During class today, I listened to my peers convey frustration with their peers. My classmates are mocked for taking this low-impact project seriously. Some receive texts with pictures of trash, subtitled “recyclable?” or “#landfill or naw.” Some have their actions counteracted: they turn the light off, and a roommate turns it back on. Friends at the lunch table still use a bunch of napkins after a warning from an ENVS student to use less. I found this all very interesting. I have encountered almost none of this. But maybe that’s because I am not being vocal.
I go about my day quietly not using paper towels, using a library computer, eating every bite of non-processed foods. My impact is minimal–later I’ll need to charge my phone and take a short shower after a run. But otherwise, I’m invisible. And I now realize THIS IS NOT THE POINT. The point is not the antithesis either, to be obnoxious about how much or how little I consume. Rather the point is to create discussion around impact. In order to even think about altering the current high-consumption, instant gratification-centric behaviors we display, so often unbeknownst to us, we have to build a comfortable platform for discussion. We have to open a dialogue in which we admit to the reality of our behaviors without being ostracized and embrace the actions we already take towards minimizing our footprint on the earth.
So the stealth with which I’ve been conducting this project isn’t so impressive. Yes, modest maybe, or humble at best. But it’s egocentric and individualistic. It’s time, now, to spread the good word.