Being environmentally conscious, to me, means being aware of the current state of the environment and how you may be contributing to that state. Before attending Pacific University, I had very little knowledge of the condition of the environment and what that meant for my actions and the actions of the world.
After moving out to Pacific, it was an adjustment for me to get used to having separate bins for trash and recycling, something like that was not normal in the small town where I grew up. In the time after that, I have learned much more about the state of the earth and what I and others should and could be doing to preserve it.
I live with a friend who is completely plastic free, she does everything she can to never buy anything that contains plastic. I never realized before living with her how much plastic is used in many things we use and buy every day. I have also learned just how harmful plastic can be, it takes too many years to decompose and even the little tiny broken bits contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
I have recently taken an intro to civic engagement course in which, for our final, our class had a discussion about the declining state of our climate. We read and discussed a scholarly issue guide that analyzed three different possible strategies for addressing the decline of the climate.
Through this discussion, I learned that if society does not make some drastic changes sometime very soon, then we could experience a dramatic decline in the livability of the climate in only a matter of years. Although the earth’s climate naturally goes through changes over time, humans are adding carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere that are significantly speeding up the natural order.
I believe that the real issue lies in the big corporations emitting these toxins in the air, and the real people who need to make drastic changes are the ones with a lot of money and power. However, I also believe that the general public should practice more conscientious habits during their day-to-day lives to be a little nicer to the environment.
For example, although going completely plastic free is very difficult and may not be realistic for some people, it is easy to do simple things like using various reusable containers for drinks, meals, and groceries, that aren’t made of plastic.
There are many small things people can do, but might not even know about, that would be better for the climate. It would be nice to see more people encouraging casual care for the environment; to normalize thinking before making decisions that contribute, even in small ways, to climate change.