I try to do my part. I really do.
Sometimes, though, I feel discouraged. It seems like in spite of the efforts that ordinary people like me make, big institutions like governments and corporations aren't pulling their weight. I read about climate change and toxic chemicals in our environment and species extinction and I feel powerless to do anything. Some garden pest has eaten the little lettuce sprouts I so carefully planted and tended, and there's nothing I can do about it. And on top of that I crave a Diet Coke and a bag of completely non-organic chips. Or maybe a meal from a fast food restaurant.
So, what's an environmentalist to do when it all feels pointless and overwhelming? Here are four things that have helped me.
1. Look for Good News StoriesThere's plenty of bad news, we all know that. Amidst the doom and gloom, it's easy to overlook the good news, but it's there. When you're feeling discouraged, seek out some good news. If searching online is too overwhelming, ask your friends or family. Put the call out on Facebook. Or look here, I've gathered a few to get you started.
- Blue Whales of California Back to Historic Levels
- The Ozone Layer is Recovering
- Orangutans Gain from Eco-Friendly Shifts in Palm Oil
- Reduce Global Warming for Fun and Profit
2. Let Go of SomethingIf you feel like you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, it's easy to become overwhelmed. No one person can save the world on their own. If you can relate, let go of something that isn't feeding you. It's okay to say 'no' sometimes - and in fact, letting go of obligations that are sapping your energy can free you up to do more in areas that are meaningful to you. Even a day out doing something you enjoy can make a world of difference to your outlook. Speaking of which ...
3. Get Out in NatureSpending time in nature can be very healing. Whether you're feeling stressed out about the state of the planet or work or pretty much anything, the great outdoors can provide a great antidote. Getting outside in all seasons is also a good way to re-connect with the environment that sustains us. It may also help you to renew your commitment to sustainability.
4. Make ConnectionsIt can be easy to feel alone as an environmentalist in your day-to-day life. There are countless other people out there who are also doing their part to protect our planet, though. Making connections with them can help you beat your enviro-malaise. Plus, isn't it great to make friends? This is one of the things I love about the Green Phone Booth, in fact - the way that different bloggers come together to share. There are online groups, blogs and organizations you can connect with, as well as local groups. You can choose whatever works best for you.
How about you - how do you overcome green living fatigue?