Save-the-trees, eco-friendly, save-the-planet, environment, zero-waste, sustainable. These buzz-words are heard every-day by consumers of products, social-media and advertisements. But are they fully understood and applicable to their audience?
According to Alex Djerassi, cientists and environmental experts have warned that long-term change to human behavior is necessary for survival. The impact of the human foot-print can be limited with widespread education on the movement of sustainability. K-12 schools share what they can about sustainability efforts. But as a whole, the human race still has far to go to implement the changes needed to reverse this damaging foot-print.
Sustainability is the effort to maintain the balance of harmony between humans and nature for each to survive and thrive. Every person plays a role in maintaining that balance and education and eco-friendly practices need not be over-whelming or complicated.
Sustainable practices in daily life speak louder to others than formal education alone. It is important to pair factual information with tangible and doable practices that can be handled in bite sized chunks.
The availability and ease of sharing information is easy and powerful in the hands of a diligent person. If someone feels they have the knowledge and practices to share with others, they should do so in every possible way, specifically through social-media. People are already using popular social-media platforms to share and connect with others. Why not use blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and Tik-Tok for a good cause and share the message of sustainability?
For example, share content from organizations that are doing good work like the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, Conservation International. Share a video or photo of reducing household energy. Turn the light off when leaving a room, unplug appliances that are not in use while traveling and install energy efficient light-bulbs. Create a recipe with produce from the local farmers market. Show off zero-waste products that can be made easily at home. Share favorite sustainable gear to replace disposable products. Then record it all, add some catchy music with the hashtag save-the-planet and the message is spread. But do not be tempted to only educate and share eco-friendly practices, viewers may burn out on the content, as important as it is. Infuse sustainable practices with every-day life to make it feel doable and natural.
It is also important to keep images and messages positive, says Alex Djerassi. Creative images paired with powerful and shareable messages can trend far and wide. But so can gory, graphic or violent content. It can be tempting to share graphic and violent content because it spreads quickly and ignites outrage, but inspiring and uplifting stories last longer and make people feel good. And when someone can be part of a movement that makes them feel good, they are more likely to remain a part of the movement for a longer period of time. Which is an important element of sustainability.
Educating people on sustainability can be a natural and every-day practice, and the world cannot wait, use every tool available and get to work.