Convenience: the state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty. Our lives almost depend on convenience, don’t they? Because the opposite of convenience is inconvenience: trouble or difficulty caused to one’s personal requirements or comfort. Yuk, who wants that! Just getting stuff done, making sure you can get through your day, and checking everything off on your to do list almost requires things to be convenient.
Now let’s consider trying to look beyond our daily tasks, our own personal world, and think about the bigger picture. Our planet and climate are changing, and it’s bordering on irreversible at this point. But, adding another worry, another focus, to our daily lives seems so overwhelming. But, if we don’t start inconveniencing ourselves now, Mother Nature will do it for us. We have already been given big picture warnings in the form of devastating fires, flooding, and extinction of animals. Our oceans and other bodies of water are polluted with chemicals and waste that are killing marine life. If we continue to ignore this, the effects will soon be in our backyards.
But how can we possibly inconvenience our busy, stressful lives by trying to do something about the environment? My daughter is 14 years old and is literally obsessed with trying to protect the environment. The changes she has made to her life are numerous... and admirable. She’s a vegan, never uses plastic bags, buys products that are environmentally sound (well I buy them...). But, I often think, her life is so much less complicated than mine, so much more straight forward. I mean, she doesn’t have as many things to do or worry about. She can spend so much more time planning her day, researching things, and making food that is healthy and environmentally conscious. I have to worry about money, time, work, home - you know...
So, I’ve come to two conclusions: one, start being inconvenienced early in life. So, if you are a parent, teacher, aunt, uncle, grandparent - anyone who interacts with children frequently - teach them good habits right from the start. Talk about not using plastics, creating minimal waste, looking for environmentally safe products, and supporting companies who are environmentally-minded. Teach them about animal cruelty, nature’s beauty - start with your own backyard. Young minds are impressionable, curious, and innovative. Armed with the right knowledge, their decisions will forever be centered in the right direction. And, this can be one of the biggest contributions you make to our planet, and the next generation's future.
Two: if you are already somewhat “set in your ways” or just trying to get through the day-to-day grind, and being environmentally conscious cannot be the sole focus of your day, choose one or two things you can do. It might be inconvenient, but it is something to which you think you can really dedicate yourself. One of mine is using my reusable cup at Starbucks every day. It’s a pain sometimes, especially when I didn’t wash my cup the night before and I have to do it quick before I run out of the door in the morning. But, you know what, when I use it, I feel like I’m doing something. I’m saving a plastic cup and straw from being used everyday. Imagine if we all did just that. Think about how many plastic cups and straws are used everyday, just at Starbucks! Oh, and one other thing: I never get plastic bags at the store - not for fruits and veggies, not for groceries. I bring my own bags. Imagine if we all did that!
We have to do something. Changes in the environment will eventually irreversibly alter our way of life if we don't all agree to tolerate some inconveniences now. Some of us are in a position to be completely dedicated to this cause. Some of are not. But we all can do one thing: agree to one small (or not so small) inconvenience. And each one of us doing one thing, all together means we end up doing a lot!