Individuals and Sustainability

To be environmentally conscious as an individual is a difficult thing to do. It is extremely hard to completely change one’s ways and behaviors in order to create a more sustainable world. Although many people are beginning to recycle and bike more, let’s be honest, many people (at least in the US) live a pretty unsustainable lifestyle. I’m guilty of it too; however, I’m aware of my unsustainable practices.

While incorporating individual sustainability into my case study, I want to incorporate some of those members of society who may truly think they are being “sustainable” and “environmentally conscious” when, in reality, they are not. Take for example, a yoga class. When I am home on breaks, I like to go to this one particular yoga studio. Many people of society connect yoga to earthiness, centeredness, and “one-with-nature.” However, I can’t help but notice all of the Lulu-lemon (an expensive yoga clothing line) gear and SUVs in the parking lot. Is yoga to center one’s mind to simplify one’s lifestyle, or has it become an outward appearance trend? This also goes along with many people buying Patagonia and North Face outdoor gear, and appearing to be outdoorsy and a lover of the environment and great outdoors. Buy producing, manufacturing, and transporting all these new jackets, we are actually having a greater environmental impact as opposed to using our old jackets or going to a thrift store.

I’m not saying I am a saint in terms of being sustainable at all. I use the plastic and paper inside the Pub nearly everyday. I throw out a plastic bottle occasionally. Sometimes I even go for drives just to go for a drive. Yet, I think there is unawareness amongst society as to what it truly means to be sustainable. Some, like the Lululemon and Patagonia wearing, have the label of being sustainable. They look the part, but do they do the part? Others, the ones that you often don’t notice, are genuinely sustainable through their humble, simple, quiet lifestyle. And the best part is that these are the ones who probably wouldn’t even coin themselves “sustainable” because it’s their lifestyle, behaviors, and everyday ways. They don’t receive a pat on their back every time they recycle. They don’t label themselves.

I hope to convey that “sustainability” isn’t so easy and clear in today’s society. Some wear it as a label, while others live it everyday. Some are think they are “saving the earth,” while others think of it as the normal way to live. There are many boxes that the term “sustainability” can fit into in society today. What box do you think you fit in?

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