Why Many People Don’t Give a BLEEP about Nature
Environmentalism needs re-branding.
Even with all of the important and necessary conferences, marches, debates, news coverage, and conversations going on about the environment – there are still so many people who don’t seem to care.
- Out of sight, out of mind
It’s been shown that public concern about climate change from people who live in wealthy countries like Canada, U.S., and Australia, has steadily decreased regardless of the increased news attention about the frightening changes in long-term weather patterns causing severe floods, storms, and droughts.
Many people simply don’t care because in their minds climate change doesn’t affect us. We can still be insanely wasteful with our electricity, water, and food, and our life goes on just as it did before. What many fail to realize is that our carelessness greatly affects the lives of millions who are negatively affected by the rapidity with which we are drying up our water resources, stripping our forests, and mining our lands. For many, if we can’t see it and feel it, it’s not happening. Even though the ice caps are melting and storms worldwide are intensifying – it’s still happening somewhere else. Next month’s rent is more important. We, as humans, tend to focus on immediate threats (like my bills), instead of future ones (global destruction).
2. We are the social generation that has become disconnected from nature
We live in the information age where social media dominates and we have divorced ourselves from our stewardship role in preserving the environment. People often seem to forget that we depend entirely on what nature provides for our health and well-being. After generations of urbanization and exerting power over nature, we have lost our connection to it. Kids don’t go outside and play anymore, they stay indoors and play video games or game apps on their iPad.
3. It costs money to be green
I know a lot of people who want to be more ‘green’ but believe they simply can’t afford it. This is partly true. For those that want to eat more organic food or use natural beauty products, they are often more expensive. This is rapidly changing. Eating organic, all natural food is becoming more mainstream and stores are offering more choices at lower costs for consumers.
Some big businesses and corporations have converted their production processes to more energy efficient practices, incorporated CSR and Sustainability departments, run environmental programs for environmental initiatives or charities all because they have finally figured out that investing in the environment pays off in the long-run.
4. It’s too late to make any real change
Nearly 52% of the world’s wildlife has disappeared in the last 40 years and yet people still think we are powerless to make any real change. If we can destroy that much wildlife surely we can help restore habitat and save species that are severely declining because of anthropogenic causes.
So, how do we re-brand environmentalism to get people to care?
Change the conversation. Talk about the dreams of healthier communities, smarter green growth, and thriving communities of wildlife. Instead of yelling at those who aren’t changing, only causing them to fiercely defend themselves in the face of climate change or wasteful use of resources, have conversations in a supportive framework. Tell stories of others who have done amazing things to save the environment and tell stories, especially of those are have done small, simple things that have a big impact on the environment. Lastly, and most importantly, tell stories to children. Creating a generation of young environmental champions is what will change the game for environmentalism.
Start off with a simple act, like using less water in your home or composting your food in an effort to send less waste to landfills.