Be the Squeaky Wheel in Your Natural Habitat

Be the Squeaky Wheel in Your Natural Habitat

In an ideal world, every one of us would approach life with an environmental lens. We would have grown up in a society where a sustainable mindset was standard, and all of our systems would be structured accordingly.

Since we don't live in that world, one of the next best things would be for every city, organization, business, workplace, home, and apartment building to have someone designated to think about sustainability. They would point out areas that need improving and steps the group could take. Everyone would look to them for advice, respect their opinion, and attempt to put their recommendations into action.

We clearly don't live in that world either. But every one of us could help us come closer!

If you're reading this post, you're probably already into sustainability. You're trying to live out those values in your own life. My Earth Day challenge to you is to start voicing your convictions in the spaces you already inhabit. Choose to become the resident environmentalist—the Sustainability Squeaky Wheel—in whatever groups you are already a part of. 

That means offering to do the dishes for your monthly dinner group so you can stop using disposables. It means telling your school's administration that it's unacceptable to use styrofoam cafeteria trays. It means asking your employer to start recycling. It means speaking up when the nonprofit where you volunteer wants to buy plastic water bottles and T-shirts for its event. It means asking your church to start using bar soap or a soap refill service instead of buying new plastic bottles. It means arranging a carpool to the conference, buying local food for the fundraiser, meeting with clients at the coffee shop you know will fill your reusable mug. 

When you see the world through an environmental lens, you see sustainability shortfalls and opportunities for improvement nearly everywhere you go. Become the person who sees them and says something. Become the person who offers solutions. And when someone else in your group or organization does so: support them! 

As a regular in all the spaces you already inhabit, you are the perfect person to speak up to make those spaces more sustainable. You've already shown you are embedded and committed. You know the people and personalities, so you'll be able to speak from the perspective of an insider who genuinely wants to help. Being squeaky doesn't mean you should be insufferable. You can be polite while being passionate and persistent. Show that you care enough about the group to want to make it better. 

Let's start changing our environment from the inside, becoming squeaky wheels of sustainability and serving as environmental ambassadors to others in our habitat!


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