1 Settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
1.1 An automatic reaction to a specific situation.
In the last few months, since I decided to deepen my commitment to reduce my carbon footprint by reducing my household waste, I have observed myself and others around this topic. I see a huge media trend promoting ecological alternatives to save our planet, news articles on how we are killing birds with balloons, turtles with bags and fishing nets, whales with massive amounts of trash in their bellies. People share the links to those articles on social media, they post comments, and share their rage on the lack of action towards climate change from governments and the economic systems.
It makes me happy to see people spreading information that creates awareness. As someone who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s where there wasn’t such thing a Facebook or Instagram, and is now living her adulthood in the era of mass media, I see the power mass communication has to connect people with shared ideas and values, and the capacity for these connections to become a real movement.
Every time a sad story about an animal that went extinct, or a picture of an emaciated polar bear is made viral, those who share the link to the story on social media feel and mourn what’s happening to our planet. They express their sadness, agree that something needs to change and move on. We’ve seen numerous scientific studies being published about the fact that our planet is dying soon, and it’s scary. However, we haven’t been able to take our concern for the planet from sharing links on Facebook, to real, tangible action. I have thought about this over and over, and I came to the conclusion that we don’t take real action against climate change because we are comfortably sitting in the convenience of our habits.
How many times has it happened to us, that as we’re leaving our home we get in the car and we suddenly remember we don’t have reusable bags for our grocery shopping. We hesitate to go back and grab them, but then we think “it’s just one bag”, and continue on with our day. How many times have we thought about saying “no straw, please” to the server or the bar tender, but we refrain ourselves from saying it because we don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. “It’s just one straw”, we muse, to console ourselves.
We live in a culture where the status quo gives us a false notion of choice. When we consume products, the choices we make are driven by the options we are presented with, and those options don’t include zero/low waste alternatives. We have to go out of our way to find them, and that’s too much work. Why would I drive to the health store, the bulk store, a local maker, and the grocery store to find low waste products, when I can just drive to the grocery store and buy everything I need right there, in one same place? My question is, why not?
Yes, changing habits takes time, effort and sometimes money. We are reluctant to disrupt our habits, even for the planet. For now, sharing links on Facebook is as far as we want to go to save our world, but how much difference does that make? We are comfortably waiting for someone else to do it for us.
Tiny Earth Warrior