Published: Nov. 19, 2021 By

Like many things in life, sustainability can be a spectrum. The list of things that all of us can do in order to help the planet is endless; and so we must all find the balance in our own lives with what we are able to sacrifice for the greater good. Only you can decide, according to your own moral code, what actions you personally need to take in your life in the fight against climate change.

The Sliding Scale of Sustainability

The Little Things: These could be said to include what you can easily do in your life in order to be more sustainable.

  • Turning off the lights after you leave the room

  • Taking shorter showers

  • Recycling in and out of the home

  • Thrifting more than you buy and using reusables

The Bigger Things: They could be said to be a step up from “The Little Things”. These things might impact your life in a bigger way.

  • Going vegan or vegetarian

  • Eating local produce

  • Biking and using public transportation

  • Checking the labels of the things you buy to make sure they are environmentally friendly

  • Composting in and out of the home

The Lifestyle Switch: These are things that will change your way of living for good.

  • Not flying on airplanes and using only bikes or public transportation

  • Living off-grid

  • Never buying new

  • Using renewable energy

Finding a Balance

  • Only you can decide what you are morally obligated to do. But no one is saying you should be giving up living your life for a cause unless it is truly what you want. However, it is important to note that if everyone did the bare minimum, then the planet would not be in the situation that it is in today.
  • The blame, too, lies mostly in corporations who refuse to make a change--not in individuals who are trying their best. So above all, do what you can.


All or Nothing: The Story of Michael Foster

NPR recently did a story about a man who gave it all up for climate activism. Ironically, this drove a wedge between him and his family. He did not allow his kids to adopt a pet because he believed that they had too big of a carbon footprint. And in 2016, he participated in his biggest activism stunt yet: he and 4 other protestors manually turned off five oil pipelines in North Dakota.

Mike was arrested on site. According to an article by Seattle Met, “At his arraignment Foster still didn’t have legal representation. The prosecutor threw the book at him: eight felony and misdemeanor charges adding up to 51 years.” In the end, he only spent 6 months in prison.

This activism stunt turned Mike into a hero--but also ultimately caused his wife to file for divorce and his children to stop speaking to him. In their eyes, he endangered their family stability for the planet, and ultimately chose his cause over them.

His story is what inspired this article--if you are interested in a gripping tale about what happens when climate beliefs become extreme, check out the podcast here.

How to Deal With Friends Who Aren’t Eco-Conscious

That is why your voice is so important. We all need to vote. We need to be aware of current policy and recognize when it needs to change. The straw movement has gotten a lot of flack for being not very effective at the end of the day. But even straws add up… So can we really be upset that environmentalism is “trendy”? Maybe we should instead see how we can make that trend last.

The way we will fight climate change is from a million different small ways from a million different individuals. The method in which any cause wins supporters is never from a place of negativity or a holier-than-thou mentality. So rather than becoming annoyed with friends and family when they refuse to adopt sustainable habits, instead stop and think: in what ways can they act more sustainably that fit with their own lifestyle and speak to their own moral code?

So have kind debates with your friends about their eco-habits; gift them items that will help them become more sustainable easily. Kindness is always the best tool for the cause.