I refuse to be the reason the polar bears go extinct.
All of us, every living creature, is in a long-term relationship with the planet we occupy. But right now it looks more like a toxic relationship, as we humans treat Earth like shit. We tell her we love her, then poison her and neglect her needs because our wants are FAR more important to our selfish egos. Those egos are leading us to destroy our home, as well as all the other occupants of this beautiful little miracle of a floating rock.
DO YOU WANT THIS LITTLE GUY TO DIE?
(Source: Cutearoo, which is appropriate because LOOK AT DAT FACE)
No? That’s what I thought. It’s time to stop and put a little TLC into our relationship with Earth before she abandons us altogether and lets us choke on our own carbon dioxide fumes.
Join me in making this pledge.
I SWEAR I WILL…
…recycle whenever possible, even if it presents a slight inconvenience to me, such as carrying recyclables in my purse until I encounter a designated bin. (Not sure what you can recycle or not? Find out.)
…avoid buying plastic water bottles and buy a nice reusable water bottle I can use again and again to save money AND the environment. (May I suggest this amazing one?)
…bring reusable cloth bags to the grocery store so that I’m not acquiring a giant mound of plastic bags every time I shop that will never decompose. Like, basically never. (Educate yo’ self.) But on the rare occasion that I forget said bags (keep them in your car at all times to make it easy), I will bring back the plastic bags to the grocery store to be recycled.
…take shorter showers. You do not need a 20 minute shower. No one needs that much time to get clean. Da fuck do you have on your body that requires so much scrubbing time?
…think about what I eat. Buy organic. Buy local. Eat more vegetables and less meat. Maybe confront the fact that there’s even more at stake here than your health, although health is also pretty freaking good reason to stop eating junk food. At this point many of us know that an organic apple doesn’t deliver that many different nutrients than a non-organic apple (they do taste a hell of a lot better though). BUT that organic apple also doesn’t deliver devastating pesticides that will probably give you cancer and will definitely make a million other living things die when they come into contact with it. Pesticides don’t know when to stop killing. They’re chemicals, not little robots designed to kill plant-eating bugs while dressed like Ghostbusters.
(Awesome meme created by yours truly.)
…stop eating fish. WHAT!?!?! I know. I know. Fish is normally considered the gold standard of health. But the rate at which we’re depleting our ocean ecosystems is not sustainable. Also, you don’t need to eat fish to get Omega-3s. The food industry just LOVES to sell us a great big wad of lies. Try flax oil, or eat chia seeds, or just pop a vegan supplement. Hello, gorgeous skin, and hello, happy little fishies!)
…buy eco-friendly household supplies. You do not need to buy a bottle of Downy to soften your clothes. Just throw in a splash of distilled white vinegar into your washing machine and voila! Clean, soft clothes! It’s cheap and much better for you and the environment. Yes, a lot of eco-friendly shit is ridiculously expensive and Whole Foods makes you want to immediately run away screaming with your hands clutched tightly around your wallet. Me, too. So get your goods on Amazon. Everything is available for cheap online if you just search a little.
…pay attention. Yes, we all know it’s an Inconvenient Truth. But we’re also apparently really really bothered by this inconvenience, because very little has happened recently to change the course of global climate change. Yes, the weather is starting to get really weird. But it’s not just because Earth is bored and wants to see how we react to record high temperatures or torrential hurricanes. Earth is sending us a warning.
None of the above resolutions are remotely difficult to put into action. They don’t have to break the bank or take up your entire day. I do them all, and I’m 26 and live in SoCal and only have a part-time level income while basically having no free time whatsoever. You do not need to be richer, smarter, older, less busy, or whatever other excuse people like to use to make themselves feel better about their thoughtlessness. You are in a relationship. So step up and be committed.
Don’t do it because I’m telling you to do it. Do it for your kids, your comfort (who wants to live on a dry barren cancer zone of a planet?), your health, your world.
Do it for the polar bears.
