Day five is wrapping up nicely. I took another short shower this morning, stayed off my phone as much as possible, and tried to enjoy some “ho-hum” time outside. No Impact week has helped me understand just how much I mindlessly consume.
More importantly, No Impact week allowed for a bit of introspection. Participating in No Impact has helped me realize one very important thing: I really do not respond well to change. I had always considered myself at least somewhat accepting of change, but even the idea of altering my lifestyle (even in small ways, like taking shorter showers) seemed bothersome or pointless. After all, what difference could I make? However, during the first day my roommate began to notice my abnormal actions. He was confused as to why I would unplug the fan on such a hot day, or why I would not turn the lights on. His questioning helped me understand why No Impact week actually matters. I began to realize that individual actions do not only affect the individual. In other words, people notice what you do. I came to the conclusion that even though my actions during No Impact week probably won’t save the planet, at least my attempts to change were noticed by the people around me. I realized that No Impact is not about me changing for the better, it’s about us changing for the better. And change begins when others decide to follow the actions of the individual, or in our case, the actions we took during No Impact week. I believe that is the importance of No Impact week.
Furthermore, in terms of introspection, No Impact week allowed me to better understand how I view others around me. As the week went on I began to notice more and more how much other people consumed. On Wednesday morning as I waited to use the shower I thought, “How can they take so long in there, don’t they know how much water they’re using? Do they even care? What’s their problem anyway?” I didn’t realize what these thoughts meant until later that day. I finally sat back and thought, “Why did I immediately think what they were doing was not okay?” Now, I could have just been pissed off or upset that I couldn’t shower when I wanted to, and that is totally possible. However, I think the problem is deeper than that. I think that when I am choosing to take part in movements like No Impact it is very easy for me to forget that there really is not a correct way to live. Do I think reducing my footprint is important? Absolutely. But other people might not agree and that’s okay too. Change is important, as we all know how we live is not sustainable, but in my mind informing people about change is more effective than forcing change. Maybe that person in the shower doesn’t care about waste, or maybe they just are not aware of how much impact they have. Who knows, I sure don’t because I didn’t ask. After all, I only wanted to shower. The point is I realized just because I think something is right does not make me absolutely correct, and it does not make others inexcusably wrong. I think it is important to maintain that point of understanding because when it comes down to it, we’re all just people. I don’t know if anyone else encountered this same issue of disconnect, but I definitely did.
So, I actually learned a lot from No Impact week. I gained a good amount of understanding about myself, and I think that is really valuable. In the future I can certainly see myself continuing to find ways to reduce my consumption. So yeah, good stuff.