The Fad Around Environment Sustainability

Reusable water bottles and metal straws help the environment but have very little effect on a global scale.

Media by Alayna Higdon

Reusable water bottles and metal straws help the environment but have very little effect on a global scale.

I only use reusable water bottles, but I also use plastic bags, drink out of plastic straws, and use gas in my car. Although I am taking a step to better my actions, is it really making a difference? 

My lifestyle takes up 3.6 Earths, according to the Global Footprint Network, an organization that develops and promotes tools for advancing sustainability. If everyone in the world were to live my lifestyle, humans would need more than three  worlds to survive. 

I do not view my lifestyle to be particularly harmful to the environment, but I don’t do enough to help the environment either. Are being environmentally friendly and using reusable water bottles and swearing off plastic straws just fads or are people passionate about the environment?

Reducing consumption of meat and dairy are the top things people can do individually to help reduce their carbon footprint, according to Nature’s Path, a privately owned food company that promotes sustainability and environmental education.

But only 5 percent of Americans say they are vegetarian and 3 percent say they are vegan, according to a Gallup Survey in 2018. As the fad of environmental awareness increases, the actions to conserve do not match the attitudes shown. 

Buying reusable water bottles and metal straws is a step in the right direction to sustainability and staying eco-friendly, but it is not enough. The trend is easy for people to participate in because it has instant gratification. 

It does not take effort or constant focus to use a reusable water bottle. It takes more effort to change a person’s eating habits, begin composting, consciously recycle or carpool. 

There is a double standard when it comes to the fad of environmental sustainability: people tend to participate in the easy, gratifying and effortless tasks with the misinterpretation that they are positively impacting the environment; when in reality, their limited efforts have a smaller impact than perceived.

Nevertheless, all environmentally friendly behavior is appreciated. Any conscious decision a person makes, from deciding to carpool with a friend to a party, recycling unnecessary school papers, or turning off the water while a person brushes their teeth. Little things will eventually lead to great outcomes, but eco-fads have very little effect on the environment.

Environmental education is important. Learn the effect that each person has on the world. Saving the environment is not to boost a person’s self-image. Sustainability is not a fad; sustainability is a way of life that humans must adapt to be able to live.