by Marie Fatima Gaw
Do your best in whatever you do.
This has been one of my mantras for years now. Indeed, it is my deliberate fight against human race’s tolerance of mediocrity. Every time I work on a project, regardless of it being short-term or long-term, I make sure that I put my best foot forward. After all, it’s just that one shot.
If saving the Earth, or at least trying to save it, is just that one big shot, would we win it?
It’s a fantasy that the environment would suddenly come back to life from one great act, for it took millions of irresponsible human activities and thousands of unsustainable years for it to end up at this current appalling state. People have not changed and they continue to make the same mistakes they are very much aware of. As Environmentalists, we take a proactive role in this fight. We do our best to stop, or at least slow down Mother Nature’s degradation by means we are capable of. Or are we really doing our best?
I read an article once in Reader’s Digest Asia written by man baffled by the ways his daughter keeps her eco-friendly principles intact while behaving otherwise. While his daughter firmly insists he turns off the lights every time after he use it to save energy, he came to realize that she was consuming even more energy than of that little light bulb. She was listening to her ipod, while using Facebook, while she charges her camera, in a well-lit airconditioned room with her door slightly open. He was appalled: his daughter was an eco-nazi.
As much as skipping the straw, or using tumblers instead of availing the disposable plastic cups are good ways to reduce waste and practice our environmentalism, it seems that some ‘environmentalists’ see it as fancy heroic acts and take pride that they’re part of this great cause to save the planet. In reality, these kind of practices are just bare minimums. They do not require much effort. They don’t cost you a peso (in fact you even save from it). They won’t keep you from having fun. Simply put, they are acts of inhibition: you do less, but you don’t necessarily provide an added value. It’s true, that it is hard to do something that would make a difference without collective action. But somehow, it is also absurd to aim to do a greater project if we can’t even fulfill the bare minimums.
All arguments on us inevitably consuming are conceded. Of course we need to eat, we have to consume electricity, we have to use plastic, etc. But we do it by means that have the least impact on the environment. Yes, it’s good that we take these little steps, but I believe we could do push ourselves a little more. Most of the time, we don’t consciously limit our consumption, especially in quantifiable amounts. We don’t tell ourselves: Hey, use your PC for 3 hours only today to save energy. Or, don’t buy that new phone, your phone’s still working. Or I’ll just walk home instead of riding the jeep. Just to be clear, I’m not forwarding an extreme kind of environmentalism here, to the point that we hamper the normal course of our daily life just to be more eco-friendly. My point is, if we can do more, if we can do our best to practice what we preach, we will end up to be better environmentalists. We just need to challenge ourselves more. We will never know how significant our actions are for our cause we fight for.
In whatever we do to forward this cause, let us do our best to live up with our battle cry. We must not just be environmentalists by name, but we must try to be the best environmentalists we could ever be. Who knows, maybe saving the Earth is this one big shot. Surely we don’t want to miss it.