Want to be an environmentalist who is true to their beliefs? One of the best things you can do, believe it or not, is to stop recycling.
It’s an uncomfortable truth, but recycling benefits the environment in almost zero ways. It’s more often used as a low-effort self-comfort mechanism that people use to delude themselves into believing they are helping the environment. This false belief is also perpetuated by companies that participate in greenwashing, and companies that aggressively encourage the public to continue recycling. They do this in order to distract the world from the worst contributors of pollution and environment destruction– the very companies that promote recycling themselves.
So, one of the easiest things we can do is to remember that the “Recycling slogan” has three parts– Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle– and “Recycle” is listed as the last option for a reason. Reducing your consumption and reusing what you already have will do infinitely more good for the environment than any amount of bottle-sorting or trash-stacking.
To read more about why you should stop recycling, please check out this article, this other article, this video, this other video, and yet another article. All of these are excellent reads and we recommend taking a few minutes to watch or read them if you are intrigued by this subject.
Too often we are falling into a lifelong routine. It seems that we are pressured to follow a path to go through school, get through college, get a well paying job, work, have children, work some more, and then retired. What if we don’t follow this path? What if we dream of something a bit different?
Too often our behaviors are not aligned with our values. The underlying principle for learning about sustainability or exhibiting sustainable behavior is values, which we define as beliefs in, or demonstrations of, the significance and meaning of objects, qualities, or human behaviors. When solving sustainability problems, we are confronted with a decision we must make according to our values related to human well-being and survival. As individuals and as a society, we must understand the value-related ramifications of our actions on a host of factors that determine sustainable practices, whether they be corporate, community, or individual. Individuals generally embrace admirable values related to sustainability, but often encounter a “cognitive dissonance” when asked to explain whether their actions accurately reflect their values. In short, many of us often do not act according to our values (it is a question of integrity). This inconsistency often motivates individuals to more actively align their behaviors with their values.