One of my favorite things to do in the entire world is to spend time outdoors. I am 99% positive that I sound like a broken record by now when I say that being outside grounds me, but I feel as though it is an essential fact, if you are going to understand me as a person. Since I was little, my family and I have always gone on outdoor adventures. We have a tradition where we go tent camping over the week of Thanksgiving (which also happens to be my birthday). Some of my best childhood memories are from these types of trips. I have always loved the atmosphere that comes with the great outdoors. It is comforting for me to remind myself that the world is much bigger than my own problems.
Since I have been in Santa Rosa, I've noticed how irritated I have been by other people on the beach. I have been picking up trash left and right. It infuriates me how people can be so careless and just leave their plastic, their cans, and their wrappers on the beach. We are all guilty of sitting around and judging others when they do not practice what they preach, yet we never think to question ourselves.
Do I practice what I preach? To be honest, the answer is no. Today, I realized that I talk about how much I enjoy being outside and that I go out of my way to pick up trash when I am in a beautiful place, yet I don't even recycle at home. I also have to admit that I have not picked up trash every time I have seen it on the ground. Countless times, I have just walked on by, but I have continued to shake my head and judge the person who left the trash there. Today, I had an ah-ha! moment. I am no better than the people who leave their trash for others to pick up. Have you ever heard of the phrase, "you're guilty by association?" Yep. That refers to you.
It's easy to judge others and to say, "well that's not what I would have done." Are you sure? Neglect is just as bad. If you say you love the earth and you want it to thrive, then act like it. You and I expect everyone else to pull the weight of the world while we sit around and never lift a finger. I know it seems like we are so small that we could never make an impact, but that's not true. My sister Alaine said something earlier this week that stuck with me. She said, "the second person to speak has the most power." Think about that for a second.
I think that statement can also apply to actions. The second person to speak or to act sets the tone for what the rest of the mob will do. Are you willing to stand up for what you believe in? Are you willing to ask questions? This week, I challenge you to reflect on your behaviors and to ask yourself if you truly practice what you preach. In other words, do you do what you judge others for? Are you just as guilty?
Life is just a blip. What are you doing in your daily routine to help the planet? Nothing? I thought so. Until today, I wasn't doing very much either. I had passed off that responsibility to someone else. I passed it off to someone who I've never met. I passed it off to someone who doesn't exist. I told myself oh, someone else will come along, they will see what I see, and they will fix it.
Wake up. It starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with everyone who said they couldn't make a difference. Well, joke is on us, because our world as we know it is falling apart, yet no one is brave enough to break through their box to save it.