It astounds me that anyone still maintains that climate change (aka global warming) is a myth. It is 100 degrees in San Diego right now — in the middle of September. We’re also in the midst of a devastating drought that has resulted in deadly fires. A heat alert has just been issued for much of LA as we reach record temperature highs. Meanwhile, anyone remember all the violent storms that hit the other coast last winter?
…IT’S FUCKING HAPPENING YOU GUYS. This is the Earth’s way of giving us humans a warning we can’t afford to ignore.
Image Source: Political Hype
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You want to do something great with your life, but you don’t know what.
You jump from job to job even though you’re in your mid-to-late 20s or early 30s and feel you should have an accomplished career at this point.
You don’t want to sit at the same desk for your entire life because you want more for yourself.
You’re jealous of those ridiculously successful individuals who are millionaires at a young age because they created a popular app or teach girls how to do makeup on YouTube or built a blog so cool all the advertisers came a’knocking. (I wish.)
You have many interests but aren’t sure which one you should pursue, and are in fact put out that you’re being pressured to pursue any one thing in particular anyway.
Work? Who wants to work? You have no burning desire to hold a job of any kind and mostly just want to have another drink.
Any of the above ring familiar? Then congratulations! You’re part of Generation Y, or, perhaps more accurately, Generation WHY, a group of individuals born in the 1980s up to the early 2000s. (That’s a really freaking broad range, actually. Thanks a lot, Wikipedia.) You’re part of this generation of teens/20 or 30-somethings that are sometimes referred to as Millennials, or, more frequently, “those fucking kids these days.”
And you might find it really hard to figure out what the hell to do with your life.
It’s okay! I’m part of that group too, and I have a tremendous helping of self-loathing to accompany it. There have been so many articles written about the desperate state of affairs of our generation that there’s really no need to add more to the conversation. Yes, we’re a bit aimless. Yes, we’ve all been told we’re SUPERSTARS from the moment we were born. Yes, we’re glued to our iPhones.
I find it very amusing, however, that the people that most complain about this new type of behavior is the generation above us (hi parents!) that MADE US THIS WAY. They’ve no one to blame but themselves, really.
Yes, that statement totally makes me sounds like the selfish, spoiled, entitled Generation WHY-er that I am. But in all seriousness, the important fact is that I recognize these traits within myself, and while sometimes I wish I could just be happy to get an accounting job and move to Iowa (no offense to Iowa, I’m sure it’s lovely) and marry the guy in IT and pop out some babies and just be fucking satisfied with that, I’m really more than happy to dwell in this relentless state of wanting more. Because that life scenario makes me want to scream just thinking about it. There’s so much more to life than coming home at 5pm every day and watching reality TV for 4 hours before going to bed to repeat it all over again while pondering the very difficult decision of whether to buy the 300- or 400-thread-count sheets at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Great successes are only accomplished by those who never stop trying, who never settle. So I’m trying to spin my ennui until it’s at an angle where it looks more like DRIVE or PASSION.
It’s okay to be a little aimless. Don’t do it to the point where you’re drowning in debt and making shitty decisions, but life isn’t about any one thing. Who says you can ONLY be an expert in marine biology, even if that’s what you chose to major in at college? Maybe you really like ocean wildlife AND breakdancing AND selling blackboard crafts on Etsy AND following politics and you can’t figure out which one you should “focus” on? That doesn’t make you an unaccomplished failure. That makes you fucking interesting.
In the past, people called these varied interests “hobbies.” How about we just start calling them your LIFE? You don’t need to be stuck doing only one thing. Do everything. Do all the things. Life is short. Don’t be stupid, put your all into everything that you do, and go ahead and be a SUPERSTAR. Just remember that everyone else is a superstar, too, so if your friend really does dig punching numbers, then that’s cool too.
Let’s start calling ourselves Generation WHY NOT. Because really, why the fuck not?
My personal hell is not working out. Which is why, for one week, I did exactly that: I’m forbade myself from exercising.
