Most of us care about helping others and doing our part to make the world a better place. But it’s not always easy to tie the big picture in to our day-to-day lives.
Here’s an example: my sister, a climate change researcher, is one of the most serious and impassioned people in her department at work. She gets all mad at countries not committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and writes long, insomnia-curing reports on how developing countries can adapt to cope with the impacts of climate change.
But here’s the thing: she leaves the water running while brushing her teeth, forgets to turn out the lights and, quite often, throws recyclables into the trash along with the orange peels and used dental floss.
See any contradictions there?
Then there’s my cousin, who grumbles about the need for change all the time, but hasn’t voted once in his life. And friends of mine in South Asia, who’ll spend hours sitting around the dinner table theoretically lamenting widespread corruption, but will still bribe a policeman to avoid a speeding ticket. Not to mention my friend who applied for a job at an environmental NGO because she liked the idea of a fulfilling job. The only problem was, she didn’t want to take shorter showers or turn the heat down in winter (“what, they want me to freeze?”), or do any of the other stuff generally recommended for greener living.
Bottom line: it’s not easy to practice what we preach. So how do we make our idealism for a better world fit into our daily lives? Maybe the trick is to do things one step at a time – decide what’s important to you and find ways to adapt your lifestyle to make room for it. Any thoughts?