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Striking a healthy balance while you try to go green

By AMANDA WHEELER

Going Green in the Bluegrass

Everything we do has an environmental impact. For good or bad, it has an impact. We can try to ignore the impact, but it’s still there.

Even things we haven’t thought of have an impact. Have you thought about your daily, weekly or monthly impact on the environment? I have recently been a little lax and probably even apathetic when it comes to limiting my negative environmental impacts.

It’s hard sometimes when you feel like you are the only one trying to make a difference and you still see other people making terrible impacts on the environment. It can feel like they are negating what you have been trying to do. 

However, I have realized there has to be a balance. You have to give yourself some grace when you end up with one-time use plastics, but you can’t join in with the crowd in not caring and not putting forth an effort to avoid those plastics. The same goes for trying to reduce your carbon footprint. We also have a responsibility to educate others (nicely) about environmental concerns, because if we are silent we are complacent. 

It’s a tricky balancing act, but just like life, it’s all these shades of gray and not just black and white. I have realized that I feel better when I am trying to make a difference for the environment, weather that is recycling (even if that’s a complicated issue on it’s own) bringing my own cup or water bottle instead of using a disposable cup or putting my baby in cloth diapers instead of disposables. Doing these things make me feel like I’m making a difference, and feeling like I can make a difference makes me want to try more.

When I felt like I wasn’t making a difference is when I didn’t want to try much anymore, and that’s a sad place to be.

We have to give ourselves breaks, but we also need to build one another up and encourage one another, because it’s not always fun or popular to be the “green” person. However, I will say that it’s much much easier to do the eco-friendly things when you surround yourself with people who will encourage you.

I know we are all supposed to “get out of our bubbles” so we can see the opposite sides of arguments, which I think can be important. But it’s also just as important to surround yourself with people that can relate to you and build you back up when you have fallen down. 

The trick I’ve found to being environmentally friendly, and it really applies to life in general, is that you don’t need to do it perfectly, you need to give it a shot. As long as you are really trying, that’s all you can do.

It’s also important to give yourself some slack and know that you will make mistakes sometimes, but not so much slack that you become complacent. 

One of the most important things we can do for the environment is to give it a voice. We have to be the Lorax — we have to speak for the trees because they have no voice.

It’s interesting that we often get pitted against one another over environmental issues, but the environment is one of the things that everyone in the world has in common. It would be impossible to find someone who said they didn’t want to have clean air and clean water, so why do we fight over these things? It’s pretty silly, honestly. We all need to try a little harder and do a little better. Because to quote Dr.Seuss “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

 

Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week

Humboldt Penguins live in South America, where the temperature can reach triple digits. These penguins are the rule, not the exception because more species of penguins live in warmer climates than live in colder climates. 

https://pixabay.com/photos/penguin-bird-animal-animal-world-2204566/

 

About Amanda Wheeler

Amanda Wheeler is the children and teen services librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library. She has a master's in zoology education from the University of Miami and has taught as an educator at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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