Do you recycle? Why? Why not?
In my condo, there are 14 general recycling bins for everything and 12 more specialised recycling trash cans. Many people do not use these as they are not in every block. If I see someone throwing cans or cardboard in the normal trash, I try to politely tell them to throw it in the recycling bins instead. Although the nearest bin is quite far from my house, I make the effort to go three times a week to drop off all our recyclable trash in their designated bins. My family may tell me to save the effort and just drop a few items into the normal trash can but I always refuse. I believe it is worth walking for 3 extra minutes to the recycling bins for the sake of our environment. As a geographer, it is one of my duties to be an environmental leader. I need to set an example for others. I recycle because I do believe that although recycling is not the solution to the problems, it is a step in the right direction. It is hard to produce 0 waste but whatever waste can be recycled should be. I feel bad if I through plastic, paper or cans in the normal trash and refuse to change my recycling habits wherever I live. This is a topic I have been passionate about especially after completing a Global Perspectives critical challenge project on this topic in grade 10.
To what extended do you think that complacency is to blame for people not dealing with environmental problems?
First, the world complacency means a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc. This for sure is a reason why many people avoid the topic of environmental problems and how to tackle environmental issues. Living in a little bubble, it is hard to think of our environmental impact. We get on with our daily duties the way we would like to Mindsets that people have is the root of the problem. If people don’t see the destruction their habits are causing, they will merely continue how they are living. This leaves many people in the world oblivious to the various environmental problems they are contributing to. Mindsets are the hardest things to change as these can be set and require the most effort to change but changing mindsets, can change the way the world functions. If people believe that many of their daily activities have a negative impact on the environment and slight modifications to them does a little bit to preserve our environment then we are making progress as a community.
The general public doesn’t wish to take an extra effort for something they can’t visibly see the effect of. They are unaware of their impact as it is not as black and white as other things. This is also a major reason why people hesitate from trying to make changes to their lives. On the other hand, many people have just never got the exposure to the knowledge and therefore can’t do their part because they are just unaware of how.
To an extent, a lot of these changes that may seem little are very hard to eliminate. An example of this is not using a straw when drinking store bought drinks. A lot of the time, it is impossible to drink the drink without a straw and other times it’s simply harder to drink without a straw. Although this would have a positive impact on the environment by reducing the amount of plastic used, it is an inconvenience to many. People need incentives to take any action. Perhaps, if drinks are 50c cheaper if you say no to a straw, more people would be willing to shift their habits. Humans think of themselves first. That is just how humans are. If an incentive is given, more people may change their mindsets and/or try to do their part.
People believe the ideas of climate change or other environmental issues are obscure ideas that are vague and not to happen in our lifetime. If it’s not in our lifetime, what have we got to worry about? This is a common mindset that exists in our society today. People continue contributing to these problems and worsening it without any form of change being implemented in their daily habits purely due to the fact that they are unaware of what they are doing or they chose to believe that they are not contributing. Many people also believe that their small change won’t have any impact and therefore see it as quite useless. A mindset shift is essential. People need to understand that every action counts, no matter how little it is.
An example of this is the president of the USA, Donald Trump. He is a prime example of someone who uses complacency to avoid climate change. He doesn’t know about the science and evidence behind it and merely believes that some Chinese people made up a conspiracy theory about it. As he fails to understand climate change, he maintains a closed mind toward discussions on the topic and tries to uninvolved the world’s greatest power from climate change talks with the world. He believes that our existing situation is fine and nothing like climate change is going to change how the world works now.
Despite this, many environmental activists and people in power and doing their point to raise more awareness of ways we can change our daily lifestyles to become more environmentally friendly. Now it’s up to the people to implement these strategies and do their part to save the environment.