Environmentalists: What are they? Am I one? Can I be one?

According to Merriam-Webster, environmentalism is advocacy of the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment; especially:  the movement to control pollution.

I am always up for advocating for those whose voices are not heard.  The Earth is a special case because she has been trying to warn us with rising temperatures, mass extinction, and increased infections/illnesses due to smog, but we are not listening!!!

tree-hugger

me hugging a very big tree

When someone says “environmentalism,” many people think about tree-huggers, “extreme” vegans, bicyclists who don’t shower, “hippies” who don’t shave, a crazy lady who yells at you for not recycling, and any other stereotype that may or may not be true about me.  It turns out plenty of people fit into those categories who aren’t concerned about environmentalism and plenty of environmentalists don’t fit into those categories!  You don’t have to be all (or any) of these people in order to start on your path to advocating for the natural environment.  Your path does not even have to be towards these descriptions!

 

tree-hugger

me hugging a not so big tree

Questions have circulated such as “Can you call yourself an environmentalist and still eat meat?” and “Can you call yourself an environmentalist if you have kids?”  I definitely think you can and I think you can do a lot of good!  I am not arguing that reducing meat consumption and population would not have a positive impact on the environment.  It definitely would, but that should not stop someone from having access to the environmentalism community.  There are so many more things we can do together such as recycle, take shorter showers, not buying fast fashion, reduce storm water runoff with bioswales, grow fresh food, reduce energy consumption, research renewable energy options, use reusable shopping bags, plant trees, and literally so much more!  You don’t have to do everything as long as you’re not doing nothing!

As an environmentalism community we should ask for change from each other and expect change from ourselves. We should advocate for a shift towards environmentally friendly actions, but also be welcoming and accessible to those who are not ready or even able to make big changes. Each positive action or reduction of negative actions add up!  No two environmentalists are the same so our goals may not be the same.  Regardless, we need to support each other!

Let me know your current goals below!  And let me know if you agree that meat-eating, children-having, car-driving, (anything else-doing) people are members of our community.

An Improved Lesson on Putting Myself First

Here we go again!

This semester was all about… well, everything except me.

  • Tutoring anyone and everyone who asked
  • Helping my friends and family struggling mentally and physically
  • German club planning and chairing
  • Watching over the girls who lived in the building I was employed in
  • Sending out emails and tweeting for organizations I belonged to
  • Spreading the word about environmentalism
  • Driving people where they needed to go
  • Studying hard for classes I was told to take

Somehow I ended up rarely eating, sleeping, or breathing. Before I even acknowledged there was a problem, I ended up in an eating disorder treatment facility. I was still in disbelief and worried about letting everyone down because I was no longer able to fill my obligations bulleted above.

I felt guilty and ashamed. I attempted to slip out of my life without anyone noticing.

Since then I have noticed that shame hates when we tell our story so that is exactly what I am going to start doing.

I never really thought that I was special or different. But I did. I expected myself to accomplish more than what I expected of others. I criticized myself more than anyone else. I reminded everyone that nobody is perfect, but hated myself for my imperfections.

Now I believe I am closer than ever to living an authentic life. The final six weeks of the semester were dedicated to healing and authenticity. I did not end the semester perfectly. I ended it a lot different than the beginning would have suggested.

It has been hard to put my life on hold, but when I return I will be living life in a way I never had before. I will be real, perfectly imperfect, and courageous.

I have always wanted to be courageous, but I didn’t think it was possible.  Mary Daly’s words inspired me when she said,

Courage is like — it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue:  You get it by courageous acts.  It’s like you learn to swim by swimming.  You learn courage by couraging.

This post is proof that I am couraging.

I hope to continue the trend of sharing my truth. Let me know what y’all think!

Sometimes You Have to Put Yourself First

I’ve been fairly inactive lately.  I recently got diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, which is what has caused my mysterious lower abdomen pain that I’ve had since I was as young as 6.

When I got home from the doctor’s office with an answer finally, I realized every single food and drink item in my home was not good for the bladder.  Choosing food with this condition can be extremely difficult.  I had to give away my bananas, vegan Ben & Jerry’s, popcorn, pretzels, soy sauce, tangerines, lemonade, granola bars, green bell peppers, onions, marinara sauce… I could go on and on, but that would just make me sad.

Now I’m practically surviving on unsalted almonds, peanut butter, plain cereal, unsweetened almond milk, and potatoes.  Eventually, I should be able to add some foods back because each bladder is different.

For now, my doctor suggested adding in some dairy products, which I was very resistant to, of course.  Once I had a plain vanilla milkshake, it calmed down the flare up I was having.  Since then, I’ve had one almost every single day.

It has allowed me to eat with slightly more variation, which has made me have more energy than I had before the diagnosis or when eating the same things over and over.  Apparently variety is important when it comes to getting all the nutrients you need to be healthy, who knew.

I’m hoping to return to dairy-free life once I hopefully add more food to my diet.  But for now, I am proud to be a vegetarian who is taking care of herself.  It’s impossible for me to go anywhere and do anything, let alone spread the message of environmentalism when I’m in so much pain.

It reminds me of when the flight attendants always say, “Please put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”  It’s very impractical, if not impossible to help others when you have not helped yourself first.


It might feel like the weight of saving the world is on your shoulders (or is that just me?), but double check you aren’t risking your physical or mental health in the process!


head_standole_miss_fit_rig

being upside down is one of my favorite things to do, but I haven’t been able to do it since my diagnosis, but I’m hopeful I’ll return to my natural state soon. 🙂

 


If y’all have any questions or helpful advice, please comment below!