Babes For a Better Earth
Written by Mara Strobel-Lanka // Edited by Chelsea DuDeVoire
When I was in high school, I covered every inch of wall space in my room with inspirational quotes. At sixteen, I didn't realize (or care) how obnoxious it was - I just knew that it annoyed my mother and impressed my friends at sleepovers. I eventually outgrew my adoration for Pinterest-worthy words and phrases, but one in particular has always stuck with me. I’ve since turned it into my unspoken mantra: Leave the world a little better than you found it. Up until recently, I believed I was doing a pretty good job at this task, minus the inevitable mishaps and mistakes I tell myself that every human is designed to make, (right?)
The Earth is warming at an alarming rate. Forests are being clear-cut in exchange for a surplus of suburban housing. The oceans are swimming with plastic. The Great Barrier Reef is terminal. The fossil fuels that our modern conveniences depend on are killing the Earth that we depend on… and not much of my plastic-consuming, processed-food-eating, oil-revolving life has done much to stop it. I have, in the past, pushed these problems onto to the world’s engineers and scientists, relying on people of power to take responsibility, and sinking into the toxic conveniences that surround me until someone else “fixes” this whole climate change thing. To me, the damage that has already been done seemed too overwhelming for my reusable bags and carpool days to stand up to – and maybe it is. Or maybe - if 7 billion people hustled their best to leave our Earth a little better than we found it - we’d have ourselves a start.
Often, the evidence of our impact is not even the most frightening part. We see it every day: plastic debris scattered across every puzzle-piece of land, clouds of black smoke billowing from tired semi-trucks, clear-cut logs thrown sadly along highway landscapes, extraordinary super storms, littering our planet’s weather channels and vulnerable terrains. The most frightening part isn’t even the action we must take, but the decision itself to start acting. Let’s do something. Not everything, not all at once, and not just on Earth Day.
To hear that the disposable coffee cups, fast fashion, and processed foods that we all enjoy treating ourselves to on an everyday basis are cluttering, taxing, and killing the planet… is discouraging, to say the least. Luckily, none of these things are all that important in the long run, and none of them will be very missed (except maybe Oreos.)
Open up your refrigerator or medicine cabinet and count all of the products wrapped in plastic. Take a look at your calendar week and ask yourself which activities do not necessarily demand driving to. Text your co-worker and coordinate a carpool. Hop on your bicycle. Then, once you become nice and adjusted to these things, pick up a few others. Eliminate plastic waste, buy local produce, eat less meat, and at the very least, recycle. The scope of the problem can sometimes make these changes feel minuscule, but the reality is that if we don’t make them ourselves, we’re only waiting for catastrophe to make them for us.
Once you’ve adapted to those changes, the “big picture” transformations come easily. Whether you’re holding up a sign in the March for Science, or calling your State Senator one or two or five times a week to advocate for climate action, or just voting with your dollar and supporting local, small businesses with minimal footprints, becoming an environmental activist doesn’t happen overnight. It happens one vote, one conversation, and one decision at a time. It’s a slow, steady hustle; one we can’t afford to give up.
The most important part of this Hustle is to keep up. Keep up with all of the exhausting news articles, saddening statistics, and concerning conversations. Read the books, listen to the podcasts, and start the hard chats at dinner dates about the place in peril that we all call home. The more we all know about this climate change thing, the harder it is to ignore. I gave up meat a year ago because I followed my local passionate, loud and Zero-Waste barista on Instagram, and in turn, fell down a black hole of sustainable living articles. If one person reading this decides to do the same, together we’ll save 404 animals, 390 pounds of meat, and 3,218 pounds of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere in just one year.
Maybe you can write it all off as a lost cause, or maybe, just maybe, we can all do one thing, one day at a time, to leave this Earth a little better than we found it.
Mara is the Babes Who Hustle executive assistant in addition to being the content creator for local Jacksonville, FL boutique, Momni. When she's not styling photoshoots and writing for the Momni blog: The Boutique Next Door, you can find her sailing, dancing, or sprawled out on a beach blanket with her latest read.