For many people, going to the gym is a chore, and finding the time and the motivation to exercise seems impossible. For me (and, I suspect, many other —often silent— exercise-addicts), it’s the opposite. If I try to go one day without busting my ass at the gym, I feel a crawling, overwhelming panic. It starts in my stomach and creeps up into my chest, where it tightens and strangles, and finally works its way into my brain until working out is all I can think about. I’ve never wanted to be a Fitness Nazi. My body just won’t let me be any other way. Or so I’ve always thought.
I’ve been compelled (and it is a compulsion) to work out since I was in my teens, which just so happens to be right around the time I developed an eating disorder. And while I’ve spent many years conquering the eating disorder voices (they’re still there; I just tell them to shut the fuck up most of the time), I’ve never bothered to challenge the ones that demand that I workout until I can barely move every single day.
Truthfully, I have never challenged the voices because I didn’t think they were bad. We are a culture obsessed with fitness and health, as the backlash against America’s obesity epidemic has resulted in a social media onslaught of workout motivation. This is fantastic and incredibly helpful for those pursuing a stable, healthy life, but the “fitspo” revolution is incredibly harmful for someone like me, who never feels like she’s fit enough or cut enough or skinny enough.
My biggest hang-up has always been my abs. I do every ab exercise under the sun but as soon as I log on to Tumblr (or wherever the evil Fitspo-dwellers may lie), I am presented with an image of a girl with a 6 pack, or, heavens, sometimes even an 8 pack, and I immediately hate myself. I certainly don’t take the time to appreciate my body for the time and effort I demanded of it; my abs will never be good enough. My body will never be good enough.
There is a definitive line between being healthy and being obsessed, and the latter offers absolutely none of the benefits of the former. If you work out in order to maintain the proper level of health and fitness for your body, you’ll have increased energy, improved mood, and mental clarity. If you work out excessively, like me, you’ll be exhausted all the time, constantly injure yourself, feel irritable and anxious, and find yourself unable to live in the moment and focus on having fun instead of planning your next workout or comparing yourself to every other body around you.
It may sound extreme, but I’m not exaggerating. I’ve sprained my right ankle six times in the past year, at least. I lost count. Every time I sprained it and a doctor told me to take a week to rest my ankle and not exercise, I smiled and replied, “Okay,” then rolled my eyes as I headed to my car because clearly the doctor doesn’t know ME and I am SPECIAL and of COURSE I can still work out, idiot.
The devastating side of all this is that I know I’m not the only person who struggles with this. I know men are susceptible, but since I am not a man, I am focusing on the devastating pressure women endure every second of every day to be smaller than we are. I believe the focus on reducing our physical size goes hand-in-hand with society’s desire to diminish female power. If women are diverting all of their time and energy towards their appearance, they can’t devote that power to making their voices heard. In a nation that still devalues women, that suits those already in power just fine. The poem “Shrinking Women” by Lily Myers articulates this unacceptable predicament perfectly.
I don’t want to be a shrinking woman. I want to be a strong presence, I want my voice to have an impact. I want to fill up a space with my energy.
So I challenged myself to go a week without working out to confront the voices that demanded that daily exercise is necessary and focus some of that brainpower to actually improving my life. And the results were exactly what you’d hope. The first couple of days were unbearable. Working out was all I could think about. By day three, I was making rationalizations with myself in my brain, trying to convince myself that I could slip in just one little workout and it wouldn’t hurt. It was agonizing. But gradually, the pressure to exercise began to slip away, and I found myself feeling lighter, happier, and more energetic.
By the end of the week, nothing monumental had happened to me physically. My body looked exactly the same, and when I went to work out that first day back, I found I hadn’t lost any of my former strength; in fact, I felt stronger, and my recovery time was greatly reduced. It was a relatively trivial experiment in the grand scheme of things, but to me it was extraordinary. I found my inner strength and I finally had definitive proof that it was okay to take it easy when I felt myself growing weak and skip a workout (or two, or three, or seven). More importantly, I was reminded of the fact that my attention is far better spent improving my own life and the lives of others.
From now on, I will use exercise a means to better myself, not as a way to abuse myself. I will not be another shrinking woman.