If anyone knows about talking the talk but not doing anything, it's me, I'm the absolute queen. I'm not trying to sound proud, because I'm not, it's embarrassing.
It took way too long for the education I had on environmental issues to become action.
So, how can you accelerate the process?
Here are some things that helped me out...
First off, I started preaching all of my "discoveries" to other people. I would talk about how bad plastic waste was but then I would get a plastic take-away container which would just expose me as a complete hypocrite. Watching my friends judge me for my lack of follow up inspired me to stay true to my words and really start to take my action more seriously.
Pretty crazy that knowing a turtle is suffocating on plastic somewhere wasn't enough to motivate me. I'm not trying to blame my situation or anything but it's so easy to pretend like what you are doing isn't impacting the world around you. I can be empathetic for a dying turtle but unless it is choking in front of me, I will go about my usual ways.
If you forget a take-away container, utensils, a cup, whatever it may be, force yourself to go on without the plastic option. I've eaten with my hands, refused water on a 9 hour flight, and carried groceries into my apartment one handful at a time. All of these helped teach me to always prepare. Have spare necessities in your car, keep some in your bag, pretend that plastic does not exist. You don't run without shoes or drive without keys. This is the same concept- you don't shop without your bags or dine in with out Tupperware.
Create a fun way to track your progress.
Whether it be a journal, a fake insta, or even a blog, writing can be a great way to reinforce your ideas. Have a competition with friends, "who can make the least amount of trash this week?".
Don't make goals, make systems.
Goals are great, but they won't do anything unless you have a system in place to make sure you follow-through. Maybe every week you will bike to school. Or every Sunday you hit the farmers market and take your composting to a local facility. Whatever goal you have, find a way to make it a system that works for you.
Immerse yourself in education.
Read books, listen to podcasts, have discussions with friends and family.
Talk and learn about climate change. Remind yourself why you care.
It is a privilege to not notice the ways in which climate change has already altered our environment. Forest fires, water pollution, the extinction of species, the collapsing of ecosystems, all of these are current disasters that we face.
Look where nobody else is looking. We are cutting down forests. We are polluting the oceans. We are poisoning the air, the ground, the water. Knowing that what we are doing is wrong, is not enough.
Now, reflect on your lifestyle.
How much are you buying, eating, using, making, polluting, talking, learning, wasting?
What are your main environmental concerns? What are the solutions? What personal action can you take to help this concern? Start there. Start where you care. Start with what you know.
"He that plants trees, loves others besides himself."
Dr. Thomas Fuller