don’t believe climate change is a threat and use their own position to explain your own. Don’t lock yourself in an echo chamber and forget to humanize others.
Environmentalism is here, and it’s not going anywhere. Now is the time to take action! Have you done one (or more) of the things on this list? Did you try something different with success? Let me know in the comments below!
This Women of Green guest blog is by Megan Ray Nichols. Megan writes about many environmental topics including, renewable energy, conservation and sustainability. She invites you to join the discussion on her own blog, Schooled By Science.
Women of Green is TURNING UP THE VOLUME of the feminine voice on the planet in order to create the world we know is possible.