In today’s intensely interconnected world, it is not hard to know that our planet is in trouble. In the not so distant past, environmental issues were seemingly nowhere to be found in the news, but have thankfully gained attention and are finally being brought the recognition they desperately need.
From environmental issues’ growing presence on social media, to the recent climate strikes that stretched across all seven continents, it is more difficult than ever to remain ignorant.
But everything is easier said than done. It’s easy to say we need things to change but it’s no cakewalk to actually create those changes. Change is inherently uncomfortable, but it is our society that makes us unsure and unwilling to do things differently.
This fall, I moved from a farm town to Beantown. In my hometown of Hereford, Maryland there wasn’t much more than a gas station, grocery store and the local high school. My perspective, I knew, was limited. But I had no idea the extent of the bubble I was in until I came to Boston.
At home, it was more manageable to visualize the concept of change and to facilitate it, even if it was in small ways. But moving to Boston was shocking in that I saw so much more. Not only were there more grocery stores now, but there was more waste, more trash and more pollution.
Boston University has great sustainability systems in place and I admire the university’s leadership in this aspect. The City of Boston is certainly not the worst metropolitan area as far as cleanliness and littering go.
But it is the things I do see, and how much of them I see, that sometimes makes me feel like society is in quicksand.
And it makes me question if our efforts in saving the environment are really worth it. My mom once said something along those lines, and I fought her back. “Of course it’s worth it,” I said. I thought, how can saving our world not be worth it when we are the very cause?
But coming to Boston made what my mom said more sensical. Walking down Commonwealth Avenue, passersby everywhere sip coffee from their plastic Starbucks cups. Cars speed down Storrow Drive, injecting pollution into the air. Someone near CVS throws a piece of trash on the ground when the closest bin is full.
It’s draining and saddening to constantly see and recognize the harm humanity does unto Earth. But as is always true, it is the simple things in life that matter most.
It may not seem worth it to bring your reusable mug to the coffee shop or recycle that water bottle. You might think, it’s only one person, right?
And it is precisely that mindset that precludes us from producing change. It is worth it to bring your reusable mug to Starbucks and to recycle that water bottle.
When everyone does their part, that is where the magic happens. Strides are made. Change is created. That is the power of the simple things in life.