Elianna in Kentucky

I have to admit that my family does not do as much as I wish to help the environment. How can you change the minds of the people in charge of your family who grew up during when climate change was not their biggest concern? But I must give props where they are due. My family has always regularly recycled. We have one bin for the trash, and one bin for all recyclable material. Coming from an immigrant ethnic family, there is a well drilled mentality of not wasting anything. Not wasting food, not throwing away old clothes, using the same shoes until they’re worn to the sole before ever thinking of purchasing a new pair. The way we have kept this up, I would assume we are less wasteful than the average.

Another thing we do is consume less beef to reduce carbon emissions from the processes of those facilities. My family has a primarily fish and chicken diet. I myself have moved over onto a primarly fish diet, because I have now allowed myself to wield the power over my food choices, and I know that a pescatarian diet is better for myself and the environment. White fleshed fish are nutrient rich, packed with beneficial quantities of protein. Fish is a lean meat, so it is overall healthier. Not only did I decide to cut out beef, but many of the byproducts of cows too, like cheese, yogurt, milk, all things dairy. I think if I had not found out that I was lactose intolerant about three years ago, I may have never made the dairy cut. But once I went all in, I noticed that I had a much easier time digesting food. My skin became even more clear. I wasn’t plagued with painful stomach aches. I didn’t feel weighed down by dairy. Not only was I feeling a lot better, but I realized this change was also doing the environment a favor. Though these habits seem rather small in the grand scheme of things, it does make me feel that we are at least doing our part.

brick wall graphic

The problem lies with other people not doing their part. It’s always the people who need to be doing their part because they have the most impact who don’t do it. The most recent generations are bending over backwards trying to get people to listen to the environment and its pleas for help, but eventually it becomes much like addressing a brick wall. Some people just don’t listen, don’t care, refuse to get it. This is entirely infuriating.

What more can we do other than “our part,” if the amount of work going towards saving the planet is always going to be counteracted by exponentially more problems coming in? How many more people is it going to take saying “If we only did this much by this time frame, we could be doing a lot better,” or “If we had done this already, we could have prevented this,” before something actually happens? Who else can help us now other than ourselves?

Image courtesy Healthy Food-National Cancer Institute

Eliana’s  story is part of a collaborative project by Acclimatewest, Bioneers, and Mycelium Youth Network and WeRise to lift up youth voices in difficult times.  To hear other stories from the project check out this podcast produced by WeRise.