It all started with me being depressed.
During these few years of pretty heavy depression, there were times when I just felt like I could not take it anymore. I wanted out, I wanted things to change.
Now something you should know is that I was raised in the Christian faith, although I never really “took to it”, so to say, and I pretty much stopped going to church as soon as possible (so as soon as I took off for college). I thought the Church and about 90% of the people who go were hypocritical. This really got to me. Especially when I saw fellow students who were acting all godly there but at school it was a different story. As a high school student, I just couldn’t see past that. But I still felt, deep down, that God was real. That there was something more to all of this.
I just didn’t like Church.
Fast forward, me out of college and out into the real world, where things get tough. It is then that I experience depression and loneliness like never before. During a couple of particularly tough episodes, I just had a feeling deep down, that I should reach out to God, and ask for help. That maybe things would be better if I did.
But I didn’t. I’m very stubborn.
So from here we can add in one more year of depression. During yet another particularly hard day, I must have decided my stubbornness was not getting me anywhere, because this time, I cried out (in my mind, okay? Let’s not make it too cheesy) that I wanted help.
Yes, I asked for help.
And from there, things started changing.
Now there are lots of details I could include, but basically it comes down to this:
After asking for help, not just once but repeatedly over a period of about six months, I was led to a church in the city of France (where we were at the time). It was not Catholic and totally not what I was used to, but it was just what I needed. During the two years I was there, for the first time, I felt like I was really meeting God. And I had what you could say a small awakening. And I saw things around me differently – people, the world, you name it – such amazing gifts in our daily lives that were all given to us (This is not to say that suddenly things are all sunny and there are flowers everywhere and there’s a guy bringing free bagels to my door everyday. But yes, my outlook on life has since taken a dramatic turn).
Especially concerning the Earth and its beauty. Such a glorious gift to us. Yet here we are, making a complete crap hole out of it. Fossil fuels, plastics, polluted oceans, Monsanto, the giant meat industry. And I found myself asking,Why? Why would we knowingly do this? Why would we take for granted and destroy something so beautiful, something that’s better than we even deserve? How does that reflect upon us, what does that say about our appreciation to something God has given to us? I’m pretty sure being mean to one of the most beautiful gifts He’s given to us would not please Him.
Now, one could argue: well, I do my best to never litter and I’m pretty sure I make an effort on Earth Day, and I can’t help what I do in my daily choices because there is no other choice but to accept my vente Starbucks frappucino that’s given to me in a plastic cup.
Which is partly true. Sometimes. Yep, I pretty much said those things.
But I think we’ve come to a point where we have to wake up and acknowledge our destructive practices. Even if you don’t believe in climate change (which you should), the truth of the matter is that there are practices going on today that are not good for our planet, and they are hurting it (and ultimately us).
And they do not make God happy.
So what can we do?
Well, while I like to think big (take down the corporations spewing this crap on us!), I think the most practical answer (at least for now) is for people to take small, collective actions. Such as:
- Changing your diet and eating less (or no) meat.
- Avoiding accepting or buying things that come in plastic or other wasteful materials
- Buy in bulk when/where you can.
- Buy local and/or fairtrade from both farmers (organic, if possible) and from artisans.
- Write a letter to companies that do not make an effort to be environmentally-friendly, and tell them why you’re displeased with their products and suggest change.
- Organize events, meetings, a group, that can raise awareness on the subject.
- Really keep track of your trash – what can you do to make your weekly garbage smaller?
- Do not fall prey to the media’s message of more is better and become just another consumer. When you want something, think about why you want it and if it will really help you/make your life better.
And if enough people do these things, the companies will listen to us and be forced to change (if they want to survive).
Further reading that may be helpful:
- Tips on how to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle
- why we should eat less meat
- How you can start eating less meat
- Understand why fast fashion is bad (also available on NETFLIX)
- Tips how to avoid fast fashion
- Change your way of eating (may be available on YOUTUBE)
And there are countless more articles, books, documentaries – but let these get you started!