Why are you here?

Today, I gave the “no more garbage” talk to 25 students, who were all pretty sure that I was nuts and no one can make a difference with anything because the world’s problems are too big. At one point, some one asked me ” So you came here to tell us, we all have to be like you” and I said ” No! No. I came here to show you what I did in my life. I’m not trying to change other people. I’m not trying to preach or make you feel bad. I just saw something about my life that I could change and I did, so I’m here to tell you about it.” He didn’t buy it and he asked again “So why are you here, why us?” He kind of has a point. I know it’s futile to try and change other people but if this project was only for me, I would keep it to myself. I do hope people will use what I have learned. I hope that those who are already interested in reducing garbage can avoid the same hassles and mistakes that I made, by reading my blog. I hope that I will inspire people and give them hope. Secretly I do hope the whole world will completely change and then it would be so much easier for me!:) He caught me. I always insist that this project is just for me because I don’t want to be preachy or pretentious and because I don’t like being told what to do, so I don’t want to tell others what to do. But, he’s right, if it really was just about me, I would shut up about it!

Because I try to focus on the positive and on what I myself am doing, I think in my talks, I miss important information, information I always assume every one knows, that they don’t necessarily. That information also helps to answer another question that I was asked which was basically ” Why are you doing this?” The student said no matter how little garbage I make someone else will always make more and make my efforts useless, so why bother. Oh, I have so many good answers now, but when I was asked I was so flustered, I said I was there because their teacher invited me, and I told the star fish story.

Here are some better answers I have come up with since, and some visuals to illustrate. I’m doing this because the world is in rough shape, because if we don’t change, our mistakes could make the earth uninhabitable in as soon as 50 years from now. I’m doing this because when I throw an apple core in the garbage, it goes to landfill and sits there for 100 years but if I compost it, it is back to the earth in about a month. I’m doing this because recycling isn’t enough, it causes pollution and wastes energy and only makes about 1/3 of the original product into a new one- the rest goes into landfill. I’m doing this because I have to believe I can make a difference. I’m doing this because I can.

global warming graph



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6 responses to “Why are you here?

  1. I totally love that last paragraph!

    A huge pat on the back to you for doing what you’re doing.

  2. Jen

    Thank you for the video, and for sharing your story. It’s a little sad to see that even the young, who are supposed to be the vanguard of idealism (aren’t they? or did things change when I wasn’t looking?) have adopted the attitude that nothing is worth changing because it’s hopeless anyway. Yikes! But then again, I suppose most adults don’t provide excellent role models. Thankfully they get to see you as an exception to that rule, and we the educators know what sort of attitudes we’re up against. So I will add this to my list of received ideas to try unteach my future students.

    (p.s. I’m feeling exceptionally lucky to be one of the 3% with an internet connection! Will keep trying to use it for good…)

  3. J

    Speaking out to young people is a great thing – good for you…it most be a bit difficult! I remember at xmas trying to explain to my little cousin why I don’t want to eat meat and why I don’t want to own a car – it can be frustrating because kids have really fast come backs and some of them threw us off. They also tend to just ask “WHY?”, which in itself is a big question…
    I think that you are not only doing this for yourself, and for the informational benefit of others, but most importantly you are doing it for the earth…in the hopes that others can begin to care more or at least realize that they CAN make a difference, and change does not have to be drastic either.

  4. Anna

    I guess there will always be people who don’t understand what you’re doing or think it’s stupid. But, like the starfish story, I bet there was at least one kid in that room of 25 that got something out of your talk. Even if it just made a difference to that one, it was still worth doing!

  5. Felicity

    Power to the people. I love that video. Keep doing what you’re doing. You ARE making a difference.

  6. My father is a good, honest, trustworthy man. Growing up, I wanted to be like him.
    My friends would probably tell you that I am.

    Sometimes, leading by example is all you need do.

    I think this blog, and your opportunities to speak to groups are merely alternative ways to set that example by letting people know more about the choices you make and the life you lead.

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