Many students are easily overwhelmed by the vast amount of environmental issues we are currently facing. Well, that is only reasonable. It is a big deal to have to think about how you, a college student, needs to change the world and how.
Picture this scenario: You’re sitting in class watching a really apocalyptic climate change film like Al Gore’s The Inconvenient Truth. Things are on fire, people are underwater, there are graphs and figures that basically suggest that the world is falling to pieces. You sit there, alarmed thinking ‘shit, this is bad.’ Yet, shortly after the film has ended, you continue about your life.
It seems so much easier to continue living life as if we are not affected by the environmental responses to climate change. Additionally, it is hard to think that one person can change the world. However, one person can indeed change the world and I will tell you why.
As long as you are a social being in this world, meaning, as long as you interact with others on a daily basis, you are impacting those people and those around them, and so on. Our actions impact others and this is almost inevitable. Whether you like it or not, unless your senses are differently-abled in some way, you see, hear, and smell other people.
Due to this, one can make a difference by looking a certain way, having a conversation with someone, doing a certain action, essentially, by just living. This idea is supported by the ripple effect theory which, as you may know, suggests that one drop of water causes a ripple that affects the rest of a water body. Here are some ideas of how the ripple effect works: Have you been in a situation where you’re completely fine about something until someone else starts to show impatience, anger, or even happiness about the situation? It is incredible how as soon as this happens, one may feel similarly. Or have you ever been in an environment where people are either upset or happy and as soon as you enter it you start to feel how the rest of the people are feeling? We experience the ripple effect every day and may not even realize it.
This is great news, is it not? This means that you do not have to organize the next big sustainability protest, join an environmental club, or become the recycling police, you just have to change your way of interacting with the earth and her inhabitants. Now, if to you this means being the recycling police or organizing the next climate change protest because you are passionate about this, then of course you should do this, but remember, you must change yourself before you try to change the world because the
rings of the ripple are powerful.
Here is how to cause some important ripples
1. Be less of a consumer—this tends to catch friends’ and family’s attention
2. Be a smart consumer, buy eco-products when possible
3. Express your concern for sustainability
4. Ask questions to like-minded people
5. Be confident in what you believe
These things will not only empower you but will impact those around you and ultimately, this causes great change.
If you are interested in becoming more informed about why you should care about sustainability or have any related questions, feel free to contact the Office of Sustainability at: [email protected] or myself at: [email protected].