4 Ways to be a Better Environmentalist

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Being an environmentalist is about seeing the larger picture.  It’s about understanding the bonds and connections between all parts of nature and humanity, judging what the best way to help others is, and enjoying the ride that life presents us with—because really, what would the environment be without life?  Many environmentalists can lose sight of their purpose, but to keep it ingrained, four basic practices can be put to use.

1. Constantly ask questions:

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You would have to be at least a little bit curious to come to the understanding of the importance of our environment!  And this curiosity should be a main motivator of an environmentalist.  Whenever you buy, let’s say, a box of pasta, it’s not just important, but also interesting to think about how that pasta made itself onto the shelf in front of you.  What sort of interactions had to happen to make this possible?  Are these interactions beneficial overall, or do they disrupt any balance?

Asking questions such as these will help you gain a greater understanding of the world around you, which will help when you’re trying to improve what needs to be improved.

2. Think critically and skeptically:

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Environmentalists are bombarded with lots of radicalism and opinion that come from all sides of the spectrum – even that claim to support environmentalism.  It is, then, very much important to know how to sift!

To do this, you’ll want to know your source’s possible biases – does your source tend to be fixed in one position, or do they take a more reasonable approach?  You’ll then want to make sure that your source is supporting whatever they’re saying with verifiable fact, and if you want to take it a step further (it’s worth it; you do get as much out of it as you put in), you can check those “facts” yourself (if you want to check to make sure someone did a scientific study correctly, here is a great chart).

Keeping with the same idea as before, always be asking questions.  Blind trust is never a good thing.

3. Keep a bond with nature:

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Environmentalism is about keeping nature and others first, self last.  In this spirit of humbleness, know that as an environmentalist, it’s essential to be in tune with nature at all times.  This might mean taking a Saturday afternoon to have a solitary bike ride through the forest near your house, or it might mean noticing how a few finches interact with each other as they eat at a bird feeder.  And noticing is what keeping a bond with nature is – noticing the organisms all around you that are sharing this world with you.

4. Don’t get caught up:

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Lots of people get kind of caught up with environmentalism.  With their zeal to protect nature from development, or to protect everyone from climate change (both very noble goals!), they lose sight of the love of life and humanity that is the basis of these goals.  Many also fail to realize that a lot of the systems we have in place as a modern world work better – cleaner – than old-world ways of dealing.  Don’t shut down love and progress so quickly!  See the bigger picture.

Everyone is in this world together, and we as humans are the appreciators of the Earth, as well as the creators of things that suit us better.  We as environmentalists should always be reminded that our goals are motivated by love of all humanity, as well as love of the Earth.

Thanks for reading – I hope you got something out of this!  Please comment if you have anything to add, or if you have any questions!

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