How to Care for Your Environment
“He that plants trees loves others besides himself”-Dr. Thomas Fuller.
The 2021 Conference of the Parties (COP26) is ongoing in Glasgow (depending on when you are seeing this post). It is going to be a momentous 12-day event that would determine the actions needed to resolve the world’s climatic conditions and environmental challenges.
However, this is not a news update about the conference, but a wake-up call for us to individually embrace the modifications and practices that are critical to safeguarding the only planet we know.
Our continual anthropocentric relationship with nature may turn out to be a curse rather than a blessing if we keep turning a blind eye to simple habits and minimal efforts that can help us improve our environment.
Global Warming Starts with You
The 2019 issue of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), reports that: humans contribute 1 °C of global warming above pre-industrial levels.
Scientific research also established that in 2020, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere had risen to 48% above its pre-industrial level.
The list of scientific facts and data of how human activities have drowned the natural environment in pollution are innumerable.
Regardless, it is still vital for us to always remind ourselves that these problems are not caused by UFOs but by us, and a promising direction towards confronting these problems should align with our passion for self-improvement.
Let’s discuss two substantial ways to achieve this.
I) Mindset Shift: Self-Improvement is not Selfish-ness
The first step is to have a mindset shift about what self-improvement really is. There are several definitions of this concept, but the common notion we have about self-improvement is that -it is the transformation of one’s knowledge, reputation, and personality by one’s efforts.
I urge you to have an open mind about the last phrase of that definition “one’s efforts”, does it not appear a bit selfish and egoistic? Sadly, this is how the majority perceive self-improvement to be.
Let’s analyze the definition further to gain a better perspective- starting with knowledge.
Our knowledge is not intrinsic, and man was born a ‘tabula rasa’ according to the British empiricist John Locke, this means that every single knowledge we strive to acquire was obtained from the world and our respective surroundings.
Indeed, we work hard to gain knowledge, but nobody was actually born with it, and we would not leave with it either.
Everything we claim to know was taught to us, or we read it from an author who took the knowledge from another author or researcher.
Let’s talk about reputation. Reputation doesn’t exist without it being acknowledged by others. We both know that Jeff Bezos is not the richest man in the world, even if that is what you see when you do a quick Google search.
There are thousands of people in the world that have double of Bezos’ net worth, but we don’t hear about them in the news or read about them in Forbes magazines, but they exist.
Reputation depends on people’s judgment and views about our character or work. If you are not known (around your environment) then no one cares.
Lastly, personality: which is inherent but influenced by external factors and experiences. Going back to the ‘tabula rasa’ concept, nobody was born to have a certain type of personality.
However, some may argue that inherited genetics play a major role in fashioning our characteristics and traits, but that’s not entirely the case.
In 1976, a study conducted by Scarr and Weinberg examined parents who had trained both natural and adopted children respectively.
Their objective was to know if children trained with the same upbringing, raised in the same environment, and with the same parents will have similar personalities and characteristics.
They assumed that any significant differences between parent-child IQ correlations for adopted and natural children were associated with genes.
They evaluated transracial adoption participants who were African American children adopted by middle-class White families
These researchers found no considerable difference in IQ correlations. The participants were found to have an average IQ of 106 at the age of 7 Whereas children of a similar background brought up in poor biological families had an average IQ of 97.
The IQs of the adopted African American children were tested years later. And by age 17, their IQs had dropped to 97 – the same as the average IQ for children of similar backgrounds brought up in their biological families.
The conclusion of Scarr and Weinberg’s study proves that intelligence has to do more with the environment than genetics.
In addition, our experiences and interpretation of our environment impact our different personalities and individual traits than our genes.
In summary, the analysis clearly indicates that our self-improvement is not dependent on our efforts alone, but it depends on others and most importantly our environment.
The ‘Internal’ doesn’t exist without the ‘external’. The underlying idea behind self-improvement is to enable us understand, and get involved with the experiences and situations going on in our society or environment, and to use those experiences to better our lives.
Therefore, if the situations, experiences, and happenings going on in your environment is healthy and sane, that means you would be healthy and sane, but if it is unhealthy and turbulent, then most likely you would also live an unhealthy and unsettled life.
II) Combating Global Warming Practices with Our Self-Improvement Objectives
Now that we have established a mindset shift towards the true meaning of self-improvement being more about the “external” than the “Internal,” let’s incorporate our self-improvement goals with the act of combating global warming and environmental pollution to make the practice of climate change more attractive.
James Clear posited that the second rule of developing and maintaining a good habit or practice is to make it attractive, the same rule can be applied here.
Firstly, let’s briefly outline some of the mainstream practices we are encouraged to maintain to reduce CO2 emissions and other climatic pollutions;
- Walk, ride a bicycle, or skate more than you drive a petrol car or vehicle, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, especially plastic bags and disposable products.
- Use more CFL bulbs rather than regular Incandescent bulbs to save energy.
- Plant a tree to save energy and to reduce deforestation.
There are several others, but these four are the most encouraging practices that the public are expected to abide by, but they are still trivialized, especially in most African societies.
Secondly, let’s outline the four most desired self-improvement goals that we enjoy achieving for our gratification:
- Staying Physically fit and generally healthy.
- Saving as much money as we can.
- Increasing our value and beauty.
- Eating healthy and having access to organic food.
These four desired self-improvement goals can be combined with the four practices outlined above for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, therefore making it more attractive and simple to perform. For instance;
- Walking and cycling more than driving your petrol car or vehicle would help you gain that six-packs abs faster, and also boost your physical strength and endurance.
- Reducing the way you buy disposable products, and using recyclable products instead, would save you money in the long run.
- Using more compact fluorescent light (CFL bulbs) in your home, rather than regular incandescent lights would reduce your electricity bills, hence saving you more money. CFL bulbs use two-thirds less energy than regular bulbs.
- Planting a tree and grooming a garden does not only increase the value and beauty of your home or landed property, it also gives you easy access to organic and healthy food, and can also fetch you passive income if you decide to sell some of those food items.
It is a win-win situation for both you and your environment. Once we learn to align our purpose with our environment, developing the habits and practices necessary for conserving energy, reducing climatic temperature and environmental pollution would become a simple procedure for all of us.