Climate change continues to draw attention globally, from governmental debates on pollution solutions to people protesting against a lack of action.
In Europe, teenage girls and young women are leading a large student environmental movement, and organizers in the U.S. are planning to join an international day of action on March 15. Against this backdrop, those engaged in environmental issues say that while there is strength in numbers during protest events, the difference often starts with individuals doing the right things daily for clean air and water – when no one is watching.
“Creating awareness on a massive stage is wonderful, but how many realize the responsibility each of us has in this critical battle and how it can’t be won unless we all make the necessary changes?” asks Leslie Landis, author of Chendell: A Natural Warrior, a fantasy novel with environmental themes.
Landis hopes her novel will expand awareness of climate change and inspire young people to work together and foster environmental improvements. The characters in her book have a special relationship with nature and that leads to a superhero who fights for environmental issues.
“Anyone can be a hero in the fight against pollution; anyone can step up for any of the environmental problems that plague us and be a natural warrior,” Landis says. “From everyday habits to small lifestyle changes, doing those things daily can make a huge difference.”
Landis lists five ways to be a natural warrior for the environment:
- Take a tote. “Ditch the plastic shopping bag and opt for a more versatile alternative like a reusable tote bag,” Landis says. “States like California are already doing their part to reduce the use of plastic bags, and you can help carry that movement forward by keeping a handful of reusable bags in your house and car.”
- Think before you drink. “Say goodbye to plastic water bottles by getting a reusable canteen or thermos,” Landis says. “Not only do these items help Mother Nature by cutting down on plastic waste, they also reduce your exposure to BPA and help keep your beverages insulated.”
- Get thrifty. “The fashion industry creates a lot of unnecessary waste,” Landis says. “But you can help slow it down by giving discarded clothes a second chance. Shop at thrift stores, second-hand shops and vintage boutiques. By sporting looks from the past, you’ll actually be helping the environment in the future.”
- Don’t put the pedal to the metal. Environmental experts talk about how we all leave carbon footprints by the modes of transportation we use. “It’s a lot larger than you think,” Landis says. “Fortunately, there are many alternative means of transportation. Whether you ride your bike to work, carpool to school, or walk, you’ll be saving yourself from the high price of gas while helping reduce carbon emissions in our air.”
- Grow green. Whether you’re planting trees to combat the carbon emissions or planting an edible garden to cut back on store-bought waste, Landis says, “Putting your green thumb to good use will always have a positive effect on the government.”
“It’s great to see young people in particular get involved in large numbers regarding climate change,” Landis says. “But it’s amazing how simple it is for everyone to get involved to save our most precious resources.”
Leslie Landis (www.chendell.com) is the author of Chendell: A Natural Warrior. She holds an M.A. in psychology and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. Landis also has been a legislative assistant to a U.S. senator, a teacher, financial planner, and associate director in television.