What is the best way for me to lower my impact?
I get this question a lot. There are a number of articles that debate the true “best way” to lower your environmental impact, however, from the articles I have read regarding personal action, reducing or eliminating your animal product consumption (i.e. meat, dairy, eggs) is the best way an individual can significantly lower their impact.
How do you make time for behavioural changes with a busy schedule?
A very, very good question! There is no doubt that we are busier now than ever before, this allows plastic products to thrive as we rely on convenience to get us through the day. I think the most important strategy here is to GO EASY ON YOURSELF. It is unrealistic to assume that change is going to come easy, but if you are realistic and consistent with your changes, it will become second nature. I have found that the more you remember to bring your water bottle, shop with your own bags, etc, the more empowered you become to continue doing so. Stay positive and know that any action, big or small, is significant.
Aren’t corporations and industries really at fault for the climate crisis?
There is no doubt that multinational corporations and wasteful industry practices are at fault for a staggering amount of the current environmental issues we see today. But in a capitalist system we as individuals tell these corporations what we stand for based on where we put our money. VOTING WITH YOUR DOLLARS is a powerful means of demonstrating your position every single day. The market listens to the consumer, and when a consumer purchases environmentally-conscious products, vegan alternatives, or brings their own bags to the grocery store, the consumer is stating what matters to them, and the market has to respond. We have been disenfranchised to believe our voice and our every day actions have no consequence, which has enabled these corporations to behave greedily and irresponsibly, until now!
How do you promote change with friends, roommates or family members without conflict?
This has taken me a particularly long time to learn. I think the bottom line is to always speak with compassion, and never judge anyone for thinking or behaving differently than you. Everyone comes from a different background, with different learned behaviours that have informed their decisions and actions. Regardless of how deeply you feel connected to an issue, you cannot expect others to feel the same way (no matter how frustrating or heartbreaking). As long as you speak to someone respectfully, voice your opinion without ego, and allow them to come to their own conclusions in their own time, you have done a good thing. I have found that the BEST way of demonstrating change is to live it, every day. Lead by example in the most positive, infectious way possible, and people will be drawn to you.
I want to lower my meat/dairy consumption, but don’t think I can go vegan right now, is that okay?
Yes. The cultural and social significance of eating meat can be quite significant for some, and I recognize that the vegan movement has, at times, failed at creating a welcoming community for those who still eat animal products. My first recommendation would be to educate yourself. If you are interested in limiting your meat-intake for environmental reasons, watch Cowspiracy, if you’re curious about it’s health benefits, watch Forks over Knives, if animal welfare is important to you, please watch Dominion. You don’t have to change every aspect of your life overnight, but decreasing your meat/dairy/eggs consumption to even a few times a week would save thousands of gallons of water, and be a great first step in reducing your environmental impact.
what about eating fish?
If you are asking my informed opinion, I would argue that due to irresponsible industrialized animal agriculture practices (including fishing), there is no sustainable or ethical way to engage with any of these industries. Every year there are 7.3 million tonnes of marine wildlife unintentionally caught and killed, this includes whales, sharks, turtles, seals, and other marine life that does not end up on our plates. Our oceans are essential to all life on earth and these fisheries rely on us for demand! Let’s show them we care by not supporting these irresponsible industries.