Practicing What We Preach

By preaching about anything controversial, you are bound to receive criticism. Often this criticism can be constructive and valid if it is received properly and offered with good intentions. Throughout my growth as an environmental activist, I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by other like-minded leaders. In observing the habits of others, I am always noticing ways that I can improve my own habits to more closely fit the ideals that I am trying to convince others to take on.

Cowspiracy - the sustainability secret

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"All we would need is for the environmentalists to live what they profess -- and we’d be on a new course in the world,” said Howard Lyman in the documentary, "Cowspiracy". This quote really struck home and made me take a good, long look at my own lifestyle. Since then, one of my greatest personal goals has been moving towards a zero-waste lifestyle and truly modeling the habits that I am trying to convince others to take on. The steps of this life-remodeling have consisted of three main phases:

Zero Waste Lifestyle: Moisturizer and Coffee Body Scrub ...

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  1. Food Choices

    1. Eliminate animal products (greater use of resources, air/water pollution, etc.).

    2. Buy items in bulk to reduce plastic use.

    3. Consume organic/non-GMO food to reduce eutrophication from pesticide runoff and biodiversity decline from selective breeding.

  2. Conscious Consumption Reduction

    1. Buy less, do not give in to perceived obsolescence, repurpose old items, support sustainable businesses when I must buy something.

    2. Eliminate use of single-use products (especially plastic straws, utensils, water bottles, cups, etc.).

    3. Conserve energy/water (shorter showers, unplugging, lights off, walking/carpooling).

  3. Disposal/Reuse of Waste

    1. Properly and diligently sort waste between recycling, landfill, and compost.

    2. Start a home compost.

    3. Reuse waste items creatively instead of tossing them.

23 Creative Ways to Repurpose & Reuse Old Stuff | Bored Panda

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I am proud to say that I’ve achieved most of the steps from the first two phases of this zero-waste personal plan, but there is always room for improvement. I am now at a point where I can honestly say that in most aspects of my life I embody the ideals that I preach as an environmental activist. By modeling these ideals, I am able to influence the people close to me and start dialogues with people who notice my sustainable habits. From here, I intend to expand my sphere of influence outward by engaging in more community work and creating a website where I can compile the information that I have learned throughout my journey towards reducing my personal ecological impact.

One of my other goals from the Sc3 conference was to get a group of student activists together to initiate a strong youth movement within my community. Since Sc3, I have started an Earth Guardians Santa Barbara Crew that I intend to gain momentum with by networking and inviting students from all of Santa Barbara County’s high schools to be a part of the movement. I would also love to host another youth leadership conference sometime in the near future, once I have gained enough interest.

Posted by Emily Kuhn on Jul 29, 2018 5:16 PM America/Chicago


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